Japanese Tea Culture
Tea culture, inherited from China in ancient times, was enhanced with Japan's unique culture of
"Omotenashi" is a uniquely Japanese way of thought meaning a sincere wholehearted devotion to one's guest or customer.
The primary feature of drinking tea is the hosts' and guests' shared enjoyment of the process and time spent in making the tea for them to drink, such that it serves as a comfortable respite that not only sates one's thirst but also enriches the spirit.
You can translate it into English as hospitality, but it’s not exactly the same.
The original meaning of omtenashi is not just to entertain people politely and kindly, but also to give consideration to the parts that are invisible to the other person.
It is said that the spirit of hospitality originates from the traditional manners and spirit of "tea ceremony" in Japan.
The Japanese tea ceremony is one of the most important cultural activities of Japan. The tea used for the ceremony is the powdered tea called matcha which is prepared in a very exacting and careful manner. The concept of omotenashi also plays a central part in the Japanese Tea Ceremony.
The host will make perfect preparations to welcome the guests. And they have devoted themselves to providing customers with high quality and good service.
In order to respond to that feeling, customers receive tea at the timing when they can drink the most deliciously and pay respect to host for their beautiful behavior.
The respected behavior and politely service without waste of host and customers is called “Omotenashi”.
Types of Japanese Tea
Japanese tea (ryokucha or green tea) is divided into different types depending on differences in the cultivation method, harvest period, production process and similar characteristics.
Teas Grown Covered
These are mellow-flavored tea leaves with a sweetness from being grown in locations hidden from direct sunlight.
This tea is made by steaming the tea leaves and then drying them whole before grinding into a powder.
Called the "Japanese espresso", this tea allows you to directly enjoy the natural umami (savoriness) of the condensed tea leaves.
This tea is made by steaming the tea leaves and crushing them as they dry. This high-quality tea is free of any bitterness, allowing you to enjoy the rich yet mellow umami of the tea leaves.
Teas Grown Not Covered
These tea leaves are grown totally exposed to direct sunlight to fully accentuate the astringent character and refreshing flavor of the leaves.
This is the most standard well-known Japanese tea. The tea leaves are steamed immediately after being picked and then kneaded before being dried.
This tea is made by steaming the leaves that remain after the sprouts have been plucked (second flush), with the leaves dried while being kneaded.
This roasted tea is made by roasting sencha and bancha in high heat until they turn brown. It is characterized by a fragrant aroma and is low in caffeine. It is a popular after-dinner tea.
Health and Beauty Benefits of Japanese Tea
In recent years Japanese tea has been referred to as "the healthiest beverage on the planet" making it
famous worldwide as a Japanese "super food".
It is rich in components such as catechin, vitamin C, flavonoid and theanine that are known to have anti-aging and relaxing effects making it extremely beneficial for health and beauty.
Although vitamin C is characteristically weak against heat, the vitamin C in green tea is actually known to be resistant to heat. For this reason, Japanese tea provides the beneficial effects of vitamin C even when the tea is made using boiling water before drinking.