Sencha, gyokuro, and matcha are unique teas. The differences are in the way they are cultivated, harvested, and prepared.
All Japanese green teas vary in quality
Green tea comes from the camellia sinensis plant.
The most common green tea, about 75% of all tea harvested in Japan is graded as sencha. Sencha varies greatly in quality and price. Premium grade sencha is delicious and aromatic.
Gyokuro leaves are shaded from direct sunlight for approximately 3 weeks before the spring harvest. Removing direct sunlight in this way enhances the proportions of flavenols, amino acids, sugars, and other substances that provide tea aroma and taste. After harvesting the leaves are rolled and dried naturally.
A lighter-colored infusion than sencha. Gyokuro brews to an elegant yellow-green liquor.
Gyokuro is slightly sweeter than sencha and has is famous for its taste and aroma. A gourmet Japanese green tea.
Matcha is finely ground gyokuro leaves (tencha).
Matcha differs from gyokuro in that the leaves are not rolled at all. After steaming, the leaves are thoroughly dried. This is tencha. The tencha is then ground into a superfine powder, and that powder is what is known as matcha.
Japanese Green Tea Online carries 2 varieties and they vary in quality and price. The health benefits for both of our matcha teas are about the same.
Matcha is the tea of chanoyu (Japanese Tea Ceremony) and whips into a thick, invigorating brew. An excellent morning tea, or an energizing beverage before any form of aerobic exercise.
Genmaicha and Hojicha
Genmaicha is sencha mixed with genmai (puffed brown rice). Most genmaicha consists of low quality second harvest sencha.
Our genmaicha is made from premium first-leaf sencha, genmai, and a pinch of matcha. This low caffeine tea has a crisp, slightly nutty taste. The pinch of matcha gives it an extraordinary bright green color.
Hojicha is roasted sencha leaves. The roasting gives the tea an amber color and reduces caffeine.
In Japanese "shin" means new and "cha means tea. Shincha is, literally, new tea. Shincha consists of tea leaves that have been harvested and very lightly steamed immediately after harvesting.
Shincha has the aroma of freshly picked leaves. Perishable and highly aromatic, shincha is only sold at Japanese Green Tea Online in spring and early summer, or as long as supplies last.
Sencha and gyokuro remain fresh year-round because of the way they are steamed and stored under optimum conditions. Sencha and gyokuro teas that are bought in January are just as fresh as teas bought in May right after the harvest.
This is not the case with shincha. Because it is so lightly steamed immediately after the harvest true "shincha" is only available at tea shops in Japan from May through July.
If you see shincha at other shops during the winter it is not real shincha, it is sencha. Tea growers only process a very small percentage of their harvest as shincha. They take the same leaves and process them as sencha.