There’s no better remedy for the cold and windy autumn weather than a hot cup of Japanese tea. It can be tough to stay healthy during the colder months, but drinking plenty of tea not only helps you stay hydrated but can also boost your energy and give you a healthy dose of nutrients. Read on for our 5 must-have Japanese teas for the autumn season.
It should come as no surprise that the most celebrated variety of Japanese tea is on this list. Matcha is a finely ground green tea that is made using the highest quality sencha tea leaves. As you drink the whole ground leaf, you’ll receive all the nutritional benefits of matcha, like vitamin E, antioxidants and L-Theanine. You’ll also appreciate the caffeine kick that comes with a cup of matcha tea. Matcha is perfect for the autumn and winter seasons as it contains enough nutrients to keep you energised and healthy. Ryokucha and matcha are among the teas of choice for Otsukimi (お月見) or ‘moon viewing.’ festivals that honour the autumn moon. On the modern solar calendar, these celebrations take place in September and October.
2. Aki Bancha
Bancha refers to a common Japanese tea that is often made with a lower grade of sencha. Bancha teas can be harvested during the summer and autumn seasons. Aki bancha is from the autumn harvest as ‘aki’ (秋) means autumn in Japanese. Its leaves are usually a little bigger than regular green tea leaves and tend to have a lively green colour. Aki bancha tends to be a lot more fragrant than regular bancha and contains slightly more caffeine than bancha harvested in the summer. On the whole, bancha teas tend to contain less caffeine than other green teas – making them cheaper and milder. This tea is refreshing, has a strong character and goes very well with different types of food.
Another popular autumn tea is Hojicha which is produced by roasting bancha or kukicha. This results in a fresh tea with minimal bitterness. Unlike the majority of Japanese teas, Hojicha is reddish and/or sometimes brown in colour. It is also lower in caffeine, making it perfect as an after-dinner tea. For those autumn nights you want to curl up in bed with a good book and a steaming hot cup of tea – we recommend you pick Hojicha.
Genmaicha is a blend of bancha with well toasted brown rice (genmai). As you have probably noticed now, all the best autumn teas are made from or include bancha. So if you can, try to stick with bancha based teas for the autumn. The toasted brown rice is what gives genmaicha its nutty flavour. It is also low in caffeine.
Kombucha is tea made with water and Japanese dried kelp, or kombu. The kombu may be ground or sliced depending on which you prefer. It has a mild and slightly salty taste. Kombucha is also rich in minerals, making it the perfect tea for those suffering from the common cold or sore throats; these minerals hydrate the body and keep you nourished.
Our Japan Centre Panton Street tea room has a wide variety of Japanese teas as well as a matcha milling service. Just ask our team of trained store assistants. If you can’t make it to our flagship store, then you may want to check out our tea subscription service.
Let us know which Japanese teas you’ll be trying this autumn!