Green teas: What Makes a Chinese Tea Different from a Japanese Tea?

April 8, 2018
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Green teas... they are as many types as they are nuances. Some, almost transparent, evoke flowers; others taste like seaweed, fresh herbs or green vegetables.

There are more than 1,500 types of green teas, 80% of which come from China while others mostly originate from Japan. So what are the major differences between Chinese  and Japanese green teas?

China

In China, the most prized harvest usually takes place in March, before the Qing Ming festival ("Day of the Dead”) celebrated around April 5th. This traditional Chinese production requires a pan that is heated either over a wood fire or electrically. The leaves are then stirred constantly, by hand for about twenty minutes.

 

This dry heat, characteristic of the Chinese panning methods, liberates the aromatics, gives the tea a vegetal character, along with floral, grassy and/or grilled nut notes.

Japan

In Japan, the first tea harvest of the year is called shincha, ("new tea"), takes place at the end of April, depending on the weather. By steaming the leaves to for seconds, the Japanese production method creates a very different green tea from the Chinese version.

 

In addition to preserving the freshly cut grass and vegetal aspect, the steaming process gives green vegetables aromas, iodine and marine notes, typical to the Japanese terroir.

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