Japanese teas are available in many varieties and are considered to be one of the best types of teas in the world.
They are aromatic, strong, and have an extremely refreshing and balanced flavor.
Finding the right tea can be quite challenging but after you’re done reading this guide, we guarantee that you will easily pick a blend that is just right for you!
What are the best Japanese teas? Available in over 25 varieties, Japanese teas are diverse and cater to the taste palette of every type of tea lover. Most of them come from different plant species but they all share an amazingly refreshing flavor with varying undertones.
Read below to learn more about Japanese teas, the best way to make them, some tips, and a buyer’s guide to help you pick the best tea!
Why Japanese Tea?
Japan has a rich history with tea that dates as far back as 700 AD. Tea has been a huge part of Japanese culture for generations.
From children to adults, everyone drinks tea and since Japan is a huge exporter of tea leaves, you can find several varieties of green tea from this region alone.
Japanese tea is renowned worldwide because of how diverse, premium and aromatic the tea leaves are and since Japanese people have been drinking tea for centuries, they have also perfected the way to both process and brew tea.
You can even find specialized teapots in Japan that are catered towards making high-quality tea for guests or families!
It is the ultimate celebration of culture and if you want to start your green tea journey then there is no better place to start than with Japanese tea!
Japanese Tea And Its Availability
The only way to get an authentic cup of Japanese tea is if you learn to make it the right way.
Japanese tea isn’t like other generic tea leaves. Some are extremely delicate while others require precise handling and temperatures to extract their flavors.
Modern industrialization has made things easier, though but some aficionados still prefer to get loose tea leaves.
Loose tea leaves are considered to be better for several reasons.
First, they contain larger cut leaves which allows them to hydrate and steep efficiently than finer cut leaves, which are commonly found in commercial tea bags.
And secondly, loose tea leaves provide a better flavor, aroma, and texture when steeped. Finely cut tea leaves are known to oxidize and lose a lot of their flavor.
However, loose leaves don’t always equate to high-quality. Keep in mind that most of the world has now shifted to tea bags.
While this was a conscious sacrifice to boost tea sales and to make tea drinking more convenient, modern manufacturing techniques have completely changed the game when it comes to tea bags.
Nowadays you can easily find artisanal or specialty tea bags with more or less the same benefit that loose tea provides.
Japanese tea is also available in either loose or tea bag forms but this mostly depends on the type of tea and its popularity.
Usually, the most popular options are also available in teabags while the rare varieties are commonly sold loose. But this isn’t a set rule as you can find any type of tea in either form.
For example, kombucha green tea is available both in a tea bag and in loose form. This tea is fairly popular but some might prefer to drink the “farmer’s” version of it.
The farmer’s version of any tea is half-processed, meaning that it isn’t finely cut and differs from the tea products sold in the market. Because they are unprocessed, they sell at a cheaper rate but provide a better tasting experience.
How To Make Japanese Tea
Japanese tea making involves heat, a kyusu (teapot), a yunomi (teacup), and tea leaves.
Some tea types require boiling water while others may require lukewarm or even barely tepid water.
This is because the flavor of the tea leaves is highly dependent on heat. The higher the heat the higher the chances of the flavor notes being destroyed.
The fragrance of tea can also be affected by heat. This is why some tea types like gyokuro require about 140°F while Hojicha can take up to 195°F with ease.
Generally speaking, always use a lower temperature if you purchase high-quality tea. This will help preserve the natural flavors and micronutrients and antioxidants of the tea.
The first step is to determine what type of tea you want to make. Japanese tea is available in several categories and subcategories. For example, you can find many sub-varieties in the green tea and black tea category.
Once you have picked the right type of tea, you can begin to heat the water in the kyusu as required. To make tea for two people, heat 200ml of water and steep two tablespoons of tea leaves in the water for one minute.
The instructions for tea bags are more or less the same. For typical tea bags with Japanese tea leaves, steep the bags in warm water for 2-3 minutes or longer if you want a stronger tasting tea.
