Beyond Green Tea

June 29th, 2012By Category: Health and Fitness

There are many types of tea. For avid tea drinkers, trying each would mean a different experience for their taste buds. For some, “Ah, what the hell, they’re all leaves.” But really, green tea has plenty of benefits. It is said to be one of the most influential cultural exports from Japan. It contains antioxidants and helps reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Studies say that drinking tea may also help our body’s immune system fight off infection and keep us hydrated. If you’re a big fan of green tea or tea in general, here are other kinds of Japanese tea you can try:

Mugi-cha


Mugi-cha is made from roasted barley, and has a nutty and refreshing flavor and is one of the most common summer drinks in Japan that is served cold.

Genmai-cha


Another tea with a nutty taste, this one is made from roasted brown rice and is rich in fiber and because of this, genmai-cha has a great laxative effect. It is sometimes mixed with green tea to add extra flavor rather than as it is.

Soba-cha


Soba-cha or buckwheat tea contains rutin, an antioxidant that effectively reduces blood pressure and blood sugar levels. Don’t confuse this with cha-soba or buckwheat noodles containing green tea.

Konbu-cha


This is a savory tea made from dried konbu (seaweed) powder. It has a salty taste and sometimes, people use it in cooking to replace salt.

Gyokuro (Jade Dew)


This is a fine and expensive type of tea that is grown under the shade rather than under the sun for approximately 20 days. The term translates as jade dew, which refers to the pale green color of the infusion. It has a distinct smell and a sweet taste.

Sencha


This is the most common green tea in Japan. The name also describes the method for preparing the drink.

Tamaryokucha (ball green tea)


Also called Guricha, this tea has a tangy, berry-like taste with a nutty, almond aftertaste and a deep aroma a bit similar to citrus, grass and berries.

Kukicha (stalk tea)


Also called stalk tea–from the word itself–this tea is made from stems, stalks and twigs, giving it a mildly nutty and slightly creamy and sweet flavor.

Bancha (coarse tea)

 

This is a lower grade of sencha harvested as a third- or fourth-flush tea between summer and autumn. One example is the Aki-bancha (autumn bancha) which is not made from entire leaves, but from trimmed twigs of the tea plant.

Kamairicha (pan-fried tea)


It’s a pan-fried green tea which doesn’t go through the normal steam treatments of Japanese tea. It doesn’t have the characteristic bitter taste of most tea.

The main advantage of tea lies in the fact that it is a completely natural product. Each type of tea has its own characteristics including different taste, health benefits and different levels of caffeine. There are many types of all-natural tea available in Japan, so go ahead and try what suits your taste.

Photos by: rhosoivociferous., tanlinteckFotoosVanRobintmoertelMultiple InfusionshudsonbedellBorya and shikigami2011 via Flickr Creative Commons

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Author of this article

GaijinPot

GaijinPot is an online community for foreigners living in Japan, providing information on everything you need to know about enjoying life here, from finding a job and accommodation to having fun.

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  • http://zoomingjapan.com/ zoomingjapan

    I love Japanese green tea!
    I encountered and came to love it long before I moved to Japan.
    Apart from the standard Sencha I love Genmaicha and Ryokucha the most!
    Sobacha is something I discovered after moving to Japan and I’m TOTALLY in love with it!
    That would be my suggestion – for an exceptional tea experience, I guess ;)

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