Japan
 

Tea was introduced into Japan by the Chinese Tang dynasty in the 7th century.

Japan produces only green teas, which, due to a different processing method, are quite unlike Chinese green teas.

 

In Japan, instead of being roasted in a wok, as they are in the traditional Chinese method, the leaves are briefly steam-blasted to kill the
oxidising enzymes.

 

This process gives Japanese green teas their characteristic grassy flavour.

 

Japan is the only country that produces powdered tea for a special tea ceremony and also, even today, for everyday consumption in cafeterias.

 

The Japanese tea estates are aesthetic gems, with their long rows of tea trees pruned to perfect globes.

 

Japan produces about 20 different kinds of tea. The best-known tea-growing areas are Shizuoka, in the centre of Honshu island, Uji, in the Kyoto district, and Saga on southern Kyushu island.

 

The Tea Route regularly imports tea directly from small producers, mostly from the Shizuoka and Kagoshima (Kyushu island) regions. This allows us to offer our customers the freshest possible Japanese teas and satisfy the most discerning connoisseurs. Our wide selection covers the better known varieties, from mild refreshing teas to stronger mellower grassy infusions.

 

 

Glossary


Sencha
Sencha is the name given to first flush teas, harvested in the spring (from March to May, depending on the local climate).

Sencha are rich in vitamin C.

Tea harvested in the summer (June-October) is called Âancha.

 

Kukicha
Describes teas produced from twigs from which the leaves have been removed. Either Sencha or Gyokuro teas may be used (in the latter case, the product is called Karigane). These are very refreshing teas usually drunk early in the morning.

 

Gyokuro
High quality tea, from plants protected from the sun by canvas shelters for 2-3 weeks before harvest. This "shade tea" has a deep green colour and is rich in chlorophyll, caffeine and vitamin C.

 

Hojicha
Made from roasted Sencha or Bancha leaves. Low in caffeine and tannins, it is the preferred tea for children and patients in hospital.

 

Genmaicha
Sencha or Bancha mixed with grains of scorched rice. Very popular with young people.

 

Matcha
The leaves are not processed in the usual manner but are stripped from the stem and ground into powder.

There are several different kinds of Matcha, depending on the variety selected.

This is the tea that is used for the Japanese tea ceremony, Cha No Yu.

Matcha is dissolved in hot or cold water and may be flavoured with milk. It is widely used in cooking, especially for sweets.