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How To Select A Japanese Green Tea

Updated on December 11, 2011

How to Select A Japanese Green Tea

Green tea is now described as, The Science-Backed “Miracle Cure” thanks to its many nutrients and antioxidants. Green tea is made from unfermented leaves and reportedly contains the highest concentration of powerful antioxidants* known as polyphenols.

Selecting a green tea can be overwhelming. Do you want more caffeine or much less? Do you want a leaf, or a powder like the Matcha? One tea, in particular, listed below, is used as an appetite suppressant - the Genmaicha. Then each tea listed has its own varieties, some as many as 12.

Traditionally, tea is brewed from tea leaves and it is said the leaves contain more antioxidants. The finer the quality, the more expensive the tea. Tea bags use smaller bits of leaves that are considered of lower quality. Because of the convenience of tea bags you will pay more for the tea. Then it would make good economic sense to get the better quality loose tea, instead of tea bags.

Listed below are 6 well-known Japanese teas. The following descriptions may help you choose; one may be to your liking.


Its name means infused tea. This is probably the most popular tea and is considered the everyday tea in Japan. Approximately 75% o of the tea produced in Japan is Sencha. It has a light green color, is slightly astringent, with an underlying sweetness. Sencha has the strongest potency of all Japanese teas in vitamin C, and B2. It has a moderate to high amount of caffeine. There are at least 3 kinds.


This tea is made into a powdered form by pulverizing the tea leaves. Add the powder to hot water and whisk. Matcha is the tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. This tea has a bright green color and a light, sweet taste. It is also used to make green tea lattes (excellent!), ice cream (also excellent!), cocktails, and in cooking and baking (green tea cakes and donuts are good too). There are 12 known popular matchas; the more vivid and green the color the fresher the tea. Because Matcha is a powdered tea, it is said to offer the entire nutrition that green tea has to offer.


Made from large, unrolled leaves, Hojicha tea is either pan-fried or oven-roasted in order to produce its nutty flavor and earthy aroma. Unfortunately, this kind of processing lowers the level of antioxidants. This tea has the lowest level of caffeine. There are two kinds.


This tea has sharply pointed leaves that resemble pine needles. In Japan it is known for its superior quality and is called the ‘King of teas.' This tea is smooth tasting, has a natural sweetness and a high caffeine level. It is similar in appearance to Sencha but is a darker green and is less bitter. There are two kinds.


A Japanese specialty tea created by green tea leaves with fire-roasted rice, technically a blended tea. It has a mild, slightly toasty taste. (I’ve had this tea in Korea and prefer the taste but not necessarily the rice - the texture of the rice is like the rice crispy type of cereal - gets in the way of drinking). Many Japanese use it as an appetite suppressant due to the high level of vitamin B1 (I agree with this). There are two kinds with a moderate amount of caffeine.


Lower in quality than Sencha. The leaves are coarse, and larger. It is not generally exported from Japan. The flavor is full and the color is a yellow-green.

There are other Japanese green teas but these are the most commonly enjoyed. If you would like to try a Chinese green tea, please see the link below entitled HOW TO SELECT A CHINESE GREEN TEA

*Antioxidants are substances that scavenge free radicals, the damaging compounds in our body that alter cells, tamper with DNA, and even cause death.

Enjoy your cuppa!

a cup of tea
a cup of tea


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    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm with you there Ingenira. When I lived in Seoul, I had green tea in everything. The lattes were outstanding! Thanks for commenting!

    • Ingenira profile image

      Ingenira 7 years ago

      I am a green tea lover and these information are very useful ! I love them in ice-cream, latte, cake or just plain tea.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      A good tea is so worth the price. There is nothing like a good cup of tea. Thanks for your input! Yay!

