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Home made Japanese tea

To begin, ready the hot plate by heating to 250° C. Before use, it is important to wash the plate thoroughly to remove any grease or dirt that could cause an odor.


Tea-making procedures can be divided into (1) the process of treating the cells of the buds with high heat, (2) the process of drying while rolling, and (3) the final drying process.


The technical term of the process of treating with high heat is called "oxidase deactivation". This step of inactivates an oxidase contained in the cells of the buds by application of heat. Ryokucha green tea is a green tea because oxidase in the buds is deactivated by applying heat before the buds can become damaged. Oolong tea is produced by withering the picked buds, then deactivating the oxidase with heat when the buds begin to turn slightly brown and roll while drying. Black tea is oxidized until the buds turn completely brown, then dried.

Let’s try to make with a hot plate.


1. Oxidase deactivation

First, place the prepared buds on a hot plate pre-heated to 250° C and close the lid. The buds will emit a chirping sound as they are heated, while the moisture of the within the buds  steamed under the lid. After 30 seconds, open the lid, stir the buds with chopsticks, then close the lid and continue teaming. Repeat several times. Deactivation of the oxidase is completed when the buds are withered and the raw smell disappears and the scent becomes fresh.


2. Rolling (Rubbing) using hot plate  お茶を揉んでいる様子

Rolling (Rubbing) tea

Take the buds from the hot plate after the deactivation of the oxidase is finished and place on a clean table or board. When the temperature drops down low enough to handle with bare hands, rub the buds strongly with both hands. While you continue to rub the moisture will seep out of the buds and the buds will become moist.

To begin the drying process, transfer the moistened buds back to the hot plate. With the temperature of the hot plate set to 100° to 150° C. With the hot plate uncovered, heat the buds while stirring so that the heat is applied evenly to all the whole buds. When the buds become hot, remove again and roll and rub to let the moisture from inside the buds escape and roll and rub well until all the buds are moist. When drying while rolling and rubbing, if the temperature is too high, the surface of the buds will dry quickly and the tea would be too powdery.


This procedure is repeated several times, but no more than ten times. If left on the hot plate for too long, only the surface of the buds dries and the buds become dry. When rolled and rubbed, the tissue of the buds breaks and become flaky and powdery. The trick is to dry the buds while they remain evenly moist. When returning the rubbed buds to the hot plate, do not return any powdered portion to the hot plate. If powder appears in the hot plate, it burns and gives a strong aroma like roasted tea. However, do not throw away the powder because it contains plenty of savory bud cores. As drying of the buds progresses, the rubbed buds  will clump into a lump and can be checked by squeezing firmly with both hands. You will know the buds are ready for the final trying step if a lump comes loose when you release the pressure of your hands.


3. Drying

Drying is done by lowering the temperature of the hot plate to about 100° C, spreading tea evenly on the plate, and incorporating any previously separated powder, and stirring occasionally for about 20 minutes.

Now that it is finished put it in a teapot and enjoy! Tea made on a hot plate becomes “Kamairi” (roasted in a kettle), as the buds were roasted/pan-fried on a heated plate. Kamairi is a green tea similar to fragrant Chinese green tea.

If you would like to make easy-to-make ordinary steamed green tea, Sencha, rather than the roasted/pan-fried type, use a microwave instead of a hot plate.

The recipe to make Sencha is easy. First, put the buds in a plastic bag and heat in a microwave for several minutes. The inside of the bag will become steamed with moisture from the buds. Take the buds out of the bag. Rub well with both hands, spread on a plate, and put back into the microwave for about 1 minute. Take out and roll/rub well. This procedure is to be repeated several to ten times. Drying is also done in the microwave. Be careful as it will burn if it becomes too dry.

The taste is special when you make your own tea, both roasted and steamed. Please try and enjoy.