What are the differences between Green Tea and Matcha?

Tokyo Food Kyoto 2019.09.03
We know that matcha is a variety of green tea, but how is it different from the ordinary green tea that we make from tea bags?

Green Tea VS Matcha

Today we are going to find out the difference between green tea and matcha! 
It is rather confusing as both actually are green tea. 
  • Shizuoka one of the most famous tea farming prefecture. Also the highest production rate in Japan.

Let us briefly explain what kinds of green teas there are in Japan.

Sencha【煎茶: せんちゃ】
The most common tea you will find in Japan. Around 60% of the green tea produced in Japan is this one. In Japan, tea, in general, are called Ocha 【お茶:おちゃ】. When Japanese people refer to the word Ocha, most of the time, they refer to this Sencha. So in this article, we will also be referring to this.

Bancha【番茶: ばんちゃ】
In Japan, just like black tea, there is the first flush. This Bancha is any tea that comes after the first flush,  The second lot or the third lot. Relatively low in caffeine content, so it is easier on the body.

Gyokuro【玉露: ぎょくろ】
The luxury range of green tea due to its complicated growing process. This tea contains less tannin, so it doesn't release the bitterness as much as other range of green tea.

Matcha【抹茶: まっちゃ】
The tea that takes the most effort to make. This tea in addition to the growing process of Gyokuro, goes through steaming and drying, then goes through a process where leaf veins and stems are manually removed, then ground into a fine powder form that we normally see.

There are many more kinds of green tea in Japan, but most of them are a derivative of any of the above.

So, in this article,  we will compare the Sencha and Matcha
  • As mentioned, Sencha is the most common kind of green tea, and you will see them in many places.
    Most of the time, they will come in the form of tea bags when you go to a hotel or a Ryokan.
    So most teas that you will drink in Japan will be the Sencha.
  • If you are using loose leaf tea, you will need a Japanese teapot called Kyusu【急須:きゅうす】 as you see in the picture above. Kyusu is the most common teapot that you will find in a Japanese home as well.
  • Matcha, on the other hand, uses a bowl designed specifically to brew the tea called Chawan【茶碗:ちゃわん】 (Matcha-Chawan to be specific). You will need a special whisk made of bamboo called Chasen 【茶筅:ちゃせん】as well.
    When you attend a Japanese tea ceremony, you will be given Matcha. The traditional tea ceremony takes a long time to master the art and the whole customs is referred to as the way of tea, Sado【茶道:さどう】.
    People like Sen no Rikyu 【千利休:せんのりきゅう】are a famous tea master in Japanese history.
  • What you do for matcha is to incorporate the air, water, and the powdered tea leaves using the Chasen in the Chawan.
    That's what produces that smoothness.
  • Enjoying a nice bowl of matcha with Japanese traditional confectionery is always a pleasant time.
  • Just a recap.
    So mainly, the difference between the two kinds of tea are
    - The growing process
    - The process that it goes through
    - The Way to brew and enjoy the tea

    Now you know the difference between Sencha and Matcha, and a few more types of Japanese teas.

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