What makes Japanese green tea
so unique?

Green tea is steamed to stop the oxidation of the tea.
What is unique about our real Japanese green tea is the production process:
in 1 day the tea is harvested, steamed, dried and packed in airtight packaging.
Thanks to this process, Azumaya’s real Japanese green tea doesn’t oxidate
after steaming and the unique taste is preserved.

In the further handling of the tea, it is important to make sure the tea doesn’t oxidate by exposure to air, light or humidity.
We pay a lot of attention to the packaging, transport and storage of the tea.
We sell our Japanese green tea in small sealed packages and import the tea using fast air transport.

 

Matcha

01 – MATCHA

Matcha is a powdered tea, that is prepared by foaming it with a bamboo whisk. Matcha tea is used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony.
Just as for Gyukoro and Kabusecha, the tea trees are covered with shadow nets the last few weeks before harvest. Thanks to this process, the leaves generate extra tannins, which contain a very high level of antioxidants. The tannins also slow down the pace at which caffeine enters the bloodstream. This is why Matcha brings you enhanced concentration for approximately 3 hours.
After harvesting the leaves, the best parts of the tea leaves are steamed and ground to powder in small stone grinding mills. Because you drink the full tea leaf, you take 100% from the antioxidants into your body. As a result Matcha tea can give you up to 130 times more antioxidants than ‘regular’ green tea.

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Sencha Yame

02 – SENCHA

Sencha is the most popular Japanese green tea. In Japan people drink it throughout the day, together with a meal, or during a tea break.
Sencha is produced from first and second harvest leaves. The tea leaves are steamed and rolled right after harvest. There are hundreds of different tea producers in Japan, and just like with wine, there is a very large variety of tastes between the different regions and production methods.

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03 – GYOKURO

Gyokuro is the highest quality Japanese green tea, because the best leaves from the best tea trees are used. The last few weeks before harvest, the tea trees are covered with shadow nets. In order for the plants to undergo photosynthesis, they produce more chlorophyl, which gives the tea its deep and strong ‘umami’ taste. The better the quality of the leaves, the more tea leaves you can use, and the longer you can infuse, without generating bitterness. That is why Gyokuro is brewed with just a little bit of water, and is infused 3 minutes.

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Hojicha

04 – HOJICHA – BANCHA

Hojicha is roasted Japanese green tea.
The process of roasting reduces the caffeine level in the tea.
This makes Hojicha suitable for people of all ages, young and old, at any moment of the day. Hojicha can be prepared hot or cold.

Bancha is made from the coarser leaves of the later harvests. Thanks to this, Bancha has less caffeine and a high level of minerals. Bancha is a very fresh tasting tea.

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Genmai-cha Yame

05 – GENMAICHA

Genmaicha is Sencha tea with roasted rice. Genmaicha is a crispy tea, with a taste similar to popcorn.

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Hojicha

06 – KABUSECHA

The tea trees for Kabusecha are also covered with shadow nets, but not for as long as Gyokuro or Matcha. The covering with shadow nets (kabuse) gives the tea a subtle and complicated taste.

 

STEP 1

Preheat the Matcha bowl by filling it 1/3 with hot water. Put the bamboo whisk in the hot water to moisten the teeth of the whisk. Once the bowl is preheated, take out the whisk and pour out the water. Dry the bowl with a cloth. Pour 70 ml of hot water in a separate bowl and let it cool for a few minutes.

 

STEP 2

Using the bamboo spoon, put 2 spoons of Matcha powder into the bowl. (~2g)

 

STEP 3

Once the water has cooled (~78-80°), pour it into the Matcha bowl with the Matcha powder.

 

STEP 4

Whisk the water and Matcha powder in the bowl by making fast M-shaped movements with the Chasen. Start with large, coarse movements to create a foam layer. To finish, make smaller, softer M-shaped movements to remove the biggest air bubbles from the foam. Try to make the movement from your wrist; don’t use your full arm. Now you get a thick foam layer with small air bubbles on top. Enjoy your perfectly made cup of Matcha tea!

 

The amount of tea leaves vs. the amount of water 

The general rule is: the better quality of tea leaves, the more tea leaves and the less water should be used. Tea with more bitterness is prepared with fewer leaves and more water. Sweeter tea is prepared with more leaves and less water, in order to generate a strong and full flavour. Of course everyone has their own preference, but as a rule of thumb you can use these guidelines:

Gyokuro: 2g tea for 30ml water
Sencha, Genmaicha, Hojicha and Bancha: 5g tea for 15cl water

Water temperature

If you use boiling water for Sencha, it will release too many tannins and become too bitter. Depending on the kind of tea, these are good starting temperatures:
Gyokuro: 40-50°
Sencha: 60-70°
Genmaicha, Hojicha and Bancha: 90-100°

It’s best to boil the water first using a Cast Iron Nanbu-teki kettle. This makes the water softer, which is better suited to make tea.
Then put the boiling water in the teapot (without the tea leaves). After 1 minute pour the water into the cups, and pour out the excess water from the teapot. After 1 minute, put the water in an extra bowl and put the tea leaves in the teapot.

Then pour the water in the teapot.
This method accomplishes 3 things:
– cools down the water
– preheats the cups and teapot
– measures the right amount of water for the cups

Infusion time

As a rule of thumb, you can use these timings:

First infusion:
Gyokuro: 3 minutes
Sencha: 1 minute
Genmaicha, Hojicha, Bancha: 2 minutes

Second infusion:
Gyokuro: 3 minutes
Sencha: 30 seconds
Genmaicha, Hojicha, Bancha: 2 minutes

Third infusion:
Gyokuro: 3 minutes
Sencha, Genmaicha, Hojicha, Bancha and Hojicha are usually only infused 2 times.