Unlike Gyokuro and Sencha, the shape of tea in the picture is not like needles. This is Tencha, which is a material of Matcha powdered tea.

Tencha is cultivated under the shade made by a shelf covered with reeds. Reducing the amount of direct sunlight causes a lot of L-Theanine (umami ingredient) to be retained in the leaves." They are steamed and dried without rolling. Aged for a while, leaves, whose stems and veins are removed, are ground in a granite mill to make powdered tea known as Matcha.

Since the grinding process is done by tea makers nowadays, although it used to be done at home in the past, Tencha itself is not well-known even among Japanese.

Instead, listening the word “Tencha”, more Japanese will remember Chinese sweet tea, which is also called Tencha in Japanese. (The characters of Tencha for Matcha and for Chinese sweet tea are different, though.) The Chinese Tencha is known to have a polyphenol, which works as anti-allergy.

Suffering from hay fever, lots of Japanese attract Chinese Tencha in hopes that it might help alleviate a grave symptom.

When spring is coming, many Japanese are excited to see cherry blossoms, but at the same time, we have to overcome a lot of cedar pollen. Unfortunately, I am one of them.  Too bad.....