Yunomi Dojo Lesson 105: 12 Japanese Green Teas Variety Set

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The Japanese green tea variety pack offers Gyokuro, Kabusecha, Sencha, Fukamushicha, Kukicha, Mecha, Konacha, Hojicha, Genmaicha, Aracha, Bancha, and Tencha selected by Yunomi staff!

This set is a perfect introduction to Japanese Green teas! However, in order to show you the differences between teas accurately, they are not always meant to be the best flavor that is possible with each tea as there can be an overlap in flavor depending on how the tea is made.

  • Net weight: 120g 
  • Variety of 12 types of Japanese green tea
    • Gyokuro (10g)
    • Kabusecha  (10g)
    • Sencha  (10g)
    • Fukamushicha  (10g)
    • Kukicha  (10g)
    • Mecha  (10g)
    • Konacha  (10g)
    • Hojicha  (10g)
    • Genmaicha  (10g)
    • Aracha  (10g)
    • Bancha (10g)
    • Tencha (10g)

Teas included

GYOKURO – 玉露 – While the processing is the same as sencha, gyokuro is cultivated by shading for approximately three weeks prior to harvest. Various agricultural techniques are also used to create a concentration of flavor in the leaves. The result is a leaf that has much higher amino acid content, and will steep into a rich, savory tea syrup.

KABUSECHA – 被せ茶 – Like gyokuro, Kabusecha is also shaded before harvest, generally about 2 weeks, and thus has a higher amino acid content. Also like gyokuro, the processing uses sencha processing. Originally used for blending to increase the quality of a sencha or the volume of a gyokuro, in recent years it has been cultivated to achieve a perfect balance between sencha and gyokuro.

SENCHA – 煎茶 – The standard and most common form of Japanese tea, a green tea that is “fixed” by steaming, then rolled into a needle-like shape, and dried. Sencha, depending on the season of harvest and cultivation process, will have a mix of catechins that create astringency and amino acids (particularly create a sweet-savoriness called umami (the fifth taste).

FUKAMUSHICHA – 深蒸し茶 – The length of time that a leaf is steamed determines much of its flavor. When the leaf is steamed for 1+ minutes, we call it deep-steamed or fukamushi. The result is leaf that is more powdery than standard sencha and steeps into a deep-green tea with a rich flavor. Alternatively, light-steamed sencha uses the term, asamushi, and is more traditionally used with higher-grade leaf.

BANCHA – 番茶 – The same basic process as sencha, but utilizing leaves that have been allowed to grow larger, and therefore generally harvested in summer or autumn. It should be noted that “bancha” as a term is often used in Western Japan to mean roasted green tea (see below). Bancha is generally more astringent as a result of the relatively higher level of catechins compared to amino acids though not as much as spring-harvested sencha. Autumn harvested bancha will also be lower in caffeine in general.

ARACHA – 荒茶 – Meaning “rough” or “unrefined”, this is tea at the state just after the initial processing, up to the point that it is dried. From here, leaf stems, dust, broken leaf bits are separated out, and the leaves may be combined with other leaves to produce more refined sencha, gyokuro, etc.

KUKICHA – 茎茶 – Like konacha above, leaf stems are sorted out of aracha after final drying, and gathered together to make kukicha or leaf stem tea (sometimes called “twig tea”). Sweeter, less astringent that regular sencha, you will also find it mixed with sencha leaves. Kukicha can be roasted or unroasted.

MECHA – 芽茶 – Leaf tip tea is made by sorting out leaf tips that have broken off during processing. Not quite as small as konacha, the liquid of mecha tea is not as cloudy, but at the same time steeps just as quickly. As a derivative product, mecha tea allows you to enjoy high quality tea at a more reasonable price.

KONACHA – 粉茶 – As tea leaf is rolled into sencha needles, inevitably some of the leaves break apart. The smallest particles as well as the fine hairs on the underside of younger leaves are sifted out of the aracha and gathered to create konacha. Not quite a powder, this tea is often used in tea bags and for quick steeping at sushi restaurants.

HŌJICHA – 焙じ茶 – Roasted green tea, usually roasted from bancha. Also spelled “hojicha” or “houjicha”. It often has a chocolaty aroma, is naturally sweet and slightly smoky to taste.

TENCHA – 碾茶 – These leaves are shaded for about four weeks before harvest, like gyokuro and kabusecha in order to create a leaf that is rich in sweet and savory amino acids and relatively lower in astringent tasting catechins. They are produced in order to be ground into the fine tea powder we call matcha. Unlike sencha or gyokuro, these leaves are dried without rolling which turns the leaves into small flakes.

GENMAICHA – 玄米茶 – Genmaicha is a type of tea made by mixing sencha or bancha with toasted rice. Often called “brown rice tea” in English, toasted white, short-grain rice is more often used than actual brown rice. Though variations, a 1:1 ratio of toasted rice and bancha is standard.

KAMAIRICHA – 釜炒り茶 Kamairicha is a tea that has been pan-roasted or pan-fired (not pan-fried as no oil is used). As opposed to the steaming of tea leaves (sencha), raw tea leaves are placed into a metal pan (or metal rotating drum) and heated with fire. This type of processing is common to Chinese green teas, but has a long tradition in the Japanese tea industry as well.

Steeping notes for teas.

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