Tea was first introduced to Japan from China in the 700s. The Buddhist monks Kukai and Saicho may have been the first to bring tea seeds to Japan.
At the beginning of the Japanese tea history, the drink was exclusive to the upper classes when Emperor Saga, the Japanese emperor encouraged the growth of tea plants. Seeds were imported from China, and cultivation in Japan began.
Tea consumption became popular amongst the upper class during the 12th century. In the 13th and 14th centuries, Japanese tea culture developed the distinctive features for which it is known today, and the Japanese tea ceremony emerged as a key component of that culture. Tea drinking became a social and ceremonial focal point. People would gather for tea tastings and play guessing games similar to today’s blind wine tastings.
In the following years tea production increases and tea became a staple. The development of ‘sencha’ in the 18th century led to the creation of distinctive new styles of green tea which now lead tea consumption in Japan. In the 19th and 20th centuries tea in Japan became a highly efficient operation, capable of producing large quantities of tea despite Japan’s limited harvesting land area.
Today, tea is the most consumed drink in Japan.
Green tea is especially popular in Japanese culture. Japan produces a variety of flavours such as Sencha, Matcha and Genmaicha, each providing unique flavours and distinctive colours.
Green teas especially have played an important role in inspiring food culture across the world.
For example, recently Match green tea powder has gained popularity as a healthy alternative to coffee.
Matcha is a finely ground powder of specially grown and processed green tea leaves.
The green tea leaves for matcha are shade grown and the stems and veins are removed in processing. In shaded growth the tea plants growth is slow which stimulates an increase in chlorophyll levels and turns the leaves a darker shade of green and produces more theanine and caffeine.
After harvesting, the leaves are rolled up before drying and then laid flat to dry causing them to crumble. This crumbled format called ‘tencha’ is then de-veined and de-stemmed and ground to a fine, bright green powder known as matcha.
The highest grades of matcha have an intense sweetness and a deep flavour.
Japanese Green Tea Production
Organic green tea is produced from the top two leaves of the camellia sinensis tea plant. They are carefully had picked and withered in net covered frames to reduce moisture.
The leaves are the rolled between two metal plates which breaks up the cells and releases their sap- this then gives organic green tea its unique colour and aroma.
The tea leaves are then heated to stop the natural fermentation process. It’s this step that enables organic green tea leaves to retain their natural green colour and gives them their flowery tart taste.
The final step is the drying of the leaves; they are placed on heated rotating discs to be dried by hot air. The leaves are ready when their moisture levels have been reduced to 3-4%.
Here at Pure Tea we have the finest Organic Japanese teas. Sweet in smell and delicious in taste.
Fill your cup with the warm, welcoming yellows and gleaming jade greens and then sit back and enjoy the fragrant aromas only the highest quality organic green tea can produce.
1. NAMI SENCHA JAPANESE ORGANIC GREEN TEA £9.90
Tasty Sencha with lovely sweet and mild nuances.
The Nami Sencha is produced from a medium leaf grade, not too fine so the tea is very suitable as an everyday cup.
The leaves are not as sensitive to water temperature or brewing time like some green teas, so this tea is perfect for someone starting their green tea drinking journey.
The basic taste notes of this tea come from the Yabukita plant and are sweet and mild. The final, slight spicy notes are delivered by the Yutaka Midoru leaves.
How To Brew
- 1 teaspoons
- 1 minute (repeat brewing can be made up to 3 times over with 20s brewing time)
MORIMOTO NAMI SENCHA TEA GARDEN
The Morimoto tea garden is set near the town of Miyazaki on the island of Kyushu in Japan.
This garden started very small, around 40 years ago and the organic tea growing has evolved ever since.
The tea garden makes no profit but instead runs as a valuable resource to cultivate natural tea in an environment of ecological equilibrium.
2. GYOKURO JAPANESE ORGANIC GREEN TEA £22.90
A powerful Gyokuro green tea with plenty of mild and finely sweet nuances.
The character of this fresh green tea comes from the spring harvest; the mild sweet undertone develops by shading the tea plants for several weeks through the growing process.
Only the fine leaves and stalks are picked. This process creates a beautiful, intensely green cup which is mild to taste.
This tea garden was set up near the town of Miyazaki on the island of Kyushu around 40 years ago and the tea garden has evolved ever since.
The tea garden is no profitable but is kept as an environment of ecological equilibrium.
3. KUKICHA JAPANESE ORGANIC GREEN TEA £18.90
Premium organic green tea with a refreshing taste and pleasant sweet notes.
This is a premium, organic, quality green tea. The cup shines a bright green colour and comes with a fresh taste that has a hint of sweetness, almost reminiscent of vanilla.
The first picking of this tea leaf is in May and the leaves are steamed slightly longer which results in a better and faster release of the leaf components and therefore a more intense taste and deeper colour in the cup.
The Hayashi tea garden is set upon Honshu, the largest of the four Japanese main islands.
The tea garden is run by Iwao Hayashi and he is a pioneer to organic farming.
He is an expert on the subject of natural pesticide control, a fundamental issue in conjunction with organic tea growing in Japan.