Best Japanese Green Tea
10 Japanese Green Tea You Have to Try
One of the most popular things in Japan is without a doubt Japanese green tea. Going to a tea ceremony is in the top 10 things that a tourist wants to do if they visit Japan. But green tea or ryokucha in Japanese is not only popular among tourists but also among the Japanese people, who drink it almost daily. In fact it’s so common and has it so ingrained that it’s often called “nihoncha”, which translated literally means Japanese tea, or simply as “ocha” or tea, without having to specify that it’s green tea.
Although the consumption of green tea until now has always been associated with some Asian countries, such as China, Japan or Korea, more and more people in the West are becoming interested in this drink, due in large part to its many health benefits. Green tea is said to have been used in traditional Chinese and Indian medicine. The effects cannot be confirmed, but several current studies link the consumption of green tea with different health benefits. Some of these benefits are smaller things like fat loss or improving brain function but other benefits are related to important diseases like lower the risk of heart disease (especially cardiovascular disease) or preventing against some types of cancer (such as lung, stomach, breast, prostate and more).
The reason why green tea is so beneficial to health is due to its high level of antioxidants. This is because unlike black tea, green tea is made from non-oxidized leaves and is the least processed and therefore most natural type of tea. It is not fermented and much effort is put into preserving the freshly picked leaves intact to maintain all their components and properties.
There are many types of green tea, although people don’t know it and sometimes think that it’s a single product. One of the most popular outside Japan is matcha or ground tea. Matcha is a high-quality powdered green tea and is the one used in the tea ceremony. Its flavor is stronger and more intense. It’s also popular for being the one used in Japan for sweets or drinks, such as the famous matcha latte from Starbucks. But for example sencha, hojicha or genmaicha they are also one of the most popular among the Japanese.
History of Green Tea
It is said that green tea was discover in China over five thousand years ago and it was the first tea in the history of humanity and for years the only tea that existed. For reference, black tea and oolong tea didn’t appear until 1600, about 5000 years after green tea was discovered. But it was not particularly until the Tang era (618-907) and the Sung era (960-1279) that the custom of drinking green tea developed in China as a habit.
Green tea, like many other things, came to Japan from China in the Nara period (710-1279). At first it was a drink of the aristocracy or upper classes. In 1191 the monk Eisai, founder of Zen Buddhism, introduced the custom of drinking powdered green tea. Then while over time in China the habit of drinking powdered green tea was disappearing and was replaced by infusions of tea leaves, in Japan they continued with this custom and developed and perfected it, giving rise to the tea ceremony, a ritual with a clear influence of the zen buddhism.
Later, in the middle of the 17th century, another Zen monk (in this case, Chinese) introduced tea in the form of leaves and that was how the Japanese method of preparing tea from leaves was born.
(Font: Marukyu Koyamaen)
How to Make Green Tea at Home?
The Japanese tea ceremony is a complex ritual that needs years of study and learning. But you don’t need a tea ceremony to enjoy delicious Japanese green tea. It can be easily prepared at home just with water, both hot and cold water depending on how the person prefers.
And now that you know everything you need to know about green tea, let’s check my list of the best Japanese green teas!
1. Itoen Oi Oicha Instant Green Tea with Matcha Powder
Itoen is Japanese No.1 green tea brand. This multinational drinks company specializing in tea production not only is it preferred by most Japanese, but it’s also the largest distributor of green tea in Japan. One of its star products is this instant powdered green tea with matcha. It’s super easy to prepare at home, you just need water to dissolve the powders and voila!
Price: 1,892 yen
If you are not sure how much powder to put and if it will be too much or too little, I recommend the stick type version. Each pack has 100 sticks (so you have 100 times!). It lasts longer since they come in individual envelopes so you don’t have to worry about having the package open for a long time. And you can take it to work or wherever you want!
Price: 2,430 yen
2. Tsujiri Matcha Milk Mild Flavor
If the taste of green tea is too strong and bitter for you, I recommend matcha milk, which would be like a coffee latte but with matcha tea instead of coffee. It’s much sweeter than regular green tea and tastes delicious. You just have to mix the powders with water, and you already have your yummy matcha latte! It doesn’t taste the same as the Starbucks, but it’s a good solution for when you’re home and can’t go out. And it’s cheaper. Also, you can drink both hot and cold!
