Frequently Asked Questions
General Tea Questions
All of our teas are imported from Japan. We have relationships with several tea farmers and are in regular discussions with them about their teas, current and what they are planning for future products. We are also involved with meetings with the Japanese Department of Agriculture who convene discussions between farmers, producers and the government on the Japanese tea business.
Our teas come from plantations in Yame region in Southern Japan, Kagomisha also in the South, Aichi and Shizuoka in Central Japan, Nara Prefecture and many other growing regions throughout Japan.
All tea comes from the same tea plant Camellia Sinesis. Sencha, Gyokuro, oolong, Pu'er, Matcha andd all the others come from one plant. There are different varieties and variations of those varieties (cultivars) and the way the tea is grown and harvested and processed make for the wide variety we have to enjoy. Please see our Types of Green Tea page for details or our discussion on the versatile tea plant to get the details.
Briefly, the difference between sencha and Matcha is that sencha is a loose-leaf green tea that is typiclaly grown in full sun. Matcha tea is a powdered green tea that is grown for some of its life under shade.
Each tea's product page contains notes for brewing the specific tea. Please refer to the produc page for precise details.
As a rule of thumb here are the general recommendations.
|Sencha||80-70°C (176-158°F)||30 seconds|
|Gyokuro||70-60°C (158-140°F)||90-150 seconds|
|Hojicha||100°C (212°F)||30 seconds|
|Matcha||80-70°C (176-158°F)||Preparation varies|
|Genmaicha||85°C (185°F)||30 seconds|
Please alsp see our how to brew section.
No, brewing Hojicha with high temperature does not make the tea taste strong. Hojicha is roasted at a higher temperature and the roasting process burns away the bitterness and caffeine. We have three strengths of Hojicha; “Hojicha Lightly Roasted Amber Premium”,” Hojicha Classic” and super mild “San-nen Bancha Roasted Tea” which is aged up to three years. View all Hojicha.
Matcha is made from shade-grown tea plants that are picked and processed in a time honored way to create a fine powder. The preparation starts several weeks before harvest. The plants are covered to avoid direct sunlight, this makes the color a more intense green and slows down growth. The shading also helps in the production of the amino acid theanine - the substance found in green tea is thought to provide the relaxing properties of Matcha. After harvesting the leaves have their stems and veins removed. The remaining high-quality leaves are then stone-ground into a fine powder. This fine, intensely green powder is called matcha.
Is green tea caffeinated? The short answer to this question is yes. Caffeine is a natural substance common in over 50 plants, it is a natural pesticide that plants use to resist pests and allow for solid growth. The amount of caffeine varies by the type of tea and how it is brewed. The following numbers are not precise because of the wide variety of growing conditions, plants, production methods and preparation methods used and are intended as a guide only. The most common Japanese tea is Sencha, which has between 15mg to 70mg per 8oz (240ml) cup. Bancha is the green tea with the lowest level of caffeine, with about 10mg per cup. Gyokuro, amongst the common teas, has the highest level of caffeine at about 60mg. The high number associated with Gyokuro is because of the shading process used while growing the tea plants; Matcha, another shaded tea, also has relatively high caffeine levels. For comparison, caffeine levels in an 8oz (240ml) cup of coffee range from 80mg to 200+ mg.
We have a comprehensive list of words and terms that one may come across when looking at discussions on Japanese green Tea. Please see our Tea Glossary for help with the sometimes confusing world of tea.
The first flush of a tea growing season is tea picked first usually in March-April. The second flush is the tea picked at a later time, usually June-July. The third flush is during Autumn, October-November. The flushes affect the tea flavor as the taste matures and changes during the growing cycle.
Storing un-opened packaged tea in the refrigerator is a good idea. Before use, however, please allow enough time for the tea to return to room temperature before you open the bag, this avoids temperature shocking the tea. A sudden change in temperature can cause condensation in the bag, potentially degrading the tea through moisture. We recommend, therefore, that you store your unopened tea package in the refrigerator but once it is opened, store it in an airtight container in a cool, dry, and dark location.
Yes all of our tea products are natural and are good for those on a Vegan diet. Our tea has not artifical flavors or additives.
