Tea is a staple in Japanese culture, having been a prominent aspect of everyday life for over 1000 years, even having a ceremony dedicated to the making, serving, and consumption of it. In Japan tea is just as common in Japan as it is to have a fizzy drink or soda. Hot and cold tea is available in vending machines in Japan, as well as hot and cold coffee. A lot of the time the tea is unsweetened, retaining a lot of their health benefits.
Across Japan, there are a multitude of tea flavours and strains, varying in different regions. These are 3 common teas you’ll come across:
Matcha: This is made of green tea leaves that have been ground up into a powder and is mixed with hot water. Matcha powder is also used a lot in foods, commonly in desserts. It’s a lot more concentrated than green tea leaves, and as you drink the leaves it also offers more benefits. Matcha lowers cholesterol and blood sugar, boosts your metabolism, and is a good detox.
Sencha: This tea is a form of green tea when the leaves haven’t been ground up; the leaves are steamed before being dried. They are infused in hot water, creating a yellow-green colour. Sencha helps to reduce blood pressure, contains antioxidants that protect your body from common diseases, and can prevent more harmful diseases like coronary heart disease and osteoporosis.
Hōjicha : Another form of green tea, these tea leaves are roasted in porcelain beforehand, which changes the colour of the leaves. The most noticeable difference is that it’s a warm, red-brown colour. There is a low amount of caffeine due to the high heat they’re roasted in, so it’s usually served during or after dinner. Hōjicha improves your skin and oral health, can help relieve stress, and can protect you from heart disease.
My parents drink Japanese tea multiple times a day, as do the rest of my family, and families across Japan. The benefits of drinking them shows; the average life expectancy for a Japanese person is 85, and the current oldest person alive is a Japanese woman called Tanaka Kane, who is 116 years old! I want to include Japanese tea more into my daily life and be the next oldest person alive!