Specialty tea bags may require additional care with either less steeping time or lower water temperatures. Always check the back of the packaging for detailed instructions on how to use the specialty tea bags.
Buyer’s Guide For Japanese Teas
Now that you know about Japanese teas and how to make them, it is time to check out our buyer’s guide that is designed to help you pick the best tea for you and your family.
This guide will be divided into different sections, each will discuss an important aspect of what makes a great cup of Japanese tea.
Here is what you should look out for:
Loose Vs. Tea Bags
As mentioned above, the flavor from loose tea and tea bags can be either a world apart or just slightly different. Depending on how you like to drink tea, you can choose between these two types.
Most on the go people prefer using tea bags.
It’s quick, convenient, and creates almost no mess., whereas loose tea requires a bit of consideration and attention. Loose tea leaves are perfect for when you want to sit down, unwind and brew a fresh cup for yourself or your family.
Loose tea leaves can also be much better in flavor and aroma compared to tea bags. Remember, the finer cut the tea leaves, the lower-quality they will be!
Tea leaves can last months for casual tea drinkers but may last just a few weeks for those who like to have several cups in a day.
Green tea is known to be a healthy beverage and drinking at least 3-4 cups every day is not uncommon.
When searching for Japanese tea you need to consider the right quantity for you. Keep in mind, as soon as you open a pack of sealed tea leaves, they will start to oxidize.
You can store the loose leaves in an air-tight container but the mere action of reopening and closing the container will cause deterioration too.
This is why we recommend starting with a 200g (or smaller) pack or a tea bag pack that contains 30 tea bags.
Furthermore, Japanese tea leaves also vary in rarity. If you value novelty and rarity then you can check out the ultra-premium blends on our list below too!
Flavor And Aroma
Japanese teas are known for their wonderful aroma and great flavor. If you want to refresh your senses then we highly recommend picking up a few aromatic blends like Hojicha tea.
Japanese teas are unlike commercial-level teas that are usually flavored. While these teas are also available in fruity flavors, it is best to experience Japanese teas as-is.
We guarantee that after one whiff of a freshly brewed cup, you won’t need to depend on any flavorings!
You should also look out for mixed tea blends with roasted rice or other flavorings too!
The majority of teas on our list below are both fragrant and balanced in flavor but some can also be a bit too strong for the mainstream or casual tea drinker.
This is why we highly recommend that you check the description and indications of the tea products before purchasing to avoid regret.
23 Japanese Teas That You Have To Try
Now that we have discussed everything about Japanese teas, their characteristics, and a guide to purchasing the right tea for your needs, it is time to look at tea recommendations!
These teas are handpicked by our staff and we have made sure to feature a large variety of teas for all types of tea lovers.
Check them out below!
|1.||Sarasara Japanese Green Tea||Classic green tea infused with matcha and vitamin C.|
|2.||Sencha Green Tea Bag Set||Assortment of classic teas, perfect for beginners.|
|3.||Japanese Black Tea Bags||Mild black tea, designed for all types of tea lovers.|
|4.||Kombucha Green Tea||Excellent flavor, great for health - loaded with antioxidants.|
|5.||Harney & Sons Genmaicha Tea||Loose-leaf genmaicha, designed for serious tea lovers.|
|6.||Okinawa Jasmine Tea||Straight out of Okinawa. Has a strong but refreshing flavor!|
|7.||Japanese Barley Tea Kaori Kaoru||Highly aromatic with a classic green tea flavor.|
|8.||Itoen Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea)||Pronounced roasted flavor – perfect for avid tea drinkers.|
|9.||Benifuki Green Tea||Authentic Japanese tea leaves. Best for allergies.|
|10.||Japanese Sen Cha Loose Leaf||Deep-steamed tea leaves with lingering taste and aroma.|
