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Green tea (緑茶; ryokucha) is so ubiquitous in Japan that it is more commonly known simply as “tea” (お茶; ocha) and even as “Japanese tea” (日本茶; nihoncha),although it was invented in China during the Song Dynasty, and brought to Japan by Myōan Eisai, a Japanese Buddhist priest who also introduced the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism. Types of tea are commonly graded depending on the quality and the parts of the plant used as well as how they are processed. There are large variations in both price and quality within these broad categories, and there are many specialty green teas that fall outside this spectrum. The best Japanese green tea is said to be that from the Yame region of Fukuoka Prefecture and the Uji region of Kyoto. Shizuoka Prefecture(静岡県) crops 40% of raw tea leaf.

玉露 Gyokuro (Jade Dew)
The highest grade Japanese green tea cultivated in special way. Gyokuro’s name refers to the pale green color of the infusion. The leaves are grown in the shade before harvest, which alters their flavor. Gyokuro has a high caffeine content (Generally 0.16% in infusion[1]), but the significant L-Theanine content of Gyokuro slows down and counteracts the caffeine assimilation, and also the amount of drinking is very small such as 10ml – 60ml.

抹茶 Matcha (rubbed tea)
A fine ground Ten-cha (碾茶: has very similar cultivation process as Gyokuro) used primarily in the tea ceremony. Matcha is also a popular flavor of ice cream and other sweets in Japan.

煎茶 Sencha (broiled tea)
The first and second flush of green tea, which is the most common green tea in Japan made from leaves that are exposed directly to sunlight. The first flush is also called Shin-cha (新茶: a new tea)

玄米茶 Genmaicha (Brown-Rice tea)
Bancha (sometimes Sencha) and roasted genmai (brown rice) blend. It is often mixed with small amount of Matcha to make the colour better.

冠茶 Kabusecha (covered tea)
kabusecha is sencha tea, the leaves of which have grown in the shade prior to harvest, although not for as long as Gyokuro. It has a more delicate flavor than Sencha.

番茶 Bancha (common tea)
Sencha harvested as a third or fourth flush tea between summer and autumn. Aki-Bancha (autumn Bancha) is not made from entire leaves, but from the trimmed unnecessary twigs of the tea plant.

焙じ茶 Hōjicha (pan fried tea)
A strong roasted green tea.

茎茶 Kukicha (stalk tea)
A tea made from stalks produced by harvesting one bud and three leaves.

玉緑茶 Tamaryokucha
A tea that has a tangy, berry-like taste, with a long almondy aftertaste and a deep aroma with tones of citrus, grass, and berries.


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