Japanese green tea Inspire the table

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Japanese green tea Inspire the table.

Install Guide
for Restaurant Business

What is
Japanese Green Tea?

Japanese green tea refers to the specific Japanese style of processing of the Camellia Sinensis bush. Tea produced in Japan is mainly Green most notably Sencha, Gyokuro, Matcha, Hojicha, and Genmaicha. These types of tea are produced all over Japan and encompass many regional styles with unique characteristics.

The key factor that makes Japanese green tea unique is the steaming process. Japanese green tea is steamed after harvest creating a bright and fragrant brew with a rich taste that is both sweet and savory.

Japanese green tea also includes Matcha tea very specific to Japan. With Matcha, tea leaves are gently stone milled to a fine powder and then whisked in a bowl to create a uniquely rich and satisfying tea experience. Japan’ s cultural attention to detail and specific microclimate combined with the highly refined marriage of technology and craft make Japanese green tea unique in the world.

Feature of
Japanese Green Tea

Japanese green tea is prized for its rich sweetness and lasting Umami. At the heart of this flavor is the chemical L-Theanine. The tea is uniquely high in this flavorful amino acid due to careful cultivar selection, garden management and gentle processing. Due to elevated levels of L-Theanine, Japanese green teas offers remarkable texture on the palate with a pleasing depth that easily pairs with both sweet and savory foods. Whether brewed hot or cold, the tea can enhance and inspire “the table experience” by adding a level of unexpected depth while either contrasting or complementing a dish in the same way wine can. Since Japanese green tea has a variety of kinds and flavors which taste unique to each other, each can be paired with diverse types of food based on the flavors.

Japanese green teas offers a level of experience on pair with wines and spirits. With countless producers taking a unique perspective on their craft, it is easy to find a tea that is at home on your menu and discuss its terroir with your customers.

Many varieties of Japanese green tea were developed alongside Japanese cuisine and while they are at home on Japanese menus, they are unique and varied enough to pair with French, Italian and New American cuisine. Adding Japanese green tea to a menu is akin to highlighting Italy by having truffles or France by having burgundy on the menu. It represents a new category of craft and flavor and adds a level of depth to any menu.


Japanese green tea is very valuable and exclusive because it is processed very carefully. The tea today is processed with hands-on craftsmanship. From tilling the land to fertilizing, harvesting, and manufacturing, the keen eye and deep understanding of the natural rhythms of the tea plant is of the utmost importance.

In addition, Japan has developed advanced technologies that allow precision, consistency, and scalability in the processing of the leaf. Japan still hand harvests tea and in some cases employs Temomi or hand rolling.

Various types of
Japanese Green Tea


    Sencha is the most prevalent style of Japanese green tea and encompasses many varieties and styles. Sencha can range in flavor from light and mineral, sweet and grassy, or even quite rich and unctuous. Sencha contains moderate caffeine, higher levels of catechin, a powerful antioxidant, and vitamin C. High-grade Sencha contains higher amino acid, which leads to the taste of rich umami.

    Tasting note: Fresh grass, Vegetal, Softly sweet, Bright, Savory, Sweet
    Major Crafted in: All over Japan (most well known-Shizuoka, Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Fukuoka, Mie, Saitama (Sayama))


    Producing Gyokuro requires a high degree of care and expertise. The tea bushes are unpruned and allowed to grow upright before shade coverings are built around the bushes. The tea are shaded for approximately 20-30 days and then hand harvested. Gyokuro has extremely high levels of L-Theanine, Glutamate and Arginine - imbuing it with an intense sweetness and focused, savory umami.

    Tasting note: Oceanic, Protein-like, Floral Rich, Umami, Savory, Sweet, Oceanic salinity, Unctuous
    Major Crafted in: Mie, Kyoto (Uji), Fukuoka (Yame)


    Matcha is made from shaded tea leaves which is a similar grown process to Gyokuro. The leaves are shaded for 20-30 days and then processed in a special Tencha factory. After being steamed and dried, the leaves are gently milled in a stone mill. The powdered tea is then called Matcha. Matcha is unique to Japan and offers a refined and intense green tea experience.

    Tasting note: Fresh greens, Spinach, Seaweed, Rice cracker, Buttered asparagus, Creamy, Toasted nori, Dried flowers
    Major Crafted in: Kagoshima, Kyoto (Uji), Fukuoka (Yame), Aichi (Nishio)


    Hojicha can be found in every corner of Japan and is the “table wine” of Japanese green tea. It is roasted and caramelized, lowering the caffeine content and adding a unique toasty aroma. It pairs very well with sweet and savory dishes and is a great choice for serving to guests when they arrive.

    Tasting note: Caramelized sweetness, Toasty, Roasted, Nutty, Toasted grain, Spun sugar
    Major Crafted in: All over Japan

  • Others

    Genmaicha is an easy drinking and flavorful tea. Sometimes called “popcorn tea”, Genmaicha actually contains roasted brown rice that resembles popcorn. The tea has its roots in rural Japan and is the perfect accompaniment to food. It is often served alongside sushi or other savory Japanese dishes.

