What is Japanese Green Tea?

Japanese tea leaves are steamed immediately after harvesting to halt oxidation (traditionally referred to as “fermentation”). This steaming provides the “kill-green” step necessary for green tea. Even hojicha, which produces a caramel liquor from brown leaves and stems, is considered a green tea because it has gone through this kill-green steaming process. (The brown color comes from a separate roasting process). Japan is the only country where teas are traditionally steamed, a process that gives Japanese teas a characteristic grassy and savory flavor.

 

Some regions of Japan, such as Shizuoka, are known for a deep steaming process called fukamushi. This deep steaming breaks up the tea leaves into smaller pieces, resulting in small leaf bits packed with a powerful umami flavor, heady vegetal aroma, and a long-lasting aftertaste.