Varieties of Japanese green teas and their benefits

September 18, 2020 3 min read

Varieties of Japanese green teas and their benefits

Many of you are probably familiar with Sencha, which is the most popular type of Japanese green tea. But do you know that there are many other varieties of green teas? What makes the green teas different from one another is usually due to their harvesting and processing methods. 

Facts about Green Tea

Green Tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant. The leaves remained green because they are steamed and roasted immediately after they are picked to prevent the onset of oxidation and fermentation. The green tea plants are grown either in the sun or under shade to produce different types of teas. The tea leaves are harvested 3 to 4 times a year, with the first flush (first harvest) in the spring bringing in the best quality leaves. In Japan, the most expensive premium teas are grown in Uji, which is also the oldest tea-producing region. 

Introducing some popular varieties of Japanese Green Tea:


80% of all teas produced in Japan is Sencha, which is also the most commonly drunk variety of tea. Sencha is grown in direct sunlight and is usually harvested in the first or second flush. The leaves are steamed immediately, followed by drying and rolling. The rolling process results in the leaves having a needle-like shape, and also helps releases the juices inside of the leaves, which intensifies the flavour.

[Available in MLS: Kotoshina Organic Sencha (Ginger Blend), Kotoshina Organic Sencha (Matcha Blend)]



The process of Gyokuro tea is similar to that of Sencha, except that the tea leaves are shaded for about 3 weeks prior to harvest. The shading process suppresses the generation of catechins from amino acids due to photosynthesis, resulting in a smooth and light tea with a fuller taste. Gyokuro is much more expensive due to the high production costs of the shading and cultivating the tea plants.

[Available in MLS: Kotoshina Organic Iced-brew Gyokuro] 



Matcha is made from the same shade-grown tea leaves that are used to make gyukuro. After being grown in the shade for 3 weeks, the leaves are picked, stalks and veins removed, before being steamed. The leaves are then air-dred without being rolled. These processed leaves are now called tencha. To produce matcha, the tencha will be stoneground into powder 




Genmaicha  is also known as brown rice tea. Unprocessed brown rice is first soaked and steamed before getting toasted and popped into puffs. The brown rice puffs are then mixed with sencha or other green teas at a 50:50 ratio, resulting in a toasty, nutty full-bodies tea.

[Available in MLS: Kotoshina Organic Genmai-cha (Matcha Blend)]



Hojicha is made by roasting Sencha or other types of green tea leaves, resulting in a toasty, mellow tea. The roasting process causes the caffeine to be sublimated, hence it has the least caffeine content compared to the other teas.

[Available at MLS: Kotoshina Organic Hojicha]


Benefits of consuming Green Tea

Research has shown that there are many health and beauty benefits from consuming green tea, including but not limited to the following:

  • Rich in polyphenols, including a catechin called EGCG, which are natural antioxidants that helps reduce inflamation and lowers the risk of cancer.
  • Contains both caffeine and the amino acid L-theanine which stimulates and boost brain function. The catechin compounds also protects the brain as we age and help prevent neurodegenerative diseases like dementia.
  • May increase metabolic rate and fat burning in the short term
  • Drinking green tea and apply it topically to your skin can make you look younger due to the EGCG which help fights DNA damage.


If you are interested to purchase our Kotoshina organic teas, here is a video to find out more about the them. They will be perfect as gifts for your loved ones or as a treat for yourself! 



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