Tea was introduced to Japan in the 12th century by monks returning from a pilgrimage to China. In developing its own tea tradition, the Japanese invented the process of flash steaming to extract the freshest aromas from plucked leaves, thus giving rise to classic Sencha tea. The nation's narrow geographic profile means that even inland areas are close to the ocean. The proximity to sea air imparts hints of seaweed and fresh grass to Japanese teas.
Today, the highest grade Japanese teas are produced in Shizuoka and Kyoto Prefectures in the main island of Honshu, and Miyazaki Prefecture in Kyushu. Japan makes almost exclusively green teas only. Less than one percent of its production is exported, making its premium teas exceptionally difficult to source.
This organically cultivated specialty is comprised of one part Japanese Bancha tea leaves and one part toasted rice. The resulting cup carries a roasty, nutty flavor profile that's very easy to drink and earned its place as a cupboard staple in Japanese households. The particular variety features an especially clean finish. Genmaicha's moderate caffeine level makes it suitable for consumption throughout the day.
Tamaryokucha is a refined Japanese tea. This particular lot is organically cultivated in small batches in Miyazaki Prefecture, near the southernmost tip of Japan. After flash steaming, the leaves are carefully rolled into its distinctive coiled form. The leaves produce a complex, yet harmonious arc of flavors. A grassy aroma is followed by a subtle, citrus taste and punctuated with a nutty finish. The profile will gradually shift with successive infusions. A moderate caffeine level makes the tea appropriate for drinking throughout the day.
Matcha Genmaicha was originally a tea consumed by the Japanese working class. Over the years, its drinkability has made it popular for all occasions. This visually striking tea hails from the famed growing region of Uji, just a short drive from the Shinto gates of Kyoto. It is a perfectly harmonized trinity of sencha tea, matcha powder, and toasted rice. The result is a lime colored cup carrying roasty tones, hints of sea foam, and a gentle sweetness. The matcha powder gives the tea a cloudy appearance and extra robust body. Matcha genmaicha is easy to fall in love with and accessible for tea drinkers of all levels.
A time-honored classic, Sencha is the most widely consumed tea in Japan. This particular Sencha is grown near the base of Mt. Fuji, Japan. Following harvest, stems and broken leaves are removed by hand. The tea is then gently steamed, rolled, and dried. Sencha is versatile by exhibiting different flavor profiles depending on steeping temperature. Lower temperatures produce softer, mellow cups, while higher temperatures introduce some earthiness to the palate.
This organically cultivated tea defies classification. Toasted Kukicha is crafted by roasting the stalks of tea plants. The result is a sweeter flavor profile that's reminiscent of caramel, chocolate, and coffee.
The best of the best. Translated as "Jewel Dew," this organically cultivated, hand-made tea is regarded as one of the finest in Japan. Gyokuro tea leaves are shaded from the sun for weeks before harvesting. The resulting emerald green tea leaves produce a highly complex, yet pefectly balanced, cup with subtle hints of sweet grass. This particular variety, grown in a garden in the Wakayama district south of Osaka, is the best we've tasted. Note that Gyokuro tea should steep at lower temperatures than typical green teas. Quantities are very limited.