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Glossary of Tea Terms

Please note: This glossary of tea terms is a work in progress and we’ll be adding to it regularly!

Aracha is an unfinished green tea that means “rough tea”. It is a freshly picked, steamed (to deactivate the PPO enzyme that would otherwise brown the leaves), dried and rolled tea that is usually meant to be further sorted and processed. It can be made into tea as is, however, and contains more nutrients than more refined teas.

Gokou Cultivar: Gokou is a cultivar that means “halo”. It is grown primarily in the Kyoto prefecture in Japan and is harvested in the spring, just after Yabukita. It has a sweet, milky aroma, a smooth, sweet taste and a deep green colour.

Okumidori Cultivar: Okumidori was registered as a cultivar in 1974. Okumidori translates to “late green” because it sprouts about a week after Yabukita. It originated in the Shizuoka Prefecture, but now is primarily grown in the Kyoto Prefecture. It has a bright, balanced taste, a vibrant colour and can be used for either sencha or matcha.

Samidori Cultivar: A cultivar grown primarily in the Kyoto region of Japan. “Sa” means early and “midori” means green. Samidori is frost resistant and is harvested early. It has a velvety, soft taste when grown as maccha.

Sencha is a Japanese green tea that was invented by Nagatani Sōen in 1978. “Sen” means infused, and “cha” means tea. It is made by utilizing “aracha” tea leaves that are generally blended, sorted, cut and dried to 3% or 4% residual moisture. It is the most widely consumed tea in Japan. 

Yabukita Cultivar: Yabukita is a cultivar that was first developed in 1908 in Shizuoka, Japan and was officially registered in 1954. Yabukita is frost resistant and is harvested in the spring. It is prized for its strong flavour and enjoys enormous popularity in Japan.