The best green tea of Japan is green tea powder or Matcha, This type of Japanese green tea (there are different types) was originally from China.
And of course, its success was due to the fact that the Japanese upper classes introduced it through the tea ceremony.
Green tea is the daily drink in Japan, history of green tea in Japan started when Buddhist monks introduced it hundreds of years ago after their pilgrimages to China.
In fact, today, China, Japan and Korea are the largest producers of green tea in the world.
Of course, each country has its particularities in terms of the production and flavors of teas. Today, in particular, we tell you all about Japanese green teas.
The best green tea of Japan.
Matcha green tea is this famous powdered tea made with plants that have been grown in the shade, with the aim of having a lower amount of theine.
Hence, it was also used a lot in cooking or in the tea ceremony, so that everyone can consume it.
Without the need for theine to affect them excessively. Of course, this crop in the shade makes its price higher.
With a mild and refreshing flavor, some of the properties associated with this famous variety of Japanese green tea are:
- It contains a large amount of fluoride, making it ideal for tooth care.
- Provides a significant amount of antioxidants, which helps improve the appearance of the skin.
- Helps control and reduce bad blood cholesterol.
- It is beneficial for people with diabetes.
- Helps people who want to lose weight.
Types of green tea in Japan.
Not all Green tea of Japan is Matcha, there are different types of tea depending mainly on its quality as well as its time of collection and yes it has had some additional treatment.
- Sencha. This is a common Japanese green tea with average-high quality. This is a non ground tea and is collected from the first plant sprouts.
- Matcha. It is the tea, which concerns us today and which is obtained by the procedure mentioned above.
- Bancha. This is an average grade tea that is obtained in the second harvest season.
- Houjicha. This is roasted green tea. This gives it totally different features from the rest of the tea.
- Genmaicha. A blend of bancha and genmai tea or toasted rice.
- Gyokuro. This is the highest quality tea we can come up with. It is not milled and comes from the first softest shoots of the plant.
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Green tea of Japan benefits.
Although some benefits may be demonstrated, others are not yet completely clear.
So that you can see all the qualities that are attributed to it, plus those that are speculated even if they are not proven, we make a more detailed list to learn more about it.
Antioxidant: Green tea is an effective natural antioxidant.
Able to capture and neutralize free radicals that harm the body.
It helps to minimize the changes produced by the passage of time.
Tea itself does not directly contribute to the process, but it does assist in activating the enzymes that play a key role in this work.
An answer to chronic diseases: Rich in polyphenols, green tea is known across the globe for its anti-inflammatory properties.
As a result, it is recommended, especially for people suffering from asthma and osteoarthritis, and is also recommended in cases of pain and fever.
This is an excellent antiviral agent as green tea also has antibacterial and antifungal properties, and is recommended for influenza or angina pectoris.
The enemy of acidity: Although foods have very little influence on the overall pH of the body, green tea of Japan is ideal for digestive problems and also helps prevent tooth decay.
Amazingly, it seems that the addition of vitamin C to green tea improves the effect of green tea during digestion.
An effective tool to fight excess weight, diabetes and cholesterol: popular among people who monitor their diet, green tea of Japan is a great alternative to the sugary drinks we usually drink.
This makes it known as the “fat burner”.
It also increases insulin susceptibility and is therefore active in combating type 2 diabetes.
Studies have also demonstrated its potential to reduce cholesterol.
A preventive agent against cancer and cardiovascular diseases: due to its anti-angiogenesis properties (ability to destroy blood vessels created in tumors and thus prevent the supply of oxygen to the latter).
Green tea of Japan has been shown in studies on the capacity to affect tumor growth and proliferation.
Medicine recognizes, among other things, the preventive aspects of the development of breast, skin, prostate and lung cancer.
According to the National Cancer Institute, the findings from these studies vary too much and do not establish a relationship.
Additionally, green tea is also recommended for the prevention of cardiovascular disease, as it tends to lower blood pressure.
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Significance of tea ceremony in Japan.
As in many other Japanese arts, the imprint of the Chinese tradition is present because, over many centuries, China was considered by the Japanese the cradle of knowledge (as was Greece to Rome or France for Spain).
Therefore, surely the tea ceremony in China is the most obvious precedent.
