The Ultimate Guide to Konacha 
No, it's not Matcha or any other powdered tea! It's Konacha. We'll go over everything you need to know about Konacha in this comprehensive guide.
This article was last modified June 5th, 2022. by Yuki
Introduction - What is it Konacha?
the powdery state of Konacha
Konacha is type of Japanese green tea which is commonly served in sushi restaurants or even unagi restaurants in Japan.
Yes, some of this has to do with the relatively cheap price tag of the tea – but there’s actually more to the reason why these restaurants specifically serve Konacha.
Konacha is characterized by a very strong and thick taste, a powerful zing of astringency, and a dark green tea colour.
This strong astringency is more powerful than in Sencha, and is useful in washing out the raw fish taste that remains in the mouth after eating sushi. Also, the high levels of Catechin the tea possesses is said to be effective in killing any bacteria in the raw fish to reduce the risk of food poisoning. These characteristics coupled with the fact that it is relatively cheap and extremely quick to prepare, it makes a perfect Japanese green tea choice for these restaurants.
As you can see from the picture, Konacha don’t look like they are leaves. It’s actually more of a powder form. The Japanese term “Konacha” directly translates to “powder tea”, which is basically how this tea looks and what the tea is.
This is how it is written in Japanese.
Konacha is a tea that is made from the collection of the small bits and pieces of tea leaves which have crumbled and become detached during process of making Sencha or Gyokuro.
This may look like it’s similar to Matcha, Funmatsu-Ryokucha, or other types of “powdered” tea. However, Konacha is very different from these.
Powdered tea takes tea leaves and grinds it to make the powder form.
For Matcha’s case, it will use a type of crude tea called Tencha, and grind it in a stone mill. Konacha does not go through a grinding process like Matcha. Since it is just a collection of small parts of leaves, unlike powdered tea, Konacha will not completely dissolve in water, and the tea leaf will remain after use.
However, there is no difference between the quality of leaves used for Sencha or Gyokuro. It’s just the pieces broken off of these leaves. Since the quality of leaves used for Sencha and Gyokuro are typically very high, Konacha is actually a pretty good value for money tea!
The Taste of Konacha
While the leaves used for Konacha are the same as Sencha or Gyokuro (depending on what type of Konacha it is), it doesn’t mean that the taste will be exactly the same. Since Konacha are bits and pieces of the leaves, it makes the nutrients of the tea easily extracted as compared to tea that comes in a normal leaf form.
The leaves that Sencha and Gyokuro use are high-grade leaves with rich nutrients in the first place. Konacha, being in a powder form that makes the nutrients easily extracted, allows for the taste of the tea to seep immediately into the tea. This is why Konacha is characterized by a very strong and thick in taste and astringency.
One thing to note is the astringency level of the Konacha. It is perhaps the strongest out of the infused Japanese tea. Whether it to refresh your mouth after eating, or waking yourself up, if you want a strong “zing” of the pleasurable astringency characterized in Japanese green tea, Konacha is something you should definitely try.
Since the Konacha uses the same leaves as Sencha or Gyokuro, the leaves contain the health benefits that all Japanese Green tea has. The difference comes when you brew the tea.
The nutrients in the Konacha are easily extracted into the tea. This will cause the tea to have even higher levels of nutrients. Furthermore, the small particles of the Konacha will float into the tea, and will be directly consumed, allowing for nutrients that are not easily seeped into the tea to be absorbed by the body as well.
These are nutrients such as dietary fiber, chlorophyll (which is effective to maintain the intestinal environment), vitamin E, beta-carotene (which is a type of an anti-oxidant), and other types of minerals such as copper, zinc and manganese.
How Best to Enjoy?
Leaves (roughly in teaspoons)
Brewing time (Seconds)
Instructions on how to brew Konacha
Water Temperature and Infusion Time
Since the tea is broken down to such small pieces, it really doesn’t require too long to infuse. If you’re using a Kyusu (or a teapot), the infusion time can be very brief. The recommendation is 30 seconds using boiling water directly from the pot.
