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Japanese Teas

One of the top ten tea producing regions in the world, Japan's history with the plant is long and varied. Beginning in the Nara Period (710-794), the history of tea in Japan became closely tied to its cultural identity. It's roots began in religious circles, when monks brought back the leaf from China and it quickly became the drink of the elite classes, only available as a luxury item in very limited quantities.

It was during this time that the first mention of a formal ceremony dedicated to imbibing tea is found. It wasn't until the Muromachi Period (1333-1573) that tea became popular among all social classes. People began to gather together to celebrate the leaf in tea drinking parties. They would play games and show of their prized teawares. These tea parties became more and more refined over time, developing Zen-inspired components, and an emphasis on etiquette. It is in these gatherings that we get the origins of the tea ceremony we have today.

The most popular teas consumed within Japan are its own homegrown green teas. Japanese green teas are distinct, in that they are largely steamed rather than pan-fired like Chinese greens and are from the three main tea growing islands, including Honshu, Shikoku, and Kyushu.

Shizuoka

shincha genmaicha
26
Katahira's
shincha genmaicha
Toast, candied nuts, and light vegetal spring greens.
shincha gyokuro
29
Oota's
shincha gyokuro
Deeply sweet aroma of freshly buttered greens and seaweed.
shincha sencha
17
Katahira's
shincha sencha
Light layered cup with nutty umami and delicate apricot notes.
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