Tsujiri is a company that is based in Uji, a city famous throughout Japan for its high-quality and delicious matcha.
Price: 1,142 yen
3. Sweet Sakura Tea
For those looking for something special and different, I recommend this green tea with cherry blossoms & leaf. In spring in Japan many companies and stores launch their cherry blossom-flavored drinks or sweets. But with this tea package you don’t need to be in Japan or wait for spring to enjoy the delicious taste of cherry blossoms & leaf!
Price: 704 yen
4. Itoen Oi Ocha Sencha Green Tea
Among the Japanese, sencha green tea is the best known and the most commonly drunk. So we could say that it’s the normal or standard tea. The one who drinks it daily. I know that the most popular type of tea abroad, as I said before, is matcha but if you want to have a more ‘day to day Japan’ experience, I recommend you to try this one too!
Price: 795 yen
5. Itoen Oi Ocha Hojicha Tea Powder
In addition to sencha, another very typical green tea in Japan is hojicha, which is roasted sencha tea (sometimes other types of green tea are used but the most common thing is to use sencha). Since it is roasted it has a brown color, and many people mistakenly think that it is not green tea but it is. It has a slightly more bitter and roasted flavor.
Price: 1,323 yen
6. Itoen Oi Ocha Premium Assorted Tea Bag
If you don’t really like powdered tea, another option is bag tea. They are even easier to prepare, and have a milder or less strong flavor. With this pack you can also try the three most famous types of Japanese green tea. And if you have a business like a hotel or office, they are perfect to surprise your guests with an original small detail.
Price: 2,373 yen
7. Itoen Fragrant Genmaicha Green Tea
In Japanese “genmai” means brown rice, and as I said before “cha” means tea. So the genmaicha is green tea (usually sencha since it the standard green tea) mixed with brown rice. Due to the fact that half is brown rice and only has half of green tea genmaicha have less caffeine than a normal green tea.
Price: 838 yen
8. Morihan Organic Uji Matcha
As I said before, Uji is a famous city in Japan well-know for its high-quality and delicious matcha. Is the “matcha city”. So if you are a matcha lover, you have to try this organic tea from the city of Uji! You’re going to love it!
Price: 542 yen
9. Itoen Whole Healthy Dark Green Tea Powder
I already explained that green tea has many health benefits. But for those who are especially concerned about their health, specifically their weight, I recommend this green tea which boost some of the benefits. The Itoen company claims that this green tea has two functions: reduces body fat and reduces LDL cholesterol.
Price: 1,658 yen
10. Nissin Oillio Meal Green Tea With Dietary Fiber
This green tea has been approved by the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare for specified health use. It helps control blood sugar levels, so it is recommended for people with this type of problem.
Price: 5,094 yen
Japanese Tea Ceremony
As I have already explained, all the teas on this list can be prepared simply with both hot and cold water. However, if since it’s currently difficult to travel to Japan to be able to participate in a Japanese tea ceremony you want to try doing it yourself at home, you can buy a kit that includes everything you need to do an authentic Japanese tea ceremony (or what as similar as possible). I know that it’s not the same as a ceremony in a traditional tea room, but it’s a small approximation while you can travel to Japan. Surprise your guests with an elegant and sophisticated touch! 😊
If this is your first time and you would like to try doing it yourself but you don’t know how, here is a video on how to prepare a delicious matcha green tea in the traditional way!
Extra: Matcha Sweets
As I said at the beginning of this article, matcha green tea is very popular in Japan and is used for many sweets and cakes. So if you like matcha, you can’t miss the matcha flavored kat kit! Is a mus-try for all matcha lovers. You have them of different types, with a sweeter or stronger flavor. Try them all and find out which one is your favorite!
Price: 687 yen aprox.
Or if you are not a big fan of Kit-Kat and prefer other types of snacks like Pocky, you can also try them with matcha flavor!
Price: 1,559 yen
You can shop the listed Japanese green tea online! Kokoro is an online store offering a wide range of Japanese products as drinks, snacks or event beauty products with worldwide shipping! Visit the website (http://bit.ly/32HfNbi) to check more Japanese drinks and snacks available. If you spend over 40 USD you get FREE shipping to your country!
How was my list? Have you tried any of these green teas? Let me know your favorite Japanese green tea! And if you want more information about popular drinks and snacks in Japan, or about the best tea ceremony please check out these articles below, too!
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