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Japanese Tea is more than an infusion. It is a way of life. It is part of the bedrock of an entire culture. It is, put simply, remarkable. From supermarkets to convenience stores; from kiosks to even vending machines, and, of course, Japanese Tea houses, this brew has left its mark. And you can try it here at The Kent and Sussex Tea and Coffee Company, where we pack each type fresh to order. Learn more below.
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Types of Japanese Green Tea
Japanese Green Tea (お茶, ocha) comes in many shapes and sizes. Perhaps the most famous is Matcha Tea, which involves workers grinding the leaves into a fine powder. This is the primary type used in the Japanese Tea Ceremony. Another well-known variety is Japanese Sencha Green Tea, a staple in the lives of thousands said to account for 78% of Japan’s overall consumption.
Arguably the noblest of them all is Gyokuro Green Tea. The leaves used in its making are left in the shade for at least two weeks, thereby reducing photosynthesis. With less photosynthesis comes higher chlorophyll content, which in turn gives the leaf a dark-green colour and distinctly sweet flavour. Then there is Bancha, a typically lower-grade Tea, though not when you buy it from us.
Kukicha, meanwhile, is undoubtedly the least conventional choice. The Tea is not only the product of the leaf but also the stems and stalks of the Camellia sinensis (Tea) plant. It goes by several names, including “Twig Tea” and “Bōcha.” Finally, we have Turmeric Root Tea, which is a herbal infusion most popular on the island of Okinawa. People there believe that it contributes to their world-renowned longevity!
What is a Japanese Tea Garden and House?
Such is Tea’s cultural significance to the country that traditional Japanese Tea gardens and houses, dedicated to its consumption, are a common feature in communities. Gardens were first created to induce a tranquil mood in people approaching a Tea house. These are often divided into three main styles: “Chisen-teien” (pond garden), “karesansui” (rock or Zen garden) and “roji” (simple, rustic garden).
The Japanese Tea house itself - known locally as a “Chashitsu” (茶室) - is an equally captivating space. It is easily recognised by its sliding doors of wooden lattice covered in paper; tatami mat floors; a tokonoma alcove; and subdued styles and colours. This is where an iconic ceremony takes place. But why is the Japanese Tea Ceremony important, and what does it involve?
Japanese Tea Ceremony
Most consider a Japanese Tea ceremony a quiet celebration performed with grace and beauty. It dates back to the 17th century, during which period it became known for cleansing the mind, body and soul. This remains the case today, with it still recognised as an integral part of society. It most commonly uses Japanese Matcha Tea alongside several essential utensils.
Formalities begin with a bow before both the host and guest wash their hands and face as a purification ritual. The host then starts brewing the Tea in a specially-designed bowl called a chawan. It is during this time that the guest might enjoy a sweet known as a wagashi. Once the Tea has reached the right consistency, all that’s left is to indulge in its delightful flavour and aroma.
Does Japanese Green Tea Contain Caffeine?
You now know about the Japanese way of Tea. What hasn’t yet been established is, “Does Japanese Green Tea have caffeine?” The answer is yes, it does, as it comes from the Camellia sinensis plant. Indeed, any infusion originating from here has at least a trace amount of caffeine. This includes not only Green Tea but also Black Tea, Oolong Tea and White Tea.
The difference between each type happens at the factory. Green Tea undergoes the second-least processing and, therefore, contains only a minimal amount of the stimulant. You can expect no more than 30-mg of caffeine per 8-oz cup. Should you be looking to cut down your intake from, say, Fresh Coffee, then you’ve chosen well. Even better, though, is that it comes with incredible health benefits.
Is Japanese Tea Good for You?
The time has come to understand the benefits of drinking Japanese Green Tea. Its nutritional value is almost unparalleled, going above and beyond to improve life in small yet significant ways. Constituents found within its leaves include (but are not limited to) Vitamins A, B, C and D, Manganese, Potassium, Theanine and Zinc. The most vital compound, however, appears to be Epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG).
EGCG is a polyphenolic catechin considered a potent antioxidant. Antioxidants in Tea, are molecules capable of slowing the harmful effects of oxidation. The result is a reduced risk of developing a multitude of chronic conditions from cardiovascular disease to type-2 diabetes to even, potentially, cancer. Additionally, EGCG supports the immune system, improves skin health and enhances cognitive function.
Is Japanese Green Tea Good for Weight Loss?
EGCG in Japanese Tea goes further still by promoting weight loss. A clinical trial involving sixty obese volunteers provides evidence. It found that those consuming it lost 7.3 pounds (3.3 kg) and burned 183 more calories daily after three months than those not taking it. This was because it boosted the metabolism of fat cells, enabling the body to burn fat quicker and more efficiently.
Studies also indicate that its active compounds, including EGCG, can promote the effects of some fat-burning hormones. What happens is that they inhibit an enzyme that breaks down the hormone, norepinephrine. By inhibiting the enzyme, the amount of norepinephrine increases, thus boosting fat breakdown. Just note that it isn’t going to do all of the work for you, so don’t forget that morning jog!
How to Brew Japanese Green Tea
Whether you choose it for taste or benefits, you’re going to want to know how to brew Japanese Green Tea. There are a couple of things you should first keep in mind. The temperature of the water needs to be below boiling so as not to burn the leaves. How long you allow it to steep, too, will play a considerable role. Any longer than 2-3 minutes, and it might taste bitter. Now you can follow these instructions:
1, Put Loose Leaf Tea into a Tea Infuser or Filter.
2, Place the accessory in a mug or cup.
3, Boil fresh water and allow it to cool to temperatures between 80 and 90°C.
4, Infuse for 1 to 3 minutes.
How to Serve: Consider honey or lemon. Alternatively, serve without accompaniments.