In this article, we'll explore the best Japanese green tea brands and their unique flavors, benefits, and uses. From matcha to sencha to hojicha, you're sure to find a variety of delicious green teas that will tantalize your taste buds. Whether you're looking for a special gift or simply want to try something new, this guide will help you find the perfect Japanese green tea for your needs.
What is Japanese Green Tea and Its Different Varieties?
Japanese Green Tea is a traditional beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries in Japan. It was first introduced to Japan more than 1,000 years ago by Buddhist monks, who drank green tea to help them stay awake during long periods of meditation. Like black tea, it is made from the leaves of the Camellia Sinensis plant and comes in various forms, including loose-leaf, powdered, and tea bag varieties.
The difference between black and green tea is that all black tea is fermented, and green tea is not fermented. The green leaves are steamed after they have been harvested to stop fermentation, resulting in a fresh, delicate flavor.
If you want to learn more about Japanese green tea and its different types, be sure to check out this article.
Health Benefits of Drinking Japanese Green Tea
Consuming Japanese green tea is believed to be associated with a wide range of benefits that can help improve your overall health, from helping to reduce stress and improve cognitive function, to aiding in weight loss and boosting the immune system. Green tea also contains high volume of antioxidants which help to fight cancer, and green tea is also believed to help improve blood flow and reduce cholesterol.
Best Japanese Green Tea Brands
ITO EN is one of Japan’s largest green tea brands and has created several innovative green tea products since the company was founded in the 1960s, including the world’s first canned sencha beverage, the first green tea in a plastic PET bottle, and the first green tea in a heatable PET bottle which you can find in vending machines all over Japan.
ITO EN has a vast range of green tea products from bottled teas to loose leaves, tea bags, and matcha powder. Among their most popular products is Oi Ocha Premium Matcha Green Tea with Roasted Rice, green tea bags made with a blend of Japanese green tea leaves, Kyoto matcha, and roasted Japanese rice. This green tea is less bitter than other varieties as the leaves are steamed up to five times longer than normal green tea during the production process.
Another popular product is the Itoen Oi Ocha Hojicha, a powdered tea made with hojicha (roasted green tea) harvested only in Japan, which comes in this convenient instant formula.
This Kyoto-based company has a history dating back three centuries to when it was first established as a tea and ceramics shop in 1717. It was renamed Ippodo in 1846, which means ‘preserve one’, referring to preserving the one tradition of providing high-quality tea. They have over 100 tearooms and shop locations throughout Japan, including their Kyoto main store located on historic Teramachi Street.
If you’re new to drinking matcha, start off with Ippodo’s Sayaka no Mukashi Matcha Powder, a high-grade matcha powder with a mellow, umami flavor, or for an everyday green tea, try the Ippodo Japanese Sencha Green Tea Bags, which have a mild sharpness and refreshing fragrance.
Another of Japan’s major green tea producers, Kunitaro was founded in the 1960s and is named after the company’s founder Kunitaro Nakamura, who began selling dried green tea as a student when trying to pay off his debts. From there he began to learn about cultivation and processing, eventually growing the company to become one of Japan’s biggest green tea brands.
Kunitaro’s specialties include their fukamushi teas produced in Shizuoka Prefecture – a deep-steamed tea with a rich and full-bodied flavor. From their fukamushi range of products, we recommend trying the Kunitaro Fukamushicha Decaffeinated Japanese Green Tea Powder, blended with Uji Matcha (green tea powder) for a more vivid color and an even richer taste.
Founded and established in 1931 as a Japanese tea specialty shop in Okayama city, Honjien produces tea utensils and high-quality organic matcha powder. Among their most popular matcha products is the Honjien Organic Matcha Japanese Green Tea Powder Gold Grade, an organic green tea powder grown without pesticides and chemical fertilizers. It can be consumed as a drink or used in baking and cooking. Honjien’s High Grade matcha powder is ideal for use in tea ceremonies or making high-end confectionery.
Tsujiri was founded by Riemon Tsuji at the end of Japan’s Edo period in 1860 when he was just 17 years old, and today they have stores around the world. Tsuji refined the cultivation of Gyokuro (the highest grade of Japanese green tea) with his methods are still used today. He also invented a tea box that preserved the longevity and freshness of tea leaves during transportation, making fresh tea from Kyoto available to other Japanese cities for the first time.
Popular products today include Tsujiri’s Matcha Green Tea Latte Powder, a sweetened matcha green tea latte powder containing two types of Japanese matcha to bring out all the taste of green tea. It’s made with 100% matcha powder from Uji in Kyoto. This drink has a soft and mellow flavor when milk is added to it and is an easy and delicious way of enjoying matcha milk at home.
If you're looking for a green tea option that doesn't have much caffeine in it, check out their Genmaicha Brown Rice Green Tea which is made of premium green tea and roasted brown rice. The addition of roasted brown rice not only gives this tea nice nutty flavor, but it is also rich in dietary fiber, minerals, and GABA.
With a history dating back over 300 years to 1704, Marukyu Koyamaen is a highly regarded tea grower located in Uji, Kyoto. Marukyu Koyamaen offers a selection of Japanese green teas created using a combination of modern and traditional processes. The company supplies matcha and other teas to luxury hotels, high-ranking shrines and temples, as well as the most established tea schools in Japan, and gourmet supermarkets.
One of Marukyu’s signature products is their Kinrin Uji Matcha Powder. Kinrin has a good balance of freshness, mildness, and richness that can be used for multiple purposes, including drinking, cooking, or baking. This matcha can also be enjoyed as a thick creamy tea or thin tea (like coffee).
Morihan is a family business founded in 1836, producing high-quality tea products for two centuries. They produce a range of green tea products including loose-leaf tea, powdered green tea, tea bags, and dry powdered mixes, and the company is known for selecting, blending, and supplying the highest quality loose-leaf teas from the region.
Popular Morihan products include their Uji Matcha Sweet Green Tea, sweetened green tea powder from Uji in Kyoto. This product is perfect for people who normally find matcha too bitter to drink by itself. You can also make other beverages with this product like matcha milkshakes.
Morihan also produces a Matcha Multi-Purpose Japanese Green Tea Powder, which is convenient for making drinks or using in confectionery or tea ceremonies.
Love green tea? Check out our full range of Japanese green tea here!