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How is green tea different from other teas?
All teas come from the same plant: Camellia sinensis. The main difference lies in the way each tea type is processed.
Tea processing can be roughly divided into four categories:
• Unfermented (green teas)
• Semi-fermented (oolongs)
• Fermented (black teas)
• Post Fermented (pu-erhs)
Japanese green tea is steamed (versus pan-fired, like Chinese green teas) to prevent oxidation.
This step is called "the kill-green stage" and is responsible for the grassy, delicate flavor which is distinct to Japanese green tea.
Tea bushes are tropical plants and thrive in warm, humid climates, and their hibernation during the cold winter months brings sweet, rich Sen-cha in the spring. These teas are sensitive to water, the acidity of the soil, and temperature fluctuations throughout the day. A tea's sensitivity can greatly change its flavor profile.
What are the different types of Japanese green tea?
Matcha is a powdered form of Ten-cha tea leaves. Ten-cha is made with tea leaves covered from sunlight. The leaves are steamed, dried and ground to become Matcha.
Gyokuro is the highest quality Japanese green tea. It is made with tea leaves covered from sunlight for 20 days before harvesting. It does not have much bitterness but has a lot of umami (savoriness).
Sen-cha is the most consumed variety of green tea in Japan. Unlike Gyokuro, Sen-cha is made with tea leaves grown naturally, without being covered. It is known for its moderate bitterness and aroma.
Kuki-cha is a tea made from twigs and stems of tea collected during processing. It is known for its sweetness.
Ban-cha is a green tea made from leaves that are picked between the first harvest of the year and the second harvest of the year. Although considered a low-grade green tea, Ban-cha is best suited for children or for when you have a cold because of its refreshing taste and mild flavor.
Genmai-cha is a tea made from green tea blended with roasted rice. It is known for its toasty aroma and refreshing taste.
Hoji-cha is a tea typically made from Ban-cha tea leaves roasted at high temperature. Roasting this tea gives it a unique aroma. It is preferred as an after-meal beverage because it does not contain a lot of caffeine and is gentle on the stomach.
Kona-cha is a tea made from fine pieces of Gyokuro and Sen-cha tea leaves collected during processing. Kona-cha is typically served at your favorite sushi bar.
When and how often are green tea leaves harvested?
Tea leaves receive a lot of sunshine and store up nutrients throughout the summer and fall months, then go dormant around November. They remain dormant over the winter months, and buds start to sprout around early April. The first harvest of the year is called Shin-cha. During the Shin-cha season, the first leaf opens about two weeks after sprouting. From there, one leaf opens about every five days.
Shin-cha is picked while there are four to five leaves open with some unopened buds. In mid-October, before tea bushes go dormant, they are trimmed to get rid of old leaves and branches and to help new buds come out the following year. Tea leaves can usually be harvested four times a year.
What are the processing steps of green tea after harvesting?
The process of tea making can be roughly broken down into three steps: steaming, rolling, and finishing.
• Steaming stops leaves from oxidizing and gives Japanese green tea its characteristic color and grassy aroma. Regular Sen-cha is steamed for 30 to 40 seconds, but deep-steamed (Fukamushi) Sen-cha can be steamed for as long as two minutes.
• Rolling helps to dry the tea leaves and gives a needle-like shape.
• During the finishing step, tea leaves are selected by shape. Then the leaves can be roasted in a quick-fire giving them a caramelized scent called "hiire-ka" (roasted scent).
Matcha is made a little differently. Matcha leaves are made from Ten-cha leaves, which are steamed but not rolled. The Ten-cha leaves are then finely and slowly ground in a stone mill.
What is the proper way to brew each type of green tea?
Brewing the perfect cup of tea is an art form that demands attention to detail and plenty of practice. However, given the right tools and time, anyone can learn how to brew artisan quality tea at home.
Step 1. Always use filtered water. Water from your kitchen faucet may contain chlorine and other minerals which may adversely affect the flavor of your tea. We recommend using filtered water whenever possible to avoid this problem.
Step 2. Use the right amount of tea. Too many leaves will result in a heavily astringent flavor while too little may leave you wanting a stronger brew. We recommend 1 tablespoon of tea leaves per 1 1/2 cups of water.
Step 3. Brew at the right temperature, for the right amount of time. Green tea leaves vary widely, each with its own optimal brewing time and temperature. Please refer to the following chart for guidelines for each tea type. Using boiling water for high-grade teas will damage the delicate flavor of the leaves and may reduce some of the healthful properties of the tea.
Gyokuro: 140-160 ℉ (1-2 minutes)
Genmai-cha: 190 + ℉ (30 seconds)
Sen-cha: 160-180 ℉ (1 minute)
Hoji-cha: 190 + ℉ (1 minute)
Can steeped tea leaves be used more than once?
It is safe to say that one can brew up to 3 cups from one batch and enjoy. Brewing a fourth cup results in a more astringent and bitter flavor.
Does green tea help with weight loss?
Some doctors say that green tea does help with weight loss. However, we cannot guarantee that it will help with losing weight because it has not been medically proven yet.
How do I store tea leaves properly?
Tea leaves are weak against oxygen, humidity, temperature and light and tend to absorb smells more easily than other foods. It is important to seal your tea and store it in a dark, cool area to avoid losing its flavor and to avoid any change in color.
When you purchase tea, put about 10 days' worth in a tea tin. Store the rest of the tea in an air-tight bag and place in the refrigerator. Once you take the bag out of the refrigerator, wait until it becomes room temperature.
Is there a way to “revive” stale green tea?
To "revive" stale green tea, roast it until it turns brown in an aluminum foil lined frying pan. Now your "stale" green tea is Hoji-cha!
How can I prepare Matcha?
Step 1. Measure out a rounded 1/2 teaspoonful of Matcha into a Matcha bowl.
Step 2. Pour 4 oz of hot water into the Matcha bowl.
Step 3. Using a bamboo whisk, whisk vigorously in a zig-zag pattern until a fine foam appears.
Note: Keep in mind not to press the whisk against the bottom of the Matcha bowl too roughly as the prongs will break.
Is Matcha gluten free?
Matcha is made from green tea leaves that are ground to a fine powder. Nothing is added to the Matcha powder, so it does not contain gluten. The green tea leaves are prepared and made into Matcha in a facility that does not process wheat, rye or barley.
Is maltodextrin gluten free (Matcha EZ)?
The maltodextrin that we use for our Matcha EZ is sourced from corn and is gluten-free.
Is Matcha non-GMO?
The following Matcha powders are currently GMO free:
Matcha EZ Sweetened
Should I be worried about radiation and pesticides?
Our tea products come from Central Japan (Chubu-Chukyo area) and Southern Japan (Kyushu area). The Japanese government has set strict regulation levels for pesticides to which the farmers must adhere.
The tea is checked regularly to make sure that levels of radiation and pesticides are safe and do not exceed regulated levels designated by the Japanese government. The FDA has their own safety regulations which our products must adhere to in order to be imported from Japan.
Can I consume expired Matcha?
Expired Matcha will not make you sick if you consume it. However, Matcha is a very sensitive item; and its aroma, color, and freshness will be lost over time. As a result, we do not recommend you to use Matcha after it has expired as the quality will decrease.
If you purchase our Matcha from SHUHARI’s website, you will get Matcha with the best expiration date from our warehouse.