The word “ocha” means tea in Japanese. Similar to the Hindi word “chai,” which also means tea, the words ocha, and tea mean the same thing. In Japan, the tea is simply referred to as ocha, and the most common tea in Japan is sencha green tea.
The tea leaves come from the Camellia Sinensis plant, and the process of preparing the Ocha tea leaves for consumption involves less withering and oxidation time when compared to the process for black tea. The tea leaves are steamed and pan-fried, and then dried to make the tea leaf that is ready for consumption.
Subtle differences in flavor can occur based on how the tea is grown. If the tea leaves are exposed to more sunlight, this can cause the tea to taste more bitter due to the high tannin content. The quality of the tea depends on which part of the plant is used, and the top leaves are used for the highest quality tea.
Health Benefits of Ocha Tea
Ocha tea has gained recent popularity, in part, due to the understanding of all the health benefits that green tea has to offer. However, Ocha has been used by the Chinese for medicinal purposes for over 3,000 years. The antioxidants found in the tea can be beneficial to the brain and body.
L-theanine – L-theanine is an amino acid that has been shown to improve alertness to the mental state. Ocha tea contains enough L-theanine to have a positive effect on mental clarity by increasing activity to the alpha frequency band. A serving of Ocha tea contains about 6.5 mg of L-theanine.
Polyphenols are organic compounds found in plants. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, including tea leaves, contains high levels of polyphenols. There is evidence that polyphenols can help with the regulation of metabolism and body weight management.
The anti-oxidants in Ocha tea may provide protective effects against obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. These compounds may provide neuroprotective factors that may protect from aging brain conditions, such as Alzheimer’s.
Specifically, catechins are the type of polyphenol found in Ocha tea. The most common catechins in ocha are (-)-epigallocatechin (EGC), and (-)-epigallocatechin-3-gallate (EGCG). Catechins are known to neutralize reactive oxygen, which means they create an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect in the body.
Consumption of these compounds through Ocha tea delivers protective effects throughout the body. Because of this, Ocha tea can possibly help prevent and treat infections.
You might also be interested in our Labrador tea guide.
Does Ocha Tea Contain Caffeine?
Ocha tea, or green tea, does have caffeine. Of all the caffeinated teas, green tea is one of the mildest. An 8 oz. serving of ocha has about 28 mg of caffeine compared to black tea, which contains about 47 mg.
The same serving of home-brewed coffee is about 96 mg of caffeine, so ocha is the clear winner if you are trying to lower your caffeine intake during the day. It is not recommended to consume more than 400 mg of caffeine per day, so be mindful of the caffeine if you are drinking multiple servings of Ocha tea throughout the day.
How to Serve Ocha Tea
Ocha tea can be consumed alone or with food. Ocha makes an excellent start to the day when consumed with breakfast. It can be taken at tea time with light refreshments or enjoyed with dinner if caffeine sensitivity is not an issue.
Ocha tea is often consumed as a warm beverage, but it is also excellent when cooled and served over ice. Iced ocha can be infused with sugar, honey, or fresh fruits, such as citrus fruits, to enhance the flavor of the tea.
Steeping time should be considered when preparing Ocha tea. If steeped for a longer time, the tea will release more tannins, which may result in a more bitter flavor. If you do not enjoy a bitter tea, steep the leaves for less time. If your tea is too bitter, you can add sugar or milk to calm the bitterness.
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