Green tea is Japan’s prized specialty. It plays an integral role in all levels of Japanese culture, from the highly formalized tea ceremony to on-street vendors and daily home use. Japanese tea producers use steam to stop oxidation of the leaves before they are cooled, shaped, and dried. For kabusecha and gyokuro teas, shading the plants for up to twenty days before harvest produces leaves with extra chlorophyll and amino acids. This results in tea with a deep green color, high antioxidant levels, and the unmistakably rich, savory flavor known as umami.