The Languages of Tea – Japanese

by Adam Yusko

Avid tea drinkers and enthusiasts can find a plethora of  information on the Internet related to tea. There are countless tea forums, wiki sites and articles out there, many of which are rather international in their tea-coverage. If you’ve ever browsed or contributed to some of these forums, you may have seen a variety of foreign words being used.

Japanese SenchaSo, starting with Japanese terminology, I’ve decided to make a list of words you might come across :

  • Kyusu– a traditional Japanese teapot designed to brew green tea.
  • Houhin– a smaller brewing vessel that often looks more like a cup with a spout then a teapot. They are typically used for Gyokuro.
  • Gyokuro– a Japanese green tea that is shaded for a prolonged time before harvest to alter its taste.
  • Shincha– first harvest Sencha, a typical Japanese green tea.
  • Asamushi– a lightly steamed Sencha.
  • Fukamushi– a heavily (deep) steamed Sencha.
  • Matcha– a high grade green tea that is powdered.
  • Chawan– A tea bowl typically used in the preparation and consumption of Matcha.
  • Chasen– a traditional bamboo whisk used to make matcha.
  • Guinomi & Yunomi– Japanese tea cups of various sizes.

These are some words to get you started on the path to understanding Japanese tea. Japanese is actually easier to pronounce then Chinese as the words are pronounced very close to how they are spelled, with none of the tone inflections from Chinese. So these words can be pronounced correctly or close to correctly by sounding them out.

Now you can talk about Japanese teas and their brewing while using proper terms with confidence.

Visit Adam’s blog, The Sip Tip, for more on his passion for tea!

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