|11.||Lemon Loose Leaf Flavored Green Tea||Essential lemon-flavored green tea for everyday drinking.|
|12.||Organic Kabusecha||Mild and sweet flavored green tea.|
|13.||Gyokuro Organic Japanese Green Tea||High-class and high-quality premium green tea with an earthy flavor.|
|14.||Genmaicha Green Tea With Roasted Brown Rice||High-quality tea blended with roasted brown rice. Great flavor and aroma!|
|15.||Kabusecha Organic Japanese Green Tea Loose Leaf||Blended Japanese tea made using high-quality tea leaves.|
|16.||Japanese Matcha||Classic premium matcha tea that is perfect for any occasion.|
|17.||Bancha Gokujo Hojicha||Roasted tea leaves with high-quality organic teabags.|
|18.||Kamairicha Cauldron Fired Green Tea Loose Leaves||Deep-roasted and rare Japanese tea leaves, great for demanding tea lovers.|
|19.||Hoji Cha Teabags||Premium tea bags for an authentic cup of Japanese green tea!|
|20.||Kukicha Twig Tea With Matcha Green Tea Powder||Ultra-fine green tea blend with matcha powder!|
|21.||Sweet Pineapple Loose Green Tea||Fruity flavor Japanese green tea. Great for casual drinkers!|
|22.||Organic Genmaicha With Roasted Rice||A must-try classic Japanese blend with roasted rice!|
|23.||Morihata Organic Green Tea Bags||Slowly roasted authentic tea leaves with premium tea bags.|
1. Sarasara Japanese Green Tea
Kicking things off with a classic, this powder mixture contains classic Japanese green tea leaves with a mix of matcha and vitamin C.
This is the same type of tea that you can expect in restaurants and even upscale hotels!
It has a balanced fragrance and can be made using a hot cup of water in less than 2 minutes. Enjoy this tea as it is or by adding your favorite sweetener.
It truly is a must-have and a great place to start for beginners!
2. Sencha Green Tea Bag Set
This tea bag set is the perfect gateway for you to enter the world of Japanese tea. It contains Sencha, Houjicha and Genmaicha tea bags.
You get 20 tea bags for each type of tea and the bags contain high-quality tea leaves that can be steeped in warm water for maximum flavor and fragrance!
3. Japanese Black Tea Bags
This black tea is the perfect replacement for your current tea blend. It embodies the culture of Japan and brings with it a refreshing flavor and a balanced aroma.
If you are into black tea then this tea bag set should set you up for the long run!
The leaves are contained within high-quality tea bags that you can depend on while at home or on the go.
4. Kombucha Green Tea
Infused green tea leaves with spearmint and antioxidants that will help your body fight off diseases and future ailments!
This tea is excellent for people who like a bit of commercial flavor in their tea.
You can whip it up within minutes and it goes great with just a bit of sweetener as well!
5. Harney & Sons Genmaicha Tea
This is the type of tea you bring out when you have friends and family over.
With high-quality loose leaves and an excellent aroma and flavor, genmaicha tea is a great example of high-grade Japanese tea.
Serve it with dried fruits for an even better experience!
6. Okinawa Jasmine Tea
Classic high-quality jasmine tea leaves—a must for any tea lover!
This tea originates from Okinawa and possesses a strong yet rounded flavor and a refreshing aroma that will titillate the senses!
It is one of the best types of Japanese teas and we think you will love just how agreeable its flavor is.
7. Japanese Barley Tea Kaori Kaoru
This product originates from Japan and is the very definition of Japanese tea culture.
You get 54 tea bags that you can use to make either cold or hot tea.
This type of tea is perfect for unwinding during a busy afternoon as it has a strong aroma and a very welcoming flavor.
8. Itoen Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea)
The Itoen Hojicha tea is slightly roasted which gives it an extremely pronounced but accessible flavor.
This tea is a best-seller among tea enthusiasts and offers a change of pace for people who are bored of having the same green tea every day.
9. Benifuki Green Tea
Benifuki green tea is loaded with Methylated catechins that aid in relieving allergies and other symptoms of the eyes and nose.