For this we recommend you use a Kyusu for Fukamushi-Sencha instead of a Sencha. This is because the holes of the strainer for the Fukamushi-Sencha teapots are smaller.
As a matter of fact, you don’t even need a Kyusu to prepare Konacha. If you have a tea strainer, put the Konacha in the strainer and run boiling water through. You’ll already have your Konacha prepared.
Konacha is also commonly used in teabags as the bits of the tea seeps out easily.
The 2nd Infusion
The 2nd infusion is not too recommended for Konacha. As the 1st infusion will allow most nutrients to seep out, not too much taste will be left. Therefore, try to enjoy the 1st infusion to the max.
Soft water with hardness of between 30 to 80 is said to be the best for extracting the taste and aroma of green tea. The tap water in Singapore is "moderately soft", which makes it perfect for Japanese Tea and Konacha as well. Make sure you boil before you use.
Related Tea and Terminology
The Konacha which is produced from the small particles of Gyokuro leaves are called Gyokuro-Konacha. This is a high-grade Konacha which can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. It can be prepared like a normal Konacha to provide the thick strong taste, or it can also be prepared with lower-temperature water to enjoy a thick Umami taste.
The small particles of the Sencha or Gyokuro that are even smaller than the ones used for Konacha is called Doroko. This is commonly used in teabags.
Funmatsu-cha or Matcha
As mentioned in the intro, the Konacha is a tea that gets often confused with the likes of Funmatsu-cha or Matcha.
Funmatsu-cha and Matcha completely dissolve in the water, while the Konacha is still considered a loose leaf tea, and you must infuse the tea using a teapot in order to drink.
How is it made? (Manufacturing methods)
How is the Konacha differentiated from the other parts of the tea?
During the manufacturing of Aracha or crude tea, the tea will be grouped together into 5-6 different bunches depending on the size of the leaves. This is to build consistancy in the water content among the leaves before they go into the firing process. This firing process is very delicate and important as it's one of they key deciding factors of the taste of the tea.
The Honcha or the Shiage-cha (or the normal leaves that become Sencha or Gyokuro) is separated from the Demono, or the non-leaves components.
Demono consists of components such as Konacha, Doroko, and Kukicha, and they are all separated out.
To separate out Konacha a huge net – something like a huge tea strainer - is used to filter out the small pieces from the actual leaves. It can also be done by using a fan to blow away the particles apart from the main tea.
An extremely fine net will be used to filter out the really small particles to produce the Doroko. The filter used for Konacha is also extremely fine – but not as fine as the one used for Doroko.
As you can see in the diagram above, the Konacha is actually very rare. Roughly only 5% of the tea will become Konacha and Mecha (bud tea), while another 5% will become Kukicha (twig tea).
The majority of the tea - 90% of it - will become the Honcha or the Shiagecha.
If you need a strong punch of astringency – then maybe Konacha is the tea you’d like the most.
As mentioned above, it’s a great fit for when you eat sushi or sashimi. However, not only that, it can be used to wash off any other oily or greasy food such as Chinese food.
I personally like to drink it first thing in the morning – to wake my body up – or before work.
When I infuse Konacha, there are too much particles in the tea.
A: It's true that Konacha won't taste as nice if too much of the tea particles end up inside the tea. The better you are able to strain, the better taste the Konacha will be.
If you're using a teapot meant for the normal Sencha, the holes of the strainer might be too large for the Konacha. There are teapots that specialize in brewing Fukamushi-sencha which will have much smaller holes. This is the type of teapot which would work well for Konacha.
Even if you don't have the Fukamushi-sencha teapot, you can use an additional tea strainer and strain the tea as you pour. I actually recommend you do this for all types of Japanese tea, as it helps remove all the bits of leaves out of the tea.
Yuki is the Editor-in-Chief AND Community Manager at Tealife. He bleeds Japanese Tea and loves being a part of the Japanese Tea journey of others. Writes, does events, conducts tasting sessions, drinks, drinks and drinks tea! Easily accessible - hit him up on whatsapp (+65) 85882980.