Japanese Green Tea production

An overview of the basic processing methods for various green teas

Tea Plant
Shade Grown Sun Grown
90%+ Shading for 2 weeks 40-50% for 1-2 weeks
Full Sun
Late April to Early May. First harvest is known as "Ichiban-cha" or "Shincha" - The highest quality tea that will be produced in the year.
Fresh Leaves Fresh Leaves

Steaming Steaming
Steaming at 95-100°C for 30-45 seconds, longer for "Fukamushi"
1st Drying Drying
1st Drying 1st Drying
48 minutes
Rolling Rolling Rolling
24 minutes @ room temperature
2nd Rolling/Drying 2nd Rolling/Drying 2nd Rolling/Drying
40 minutes
3rd Rolling/Drying 3rd Rolling/Drying Final Rolling/Drying
40 minutes
Final Drying Final Drying Final Drying
30 minutes, reduction of moisture content to 5%

Removal of stems & debris. For matcha, only the inner, fine part of the leaf is used

  Grinding     Roasting
End Product: Gyokuro Matcha Kabusecha Sencha Hojicha
Japanese green tea production keeps tea green by steaming tea leaves and parching in order to stop fermentation.After that, rough finishing is in the process of rubbing and drying. Finishing are in the process of selecting rough finished tea and drying as well as blending. Hand rubing production method

The purpose of rubbing tea is to force tea leaves in order that tea leaves organization and cell membranes are destroyed so that its ingredient will be obtained easily.

In late 19th century (Meiji period), many hands rubbing tea production methods are invented.
After that good points of many production methods were gathered and standardized to a tea production method ( 1953 method). Hence standard hand rubbing tea production method was determined.


Tea leaves are steamed in short time and cooled down rapidly (30seconds to 40 seconds.)

First rubbing

There are 3 process, Hafurui (selection tea leaves), Kaitenntumi (turning rubbing), Tamatoki ( untied tea lumps)

In the process of Hafurui, steamed tea leaves are sifted out equally and make tea leaves water 80%. (30 minutes to 50 minutes).
In the process of Tamatoki.tea lumps made from rubbing are untied.

In the process of Kaitentsumi, tea leaves are forced in order that water in tea leaves evaporated. In the beginning it is called Keikaiten (light turning).In the end of Kaitentsumi, it is called Jukaiten (heavy turning).

Waters in tea leaves are reduced to 50% (40minutes to 50 minutes).
In the process of Tamatoki.tea lumps made from rubbing are untied.
First processing

After Tamatoki is done, tea leaves are out from tea hearth and cooled down rapidly as well as equalized water in tea leaves in order to do finishing rubbing easily.
In the process of Dengurimomi, tea leaves are rubbed to shaped needle like shape. (10 minutes to 20 minutes.)
In the process of Kokuri, tea leaves are shaped further and are polished to gloss. (10 minutes to 20 minutes).

Tea leaves are sprinkled and turned over few times as well as dried. Water of tea leaves reduced until 40% in this process. (30 minutes to 40 minutes).

There are many hand rubbing production methods such as Utita-ryu, Ogasamomikiri-ryu, Kouzu-ryu,Kaisin-ryu, Kaitou-ryu, Kawakami-ryu, Kyoukai ryu, Seito-ryu, Seicho-tyu, Kurakai-ryu, Tamuta-ryu.


Machine rubing tea production method

Steaming machine

Steaming tea leaves is first process of tea production, therefore, steaming determined tea quality.

This machine steamed in a short time in order not to make destroyed tea leaves because tea leaves needs to undestroyed and keeps green by losing oxidization ferment effect in after rubbing process. (30minutes)

Cooling machine

Steamed tea leaves are cooled as well as eliminate water of tea surface.

Rough rubing machine

Rough rubbing machine rubs tea leaves by heating steamed tea leaves and force in order to make tea leaves soft as well as reduced water of tea leaves 50%. (45 minutes)
Second rubing machine

Second rubbing machine gatheres tea leaves and force gradually and turn in order that tea leaves water equally spreaded and make tea leaves soft as well as destroyed tea leaves organization. (20 minutes).
Middle rubing machine

Tea leaves are dried by heat wind and shaped to twisted and keep water of tea leaves surface as well as evaporate tea leaves water equally and be in order quality and shape. (40 minutes)
Redrying machine

Tea leaves are dried by heat wind and shaped.

Final rubing machine

Tea leaves after middle rubbing machine or redrying machine are heated indirectly and rubbed in order to shaped to Sencha tea. Waters of tea leaves are reduced to 75%.
(40 minutes)
Drying machine

Water of tea leaves after final rubbing is 11%-14%, therefore, Water of tea leaves needs to be reduced 4%-5% in order to preservation. In this process, Tea aroma and taste are created by heating.

Judgemant of Japanese green tea

All people engaged in Japanese green tea business judged Japanese green tea by 4 criteria, appearance, aroma, color, taste.

There are two ways of judgment, judgment by sense and scientific judgment by machine. Usually, we judge Japanese green tea by sense. In judging appearance, 150g of Japanese green teas are put on Judgment tray.

In judging aroma, color, taste, two 3g of Japanese green teas are put each tea cup of balances.

Aroma judged by scooping tea and be close to nose. Taste is judged by scooping tea liquid and tasted on tongue and after be out of mouth not drank.


Shape and gloss are judged in appearance. Presence or equality of scale, tight are judged. In judging gloss, nutrition of material tea leaves, production, plucking time are judged.


Preferable aroma is refreshed aroma that combined of flowery aroma, fruity aroma, medical aroma, resinous aroma, and heated aroma.
Preferable Senate tea aromas are refreshed new leaves aroma, light heated aroma, light flowery aroma.


Color is judged by that tea leaves are eliminated and judged quickly before temperature will be down. Tea leaves material, handling tea leaves, processing, changing quality are judged.


Taste is important quality of Japanese green tea. Taste, refreshes, density, sweetness, astringent and bitterness are judged.