Here at LUPICIA Australia, we bring you the best selection of freshly picked Japanese green tea: including sencha, shincha, gyokuro, houjicha and matcha.
The tradition of drinking tea in Japan came originally from China and dates back to the Tang Dynasty around 1500 years ago, although it may actually date back further.
Most modern Japanese tea plantations can be traced back to the 12th century when it was largely cultivated by Buddhist monks, and interestingly, the Matcha form of green tea was the most popular.
Nowadays, Japanese green tea is grown all over the country except in the colder, northern areas.
Sencha traces its history back to the 17th century when it first became popular amongst the Japanese. Today it is the most popular form of green tea consumed by both Japanese and tea drinkers all over the world.
Sencha is produced from green tea bushes growing under full sunlight (different to Gyokuro, see below). The highest-most leaves and shoots are picked due to their young age which makes for a overall higher quality finished product.
As soon as the tea is picked, it is processed with steam to stop oxidation. The tea is then dried and the leaves are processed into their final "needle" like shape. Overall, the amount of processing is kept to a minimum which accounts for the fresh, green taste of sencha and helps to preserve the multitude of healthy properties and components.
We have a wide range of Japanese sencha green tea on offer here at LUPICIA. Feel free to browse or contact us if you have any questions.
The term shincha translates literally to "new tea" and refers specifically to the new harvest or first harvest of Japanese green tea. It is renowned for its fresh and subtle sweet flavour. The shincha harvest begins in the the warm southern region in early Spring and follows a northward path much the same as Japan's famous "sakura" cherry tree blossoms.
Shincha is very popular locally in Japan so it is hard to find good quality product internationally. Fortunately, here at LUPICIA, we specialise in all kinds of Japanese green tea and offer shincha (new harvest) tea every year. Sign up to our mailing list at the bottom of this page so we can keep you informed!
Renowned as the highest quality form of Japanese green tea, gyokuro is the most expensive and rare of all the green teas.
What sets gyokuro apart is the method used to cultivate it. Firstly, a shade cloth made from a special kind of traditional black fabric is used. This results in only around 10% of the sunlight being able to filter through. Sometimes, straw is added on top of the shade cloth to reduce the sunlight even more.
What does this "shade-grown" method achieve? Science has shown us that it causes a retention of chlorophyll which results in a reduction in bitter tannins. Furthermore, the shade-grown effect means gyokuro has higher levels of theanine and fructose which accounts for the naturally sweet and potent taste. Also, the leaves and shoots grow differently compared to sencha. They are more delicate, small and darker in colour which further represents its uniqueness and results in a more pronounched needle type shape.
Because gyokuro is so famous and rare, it can be difficult to find the authentic article. The same goes for all quality green teas. That's why it is always best to deal with a highly reputable company that sources direct from Japan. LUPICIA is a perfect example. In fact our parent company is Japanese and is of course based in Japan! Read more about us here.