Matcha is a finely ground tea powder made from Tencha leaves. It is prepared by whisking the tea powder with hot water in a ceramic bowl. Matcha is the primary form of tea used in traditional Japanese tea ceremonies. The sweet flavor of matcha is due to the amount of amino acids present in the tea and the higher the quality, the sweeter and deeper the flavor is.
Tencha is a shade cultivated tea and is harvested primarily for matcha production. The leaves are laid flat to dry instead of rolled like most other tea leaves and are dried completely away from sunlight or indoors. This helps to preserve its darker green color which aids in the production of amino acids.
Genmaicha, popularly known as “popcorn tea” is made with green tea and roasted brown rice. Sometimes referred to as the “people’s tea,” Japanese lore tells of farmers adding rice to stretch out precious tea supplies in order to keep the price down. There are also tales of genmaicha being born out of WWII tea rationing. This tea has a slight golden hue and has a crisp yet roasted finish.