Like any tradition that emerged in the Middle Ages in Japan, the tea ceremony is full of details, which means that learning such a meticulous ceremony can occupy most of life.
During this ceremony, which comes from Zen philosophy, the spiritual character prevails, so it is not an empty ceremony, nor simply a refined way of drinking tea.
Expressed in a few words, it is a way of purifying the soul, through its union with nature.
Zen is one of the concepts most ingrained in Japanese culture.
Japanese Tea Ceremony. Step by Step.
A formal and complete Japanese tea ceremony lasts about 4 hours and consists of 4 phases.
However, it is often limited to the last phase called usucha, which lasts about an hour.
Here are the different phases of this ancient Japanese tea ceremony:
Before entering the ceremony room, a hand and mouth cleaning ritual is performed with water.
After this cleaning, he enters the room, and each guest kneels before the chapel and bows respectfully.
When all the guests have presented their respects, the kaiseki is served to end with sweets as a dessert.
Naka-dachi, or intermediate phase.
When prompted by the master of ceremony, guests retire for a break by sitting on benches in an interior garden around the tea house.
Enjoy-IRI is the main phase, in which a type of thick tea is served.
This phase begins when the host rings, 5 or 7 times a metal gong.
This is the sign that tells guests that they must return to continue the tea ceremony.
But first, they must perform the relevant purifying ablutions in the freshwater container.
After that, they re-enter the room where the master of the Japanese tea ceremony is waiting for them.
The room is filled with light thanks to the removal of the blinds that covered the windows.
In the place that is established for this, they have already placed the containers for water and tea waiting to be used.
The master of ceremonies then re-enters, carrying in his hands the teapot, with the bamboo stirrer inside and the bamboo bucket on top.
Guests admire the floral embellishment and teapot.
The teacher retreats to make preparations in another room, returning with the excess water, spoon, and teapot holder.
Then wipe the tea container and bucket with a special cloth and rinse the stirrer into the tea bowl.
After pouring hot water from the container placed into the fire.
Then pour this water into the container intended for this purpose and clean the bowl with the chakin or yarn cloth.
The master of ceremonies then places the bowl in its correct place and the main guest moves to take the bowl.
It tilts others and places the bowl in the palm of your left hand.
Take a sip, praise its flavor and take another 2 or more sips.
He then cleans the part of the edge he has touched with his lips, using one of the paper napkins or kaishi, and passes the bowl to the next guest who repeats the operations of the main guest.
The bowl goes from one guest to another successively until everyone has drunk their share of the tea and is returned to the master of ceremonies.
Related article: 9 Matcha tea benefits you should be aware of.
The basic elements for the preparation of ceremonial tea are:
- The chakin (茶巾). It is a small rectangular canvas of white color or hemp fabric that is mainly used to clean the teacup.
- The tea bowls. There are several types, but mainly there are shallow bowls, which allow tea to cool quickly, so they are used in summer; as well as deep bowls, which are used in winter. The best bowls are the handmade ones and the irregularities and imperfections are highly appreciated, to the point that they are often part of the reason. Another day we will talk about the bowls.
- The chaki (茶器). The small container with a lid in which the powdered tea is placed for use in the tea preparation procedure.
- The chashaku (茶杓). It is a ladle usually made of a single piece of bamboo, although sometimes it can be found made of wood or ivory. It is used to serve chaki tea in the bowl.
- The chasen (茶筅). A kind of brush used to mix tea with hot water. It is made of a unique piece of bamboo. They deteriorate in very few uses.
Related article: What green tea is good for your health?
How to prepare Japanese Tea?
Any tea in Japan can be prepared in several ways and in any case specific utensils are needed.
If you want to prepare matcha green tea (link to matcha tea tasting) you will need a chawan (a large bowl) and a chasen (bamboo whisk).
How to do it? Follow these steps:
- Take a teaspoon of the matcha tea and turn it in the bowl
- Pour hot water at 80º over matcha tea
- With the bamboo whisk, vigorously beat the tea to a frothy consistency
- You can drink directly from the chawan, or, if you want to share it, pour the tea into an additional jug or kettle and serve the water mixed with powdered tea in bowls, you are ready to enjoy it!