In Japan, green tea is usually drunk as is with no additions of milk etc. Our green tea is of excellent quality, and most of our clients like it in the traditional way, neat, but by all means, do what works for you.
You can drink it with milk, sugar, honey, or lemon juice - there are no rules, and you drink it any way you like it. Green tea does make excellent smoothies.
We recently have seen an uptick in Matcha sales from people looking to make bubble tea or Boba. This tea drink is made with chewy tapioca balls and is very popular right now. If you like your matcha green tea with milk or you would like to try a Matcha latte, then please do.
Simple Matcha Latte Recipe.
3 tsp Matcha powder
1/3 cup of hot water at 175F/80C
3/4 cup of milk at 150F/65C
Place matcha into a bowl and stir with a bamboo whisk to remove any lumps, sifting the matcha beforehand is recommended.
Add water to matcha powder while stirring with the whisk vigorously; continue to whisk until well dissolved and silky in appearance.
Add milk that has been frothed; the milk can be frothed in a coffee maker frother or using a whisk/immersion blender
Stir and enjoy. For a sweeter flavor one can add a drop of honey, vanilla flavoring or any other sweet-tasting flavor you want just before the milk is added.
This is a very basic matcha Latte recipe - it's a good place to start your experimentation.
No, please do not use a tea ball infuser for Japanese tea. Japanese teas are tightly rolled and require plenty of space to allow the leaves to open so that flavor can be extracted. Some Japanese tea leaves are in fine powdery form and a Japanese tea pot is recommended; however, if not available a mesh strainer can be used.
The first time you pour hot water onto the tea leaves, the leaves are dry so be aware of the temperature and use the lowest temperature range for the type of tea. After pouring tea make sure to remove all excess water from the leaves. If tea leaves are left soaked in water, they keep steeping, ruining the second infusion. To brew a second time, use a higher temperature than the first infusion, as the tea leaves are damp and cold and already opened, so higher temperature and shorter brewing time is recommended.
Most Japanese tea is grown in open fields under the sun. Sencha is by far the most common Japanese tea and that is a full sun tea. Gyokuro and Matcha are both examples of teas that are covered during part of their growing cycle to be shaded from the sun. Gyokuro is a loose-leaf tea of high quality, the tea plants are shaded from the sun for about 21 days prior to harvest. Matcha tea is a powdered form of a tea called Tencha - Tencha is shaded in a similar way to Gyokuro but is seldom consumed as tea and is mostly used to produce matcha. Shaded teas tend to have a sweeter and more umami taste than their full sun siblings.
sencha green tea accounts for almost 70% of all tea produced in Japan. Tea sold in bottles from vending machines in Japan is very popular currently. some vending machines there can even heat the bottled tea up; tea served in bottles could be sencha, genmaicha, hojicha or many others.
Bubble tea is a sweet drink that has its origins in Tawain. It has become trendy all over the world.
The drink is made by combining milk, tea and tapioca balls (or pearls). These pearls are the boba, the tea pearl, although some believe the bubbles in bubble tea are the air bubbles caused by mixing the drink and do not refer to the tapioca balls. It often is flavored with fruit also. The tapioca balls have a chewy consistency in the finished drink.
The tea for boba can be any tea, but Sechna and Matcha are popular Japanese bases for the drink. Boba tea is here to stay we think and the tea pearls are a nice addition to the tea-drinking experience.
Simple Bubble Tea Recipe.
2 cups of green tea
2 tbsp honey
1 cup of coconut milk
4 oz/100ml of tapioca pearls.
1 cup of orange juice
All ingredients should be refrigerator-cold before final mixing. For example, after making the tea, add the honey, stir and then allow it to cool then refrigerate until cold.
Cook the tapioca according to the instructions on the packet. The cooking method varies a lot so please try and use the instructions on the packet or this site has some instructions for common brands – Hungryhuy. If the packet advises starting the process off in boiling water please do that, starting in cold will likely cause a big lump of goo.
Make the tea, tea bags are fine. We make it with Hojicha but most teas will work, Matcha, Sencha – even black tea!
Prepare the mango by blending the flesh of the fruit with coconut milk and orange juice. Almost any fruit will work and just needs to be liquidized.
