If you have visited Japan, you probably noticed that almost all Japanese restaurants brought you free Japanese tea as soon as you took your seat. Having the tea may help you kill your time while waiting for your orders, but this is not the only reason for serving tea at a restaurant. Another and more genuine reason is that drinking tea at meal times is a Japanese custom. Therefore in Japan, people also drink tea at home for every meal. The only difference between restaurants and homes is that at home people usually do not drink tea before meal but just after the meal. Having tea after meal is good as the tea flushes the food pieces left in your mouth into your stomach as well as refreshing your mouth.

Any Japanese tea is good to have after the meal, but particularly sencha (high grade Japanese tea) is recommended as sencha contains a higher amount of the natural element called catechin than other Japanese tea types. Catechin is effective to kill germs from the food residue in your mouth, which may attack your teeth later. Having said that, if you eat western or Chinese types of dishes, genmaicha (Japanese tea with roasted rice) will be nice, since genmaicha is light and refreshing and it goes well with oily food. If you are seeking an alternative to coffee for light meals such as sandwich and pizza, hojicha (roasted green tea) is recommended, as hojicha has a similar aroma to roasted coffee.

As mentioned so far, Japanese tea is usually taken before and/or after meals, but people drink Japanese tea also during a particular meal. That is when you eat sushi. Sushi is a traditional Japanese dish that does not contain much liquid. Therefore if you eat sushi without any drink, you will find it not so comfortable to swallow. Of course you can have any kind of drink, but if you try Japanese tea with sushi, you may be surprised that the Japanese tea goes really well with sushi. Here again, sencha is the most suitable Japanese tea for sushi, thanks to catechin. Usually, at sushi shops, they provide konacha or funmatsucha. Both are from sencha and similar in their forms, but konacha is made of small fine grains of tea leaves while funmatsucha has a powdery form of sencha. Both konacha and funmatsucha are good with sushi because more catechin is extracted due to their fine forms. These two teas reduce the smell of fish and refresh your mouth.

Japanese tea is also nice with desserts. The tea is not just nice with Japanese desserts but also nice with western and Chinese desserts. Sencha, gyokuro and Match especially go well with the sweetness of the desserts because of their beautiful aroma and mild taste.

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