Loving tea is a writer cliché of which I am guilty. There’s nothing like getting up to make a cup of tea when fleeing a seemingly unfixable sentence. In particular, I drink a lot of Japanese tea. I end up describing the difference between the different types fairly frequently, so I thought I’d define a few common ones here.

I end up describing the difference between the different types fairly frequently, so I thought I’d define a few common ones here.tea

Matcha (抹) is powdered green tea. This is the tea that appears in the tea ceremony. It is also the tea used to make green tea baked goods, ice cream, macaron, etc. In its unsweetened form it is slightly bitter, but very invigorating.

Sencha (煎茶) Most of the time when you have something described as “green tea”—it’s Sencha. The leaves and the tea produced are green.

Genmaicha (玄米茶) is green tea combined with toasted rice. The flavour is similar to sencha but with a nutty overtone.

Hōjicha (ほうじ茶) is made by roasting the tea leaves. When you brew the tea, it is brown and tastes lovely and toasty. It has less caffeine than matcha or sencha.

Sobacha (そば茶) is buckwheat tea. It contains no tea leaves at all. This is a very nutty flavoured tea. It is wonderful warm in winter or chilled in summer.

(When I get time, I’ll try to write to you about Kyobancha, mugicha, and jasmine tea.)

Which is your favourite?



5 comments on “Tea

  1. Genmaicha in the winter. It always feels like I’ve gathered the elements of it myself. I don’t know how it does that.
    Hojicha, cold, in the summer.

  2. I have after dabbling around taken to drinking almost only a deep-steamed sencha (fukamushi) green tea from very south in Japan, called Kagoshima Sae Midori (I THINK Sae Midori is the breed of tea; Kagoshima is the province or town…). Brews only for a few seconds, three or four times. The liquor, as they call it, is the color of wet mown grass mulch you have to scrape off the blades of your hand mower. Or, perhaps more romantically, emeralds.

    That wet grass and mower are romantic enough for me however. W/e, shit’s like crack. Meanwhile I’ma get your book. Looks like my kind of novel. Of course one never knows until one encounters the voice.

    (I’m a Columbia alum myself, AB and MFA. Thus I proceed with full confidence in you….)

    Vince P

    • I love your description of wet grass. I do hope you enjoy the book. (And that you enjoyed Columbia. 😊 )

      • I DID enjoy Columbia, though I don’t know as I’d enjoy it now. I taught there in 2004 after 17 years away and I found the price, the debt, had rather poisoned the air. There was a great deal of student resentment at that time, and faculty had been transformed from figures whom one might aspire to know or even be, to people who’d better provide $50,000 worth of wisdom. Money. Always at the center of the American story.

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