After preparing and refrigerating, simply mix all the cold ingredients in a tall glass and serve with a straw wide enough to allow the pearls to be sucked up!
Green tea and black tea are made from the same plant. The variety and processing method of the tea varies, and that is why we have many different teas to enjoy - oolong, sencha, pu-erh and many others. Green tea is unoxidized tea; when the plant is picked, it starts to oxidize and turn dark, similar to an apple. The green tea process, usually steaming in Japan, leads to the tea remaining green. With black tea, the tea is allowed to oxidize and change color; additional roasting and other processing also typically occurs.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
Tea is a water-based solution so it does hydrate. Hydration is very important for good health. The National Council on Gaining lists 10 very good reasons to stay hydrated here
Green tea contains caffeine and caffeine is a diuretic which means it encourages urination. However, as the Mayo Clinic and many others point out drinking regular amounts of tea or any caffeinated drink does not cause fluid loss in excess of the volume consumed.
If a low in caffeine tea is preferred we recommend Bancha tea which has the lowest caffeine content of common Japanese green teas.
Tea is a refreshing drink that can be enjoyed by adults and children. Japanese green tea is typically served without added sugar, so it is a hydrating drink without the added sugar content of many soft drinks attractive to children. Japanese green tea contains L-Theanine and polyphenols, which are associated with good brain health and concentration.
Tea does contain caffeine, so only moderate amounts of tea should be consumed by children. It is also important to start with mild green teas, like sencha, diluted more than usual or Hojicha, which is especially low in caffeine. It is important to monitor the effect it has on the child.
Green tea tastes good and is a comforting, refreshing drink. We usually promote the flavor of our teas over the health benefits as we are not scientists, however there is much research to suggest green tea can benefit health by virtue of its constituent parts. The health-promoting effects of green tea are mainly attributed to its polyphenol content particularly flavanoids. The most effective of which is attributed to its most abundant catechin, (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG3). Please see National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health and other sites for more information.
Benifuuki green tea has been shown to help with allergies. In 1999 research found that O-methylated catechins that are prevalent in this variety were shown to ease sinus allergies.
We are a Canadian company and ship throughout the world. Our system works with various international carriers to determine the best value for delivery to international locations and the pricing is shown at the checlout.
We will contact you to verify your shipping information when we receive an order from an international address. Until the information is verified by the customer, we will hold the order. Any additional import duties, customs or brokerage fees are the responsibility of the customer.
We are a Canadian company and ship all of our products throughout Canada. We ship using Canada Post from Vancouver, BC. We offer free shipping on Canadian orders with a value over $85 USD. Our shipping rate charge for orders less than $85USD is based on the Canada Post rate that we determine at order time and is shown on the checkout page.
We ship to all US states. We offer free shipping to US orders with a value over $85 USD. Our flat rate shipping charge is $4.95 USD for orders less than $85 USD.
We ship using USPS and currently ship from Vancouver, BC in Canada.
The team is packed in sealed packs or in tins (for matcha)
We currently sell our tea at the two Honey Shoppe locations in the Lower Mainland, one on Main Street and the other in North Vancouver. Please see our contact us for the locations.
You do not have to create an account with us. You can supply your name and address during checkout and complete the process as a guest.
If you choose to create an account then our system will remember your details for example shipping address so it does not have to be re-entered each time. The system also allows you to see past purchasess so you can re-order or check what you have bought in the past.
This site is programmed by default to display product prices and shipping rates in US dollars.
Because we are a Canadian company, however, for the convenience of our Canadian customers, we offer the option of price display and charge in Canadian dollars. Simply use the currency switcher located at the top right/footer of the website to easily switch between USD and CAD.
We do sell some of our teas wholesale. We have organic matcha power bulk, organic loose leaf tea wholesale. green tea bags, and many other bulk tea wholesale.
We have Ceremonial Grade Matcha powder green tea.
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We do not sell green tea supplements. We recommend that tea be drunk in moderation and enjoyed. Tea is thought to have many health benefits, for example, there is research that green tea is good for helping with relaxation, lowering blood pressure and even some indication that green tea is good for diabetes and this can be seen in the number of green tea supplements currently on the market. We, however, do not stock supplements.