    Tasting note: Fresh, Toasted rice, Aromatic, Refreshing, Grassy, Nutty, Toasted
    Major Crafted in: All over Japan

Successful Story of Offering Japanese Green Tea

Torien We interviewed Mr. Akio Matsumoto, a sommelier at Torien who offers a wide range of Japanese green tea on the restaurant’ s menu. See more

Serving Method

How to brew

  • Sencha

    -Tea leaf: 5-6g (2 teaspoons)
    -Water: 6oz (180cc) @ 180 °F (80°C)
    -Brew: For 1 minute

  • Gyokuro

    -Tea leaf: 5-6g (2 teaspoons)
    -Water: 2oz (50-70cc) @ 120 °F (50°C)
    -Brew: For 2 minutes

  • Matcha

    -Matcha powder: 2g (0.75 teaspoons)
    -Water: 2oz (65cc) @ 180 °F (80°C)

  • Hojicha

    -Tea leaf: 5-6g (2 teaspoons)
    -Water: 8oz (250cc) @ 200°F (95°C)
    -Brew: For 2-3 minutes

  • Genmaicha

    -Tea leaf: 6g (2 teaspoons)
    -Water: 8oz (250cc) @ 195°F (90°C)
    -Brew: For 2-3 minute
    To accentuate the aroma of brown rice, use water at around 195°F (90°C) . To accentuate the sweetness of the green tea, you can brew slightly cooler at around 180 °F (80°C).

Relationship Between the Temperature of Hot Water and the Taste Of Japanese Green Tea
Relationship Between the Temperature of Hot Water and the Taste Of Japanese Green Tea

Approaches of Food

Mr. Akio Matsumoto from Torien introduces the approaches of food pairing with Japanese green tea.

  • Hojicha ✕ Chicken Thigh Skewers

    Synergistic effect of roasting aroma Hojicha has less bitterness and astringency due to fewer catechins and tannins. The best approach is to combine both roasting aromas from Hojicha and food to create a synergistic effect. At Torien, I paired the sauce-grilled chicken thigh skewers.

    How to pair with: Hojicha is best paired with dishes that are not too heavy such as Tempura. For example, it is good to pair with a slightly seared fish sashimi and fillets. Since Hojicha has a rich taste, it is better offered at the beginning of a course rather than at the end.

  • Sencha ✕ Deep-Fried Tofu

    Synergistic effect of UMAMI Sencha has rich umami and astringency due to tannin. It is a perfect pairing for foods with comparable umami. Also, the astringency is good for dishes that are oily to clean one’s palette. At Torien, I paired with the dish made with Dashi from Bonito and Kombu to target the effect.

    How to pair with: Sencha is best paired with Umami from seafood based Dashi and the aroma of sea, such as sea urchin, for a synergistic effect of umami. Also, it would be a good pairing to combine an oily menu with Sencha to refresh the aftertaste.

  • Genmaicha ✕ Vegetable Skewers

    Synergistic effect of sweet and savory Genmaicha has sweet and savory notes. The perfect pairing is a combination of the notes from foods. Genmaicha is a relative all-rounder, which means no limit to the pairings with any types of dishes. At Torien, I paired it with vegetable skewers such as shitake mushroom.

    How to pair with: Genmaicha is best paired with sweet and savory tastes dishes. It is good for masking the negative aspects of ingredients. For example, the quirky aromas from roasted chicken wings or duck are masked when paired with Genmaicha. Since this tea contains rice, it is good to pair with any dishes that go well with rice.

  • Gyokuro ✕ Tsukune

    Synergistic effect of UMAMI Gyokuro is one of the most surprising Japanese green tea to customers, as it has rich umami that tastes like dashi. It is a perfect pairing with umami from Gyokuro and a delicate flavor of food. At Torien, I paired with umami from both Gyokuro and Tsukune (Japanese meatballs).

    How to pair with: Gyokuro is best paired with umami or delicate and complex tasting dishes since Gyokuro is rich and not overpowered by the flavors of dishes. It goes well with a salty taste or dashi such as Kombu-based dishes. It is highly recommended to offer with the final dish as the climax of the course.

  • Matcha ✕ Pudding

    Good combination of bitterness and sweetness Matcha has a strong bitterness that is perfectly paired with the sweetness of the dessert at the end of the course to clean the palette. At Torien, I paired with pudding as sweet as Omogashi, which typically paired with traditional Matcha.

    How to pair with: Matcha is best paired with desserts that are sweet and oily. Since Matcha is bitter and has a strong aroma, it is better to serve at the end of the course. However, serving mocktails made with matcha powder or leaves could be an interesting pairing in the middle of the course.

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