Frequently Asked Questions
General Tea Questions
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 strong 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 in growing conditions, plants, production method and preparation methods used and are intended as a guide only. The most common Japanese tea is Sencha and that 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 the shading process used whilst 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 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 with milk, sugar, honey, lemon juice - there are no rules and you drink it anyway 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 is a tea drink made with the addition of chewy tapioca balls and is very popular right now.
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.
Health Benefits of Green Tea
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.
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.
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.
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