    • seocompanyhaven profile image

      seocompanyhaven 7 years ago from montreal

      Oh yes!! Gyokuro is my favored tea!! even it cost like 50$ per 50g :)

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 7 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      I'm a big fan of Sencha and Matcha powder. It seems I enjoy it more in the Spring and Fall. Right now during the summer I tend to favor the jasmine my cousin brought from China and sometimes oolong. Love the teas.

      Nice to meet you by the way!

    • profile image 7 years ago from Austin, TX, USA

      I love Sencha, as well as most other spring greens from China and Japan, including Matcha powder. Sencha is my everyday tea here in the US too. I've tried Hojicha, but did not enjoy the roasted flavor.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Maita - right now I'm going to have a cup of the Sencha tea. It is so good and satisfying - they are all so different and so good. And it's like my body craves one or another - so I suppose I am getting some nourishment. I still haven't found the Korean Bamboo tea here - maybe it is still a specialty items.

      I then you'll like the Japanese teas!

    • prettydarkhorse profile image

      prettydarkhorse 8 years ago from US

      Bk, you're site is really an excellent site for the health, kudos I love a cuppa, and antioxidants are good for health relly, I never tried Japs yet, tried Chinese only, Thank you BK, Maita

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Thanks cazort - this is new to me! I will certainly look for it. Thanks for sharing this information!

    • profile image

      cazort 8 years ago

      You forgot my favorite type of Japanese green tea, although admittedly it is quite a bit more esoteric--Kukicha, "Japanese Twig Tea", which is a green tea made from twigs and stems of the tea plant. It has a unique taste and aroma, and also tends to be a bit lower in caffeine.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Hello Gladys V Range! I have had the green tea with the rice while I lived in Korea - and brought some home with me. It is such an interesting concept. And ate lots of green tea icecream!

      Fortunately I can find the Japanese macha and all the other teas here in NYC.

      Thanks for writing and sharing information!

    • profile image

      Gladys V Range 8 years ago

      The "Genmaicha" tea creation- Green tea leaves and fire roasted rice is quite an interesting process, for an appetite suppressant tea with high content, vitamin B1.

      I understood the tea leaves when collected as they are very young and at the very top of the plant or "baby buds" contain anti-oxidants as well as appetite suppressant qualities. Of course this might not be a fine processed Japanese tea. A different orient type tea "10 Fu's Tea. No question, Japanese green tea ice cream is by far the best.

      Thanks! Great reading and a good guide to Japanese tea collection & selection.

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 8 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Oh link away and thanks charm-baker.

      I am a long time tea drinker and there is just no comparison between tea bags (which are the scraps) and the real loose leaf tea. You can't compare taste when it comes to a hot cup of tea. We buy tea bags here in the US because that's all we were ever sold.

      With iced tea, okay. I use PG Tips (the tea bags from England) to make the two-toned iced tea (it's a hub) - and I brew sun tea with tea bags. But only PG-Tips makes a good iced tea. Interesting that the British don't care for iced tea. It's an American thing.

      Loved your hub about tea cups. A different approach to drinking good tea. Thanks!

    • charm_baker profile image

      Charm Baker 8 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Great hub. I appreciate the point about it being more economical to just pay a little more for the loose tea because you end up saving in the long run. Plus, it's so much more yummier! I needed some good links to compliment my own Tea hub, and I find that you have this one and several others I shall read and link to. Thanks for all the great tea advice!

    • BkCreative profile image

      BkCreative 9 years ago from Brooklyn, New York City

      Sold! I'll try the powdered teas!


    • profile image

      Green Tea 9 years ago

      Matcha or Green tea powder allows you to get the full health and nutrition benefit of the whole green tea leaf.

    • profile image

      Teafor2 9 years ago

      Matcha is the best. This is good information.


    • profile image

      BKCreative 9 years ago

      Thanks for writing GTL!

      While living in Seoul, I tried it all, green tea latte, donuts, cake, and icecream. All excellent!

    • profile image

      GreenTeaLover 9 years ago

      Green Tea ice cream is great too! This is a very useful article. Thanks!