Ureshino has become somewhat of a hotspot for tea tourism in recent years. That is, in part, due to the region holding the title of “birthplace of Japanese tea”, and also because it is home to a special green tea production that’s been winning awards left and right over the last decades.
Sencha, gyokuro, matcha, hojicha, genmaicha... what do they all mean and what do they taste like? I often receive questions about various Japanese tea families, how they are made and what's their difference. Enough at least to justify putting up a quick reference guide as a form of general answer.
The nameshincha(from Japaneseshin- "new" andcha- "tea") does not refer to a specific tea or even a given style of tea. Rather, it designates teas made from the year's first harvests. Theshinchaappellation itself isn't regulated and its exact meaning often varies from one producer to another.
This article is the second of a two-part series on how to best describe the taste of tea. While I discussed in the first part how I like to present my teas and approach description in general, here I'll focus on tea vocabulary and how to build up your reference library.
Describing a tea's aromas can be quite challenging at times. From trying to illustrate a generic taste profile for someone who's unfamiliar with the beverage, to pinpointing every note and nuances developing over the course of a tasting session, words often seem to fall short at conveying the sensory experience a tea can produce. But they are nonetheless hardly avoidable if we're trying to make tea a shared experience.