In this issue of ACCESS, I would like to explore with you some of Japan’s most famous ocha, or tea.
Most Nihoncha, or Japanese tea is green tea. The types of tea vary depending on quality, part of the plant that are used, and how it is processed. The most common green tea in Japan is Sencha. What is unique about Sencha and other green teas from Japan is how it is processed； unlike Chinese tea, it is first steamed to prevent oxidization of the leaves. Sencha is drunk hot during the cold, winter months and is served cold during the summer. Bancha is a lower grade of sencha, harvested between summer and autumn.
Hojicha is a Japanese green tea that has been roasted over charcoal. Unlike your typical green tea, hojicha has a reddish brown appearance and a nutty, roasted flavor. The roasting process lowers the caffeine content, therefore is popular to serve after dinner in the evening.
Matcha, is a very popular, finely milled green tea. Matcha is used in tea ceremonies and as an ingredient to flavor many dishes, such as soba, ice cream, and other sweets. Matcha is made from leaves grown in the shade to make Gyokuro tea. The leaves are laid out flat to dry and crumbled to make Tencha, which is de-veined, de-stemmed, and stone ground to make Matcha.
This is only a few of the many types of tea in Japan； I hope you have fun trying different kinds.