This Japanese green tea is borderline medicinal and tastes as great as any other high-quality green tea!
10. Japanese Sen Cha Loose Leaf
This pack contains special loose Sen Cha leaves that are deep-steamed which gives them a lasting aroma and a lingering aftertaste with a slight umami finish.
This tea is meant to have a distinct sweet and vegetal scent and can be made within minutes by steeping in hot water.
11. Lemon Loose Leaf Flavored Green Tea
A simple Japanese green tea that is faithful to the culture and flavor of high-quality green tea.
This is a must-have for anyone who enjoys flavored green tea.
A lemon-flavored tea is highly essential and if you are looking to start with authentic Japanese teas then this is a good place to begin!
12. Organic Kabusecha
This green tea is designed to be milder and sweeter than loose-leaf Sen Cha tea and is perfect for casual tea drinkers who want to experience artisanal tea.
This product comes from Japan and brings with it both culture and great flavor!
13. Gyokuro Organic Japanese Green Tea
Gyokuro is rare and is also the best that money can buy. This tea is world-renowned for its delicate flavor and leaves.
It is perhaps one of the best green teas to come out of Japan and is the very definition of exquisite teas.
If you have been looking for a great high-grade green tea, then this is it!
14. Genmaicha Green Tea With Roasted Brown Rice
The bitter notes from the Sencha leaves are balanced with the aroma and flavor of high-quality brown rice that is blended with the leaves.
This tea is great for aficionados and people who enjoy a high-quality cup of freshly brewed Japanese tea.
15. Kabusecha Organic Japanese Green Tea Loose Leaf
This is perhaps the most prestigious Japanese tea blend that you will find.
It combines the tea leaves of two well-known green teas and is processed using several Japanese-centric harvesting techniques that date back centuries.
It provides a wonderful flavor and an excellent aroma for any tea lover.
16. Japanese Matcha
Classic and premium matcha is hard to come by but this brand offers a traditional and authentic experience with the use of high-quality matcha powder that completely diffuses in hot water.
If you have been looking for premium matcha tea, then buy this product today!
17. Bancha Gokujo Hojicha
If you enjoy the flavor of roasted tea leaves then we highly recommend that you check out this simple yet refreshing green tea.
It contains high-grade Japanese green tea that is delicately roasted to provide a unique yet balanced flavor and aroma.
18. Kamairicha Cauldron Fired Green Tea Loose Leaves
One of the great things about artisanal and roasted green tea leaves is that it offers a huge departure from cheaper labels.
Trust us, you can get hooked to this type of premium tea with just one sip!
Also, this product contains high-grade kamairicha leaves that are extremely hard to come by, even in Japan!
19. Hoji Cha Teabags
Basic teabags with premium Japanese green tea leaves.
This product provides an aromatic and flavorful cup with every brew and is great for when you have guests or family over too.
If you are looking for something basic then you need to check this option out!
20. Kukicha Twig Tea With Matcha Green Tea Powder
Karigane twig tea with matcha powder provides a strong yet sweet flavor with lingering umami notes.
It is the perfect tea to unwind with and provides a fantastic brewing experience thanks to its ultra-fine powder form.
21. Sweet Pineapple Loose Green Tea
Infused with marigold petals and sweet pineapple flavorings, this Japanese green tea blend is a fun way of introducing someone to the world of Japanese tea.
It provides a refreshing and aromatic experience and is suitable for the young and old alike!
22. Organic Genmaicha with Roasted Rice
This product provides an authentic Japanese tea flavor thanks to the high-quality genmaicha leaves blended with roasted rice.
Sweet and earthy flavored, this is a cup of traditional green tea that everyone should try!
23. Morihata Organic Green Tea Bags
Grown deep in the hills of Kirishima, Japan, this premium and authentic Japanese green tea will surely reinvigorate you!
Each tea bag contains high-quality slowly roasted leaves that provide a sweet and earthy flavor. This tea is very aromatic and is excellent for multiple occasions.
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