Best Japanese Teas For Beginners

Are you interested in exploring the world of Japanese green tea but don’t know where to start? In this article, we’re going to cover 5 different beginner teas you might enjoy if you’re just starting to dive into the world of loose leaf green tea. What we’re looking for here is teas that most first time tea drinkers seem to enjoy. 

The first tea on our list is Genmaicha. This is a tea made by combining toasted rice with tea leaves, to produce a unique flavor profile. Most people like this tea the first time they try it, and it’s generally a difficult tea to mess up. It’s one of the more affordable Japanese green teas, which is perfect for new tea buyers, and it is not quite as sensitive to brewing temperature. The tea is made from older, more mature leaves, which makes it less expensive, but also more tolerant of warmer water. This tea is very low in caffeine and it has a pleasant cereal note, that is quite calming both in the morning or in the evening.

The next tea we will be discussing is called Hojicha. This is a roasted green tea, made by turning the tea leaves in a hot pan, right after they have been fully dried. While most Japanese green teas are known for their distinct sweet vegetable, or even slightly grassy flavor profiles, the roasting process converts these tasting notes into coffee, caramel or chocolate. This makes the tea ideal for a cold afternoon, but it can also be prepared as a refreshing cold brew on a warm day. The caffeine content of this tea is on the lower end for two reasons. The first reason is that this tea tends to be made from older tea leaves, which also makes it less expensive. The second reason is that the high heat used in the roasting process, can slightly bring down the caffeine content of the leaves. Just like the genmaicha, this tea can also be prepared at a warmer temperature. The versatility of this tea makes it a great tea for beginners, but its also a flavor profile a lot of first time tea drinkers are looking for. While most Japanese green teas are fresh and invigorating, hojicha is warm and calming, which is what a lot of beginners are looking for in a cup of tea. 

Next we come to a tea called Karigane. Karigane is a great introduction to some of these sweet and savory flavors you might see in many Japanese green tea. A tea like gyokuro can be great for more seasoned tea drinkers, but the powerful umami flavor may be a bit overwhelming to those who haven’t had much experience with Japanese green tea. Karigane on the other hand is much more mild. It’s made by combining the stems and leaves of the plant used to make Gyokuro. You get a little hint of this rich savory flavor, but it’s well balanced by these stems. The tea works great as a cold brew, and is also less expensive than its counterpart. Once you begin to get used to the flavor of the Karigane, you can then move up to Gyokuro later, but it serves as a good stepping stone in the world of premium Japanese green tea.

Another great tea to pick up is the latte grade matcha. While a plain bowl of matcha is certainly an acquired taste, matcha lattes have become commonplace all around the world. This is a good gateway tea to get you accustomed to all the flavors matcha has to offer, without being overpowered by this slightly grassy flavor. Just mix in a teaspoon or two of this powder in with some oat milk or coconut milk, stir it up and enjoy. You may find that this is easier than making a morning cup of coffee, and the feeling you get from it should be much more balanced. If you want to level up to drinking bowls of matcha without added milk or sugar, you can go for the ceremonial grade matcha. This is meant to be naturally sweet, and is much more expensive because of all the added steps in the production process. For now, just stick to the matcha lattes and see how you like them! You can always start here and add a little less milk each time.

Finally we come to fukamushi or deep steamed teas. Like genmaicha and hojicha, this was another great invention of the 20th century. By steaming the tea leaves for an extra few seconds, a producer can actually make the flavor of a tea smoother. The longer steaming process breaks down the cell membranes of the leaf, allowing more of it to flow into the cup. This is why you get these deep jade green glasses of fukamushi tea. The tea is much cloudier as well, producing a richer flavor and less bitterness. A lot of fukamushi teas like the fukamushi Yamaha work great as cold brews. The cold water brings out some of their sweeter and more fruity flavor profiles, making this a refreshing drink for a hot day. 

If you’re new to the world of tea, you don’t need to invest in fancy brewing equipment, just make sure you have some great teas to enjoy. You can prepare these loose leaf teas in something as simple as a metal strainer, and then upgrade from there. If you’re interested in a the clay Kyusu teapot, we are offering free teapots on our website with certain orders. Be sure to check out for more info.

Which of these teas are you most excited to try? Feel free to leave a comment below, and as always let us know if you have any questions throughout your tea journey. Thank you all so much for reading, we’ll see you next time.