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The Complete Guide to Mecha - (Bud tea) [2022]

Is it a Konacha? Nope, take a closer look. It's a tea made from the bud of the leaves!

This article was last modified May 26th, 2022. by Yuki

Japanese Mecha (bud tea) leaves

First things first. I must start off by admitting that - No, we don't carry this tea in our shop at the moment!

We pride ourselves in trying to cover as many types of Japanese tea as we can - so this shows how rare this one is.

In this article, let's dive into the details of Mecha, or the bud tea!

Introduction - What is Mecha?

Mecha is a rare type of Japanese green tea which is made from collecting only the buds of the tea leaves. “Me” (pronounced more like “Meh”) means “buds” in Japanese, so Mecha directly translates to “bud tea”.

In typical Japanese fashion, this tea also goes by different names (making it all so complicated!)

It's also called "Jinko". The Japanese articles are as follows.

Japanese Bud Tea (Mecha)

The buds are divided out from the leaves during the manufacturing process of Sencha or Gyokuro tea.

Sencha and Gyokuro are high-quality green tea, and therefore the leaves which are used for Mecha are also ones of high-quality tea. (The one you see in the picture above is actually a bud-tea from the Gyokuro.)

Majority of the time they would be leaves coming from either the first or second harvesting seasons of the year – which is when the leaves have the most nutrients. (This means the leaves are usually categorized as an Ichibancha or a Nibancha)

Since the buds are young leaves which have yet to grow, the Mecha boasts an extremely concentrated umami taste. The color and aroma of the tea are strong and defined as well. It has many suitable uses, but for one, it is a good “wake-up” tea to replace the morning coffee.

Despite these great attributes as a tea, Mecha is considered a relatively cheap tea because it is seen as a byproduct of Sencha or Gyokuro. This makes this an extremely attractive Japanese Green tea choice.

You may have noticed that the tea does look like Konacha. Mecha does look like a pile of tiny particles of tea, just like Konacha does.

As a matter of fact, some tea shopt categorize Mecha as a special type of Konacha. However, the difference is that the Mecha will have the small rounded tips of the buds of the young leaves.

Japanese Bud Tea (Mecha) in a spon

The taste of Mecha

The younger leaves of the tea trees tend to have a very strong concentration of nutrients, especially the astringent Catechin component. Young leaves also carry a lot of Theanine, which is responsible for the umami taste as well.

Therefore, Mecha has a fantastic double punch of astringency and umami.

The quality of the Mecha can be somewhat determined by how the leaves appear.

The fresh buds with high water content will tend to round up. Therefore, buds with rounded tips are the sign of a high-quality, flavorful Mecha.

Mecha that are made from Gyokuro leaves will have the distinct aroma – the Ooika – as well. Ooika is a seaweed-like smell that is produced during the cultivation process of Gyokuro. Gyokuro leaves are shaded from the sun using reed and hay, producing this unique scent.

Health Benefits

The Mecha is loaded with nutrients, even more than most other types of Japanese green tea. The Catechin and Theanine which contains many health benefits are highly concentrated in the younger leaves of the tea tree. They are also significantly higher in leaves that are taken from the first or second harvesting session – which is also the case for Mecha.

Perhaps the biggest benefit of Japanese green tea is that it boosts the immune system. Catechin is an extremely powerful antioxidant and is extremely important in your body’s battle against things such as viruses and age. This is why the Japanese green tea is an extremely important drink for everyone.

There’s a long list of health benefits which Mecha, along with other Japanese green tea provide. You can read about the 7 key health benefits here.

On the other hand, you need to be careful as Mecha contains high levels of caffeine as well. Caffeine, like Catechin, is also found more abundantly in the younger leaves of the tea tree. You may want to make sure you don’t drink too much at once.

Related Names


Sometimes, Mecha which are made from Gyokuro leaves are branded as Gyokuro-Mecha. This is extremely rare, as Gyokuro is difficult to produce in volume in the first place, and then only a few percent of the Gyokuro will end up being Mecha. It has the distinct seaweed like aroma, the “Ooika” that is characterized in Gyokuro.

How Best to Enjoy?

Mecha High-grade Mecha


2 servings

2 servings

Water (ml)

160 ml

160 ml

Leaves (g)



Leaves (roughly in teaspoons)

2 tsp

2 tsp

Temperature (Celsius)

Boiling water

70-80 degrees Celsius

Brewing time (Seconds)

40 seconds

60 seconds

The leaves of Mecha are round and small, so it’s easy to brew. It doesn’t take too long to seep. Use boiling water and infuse for about 40 seconds. For high grade Mecha, consider reducing the temperature to 70 or 80 degrees Celsius, and taking a longer time – 60 seconds - to seep. Make it shorter if the taste becomes too strong.

While only up to two infusions is suitable for Sencha, Mecha can be infused up to three or four times, or even more! This is because it takes time for the rounded leaves to open and spread. It will continue to release tastes.

How is it Made? (Manufacturing Method)

Like Kukicha or Konacha, Mecha is considered a byproduct extracted during the Aracha manufacturing process.

During the manufacturing of the Sencha or the Gyokuro tea, the Aracha, or the crude tea leaves, go through a process of seaming, rolling, and then drying.

Once the leaves are dried to a certain level of water content, now they are prepared for one of the most important steps in determining the taste of the tea - the firing process.

In order to control the proper levels of heat, different size leaves particles will be separated into different groups. Typically this will be 5-6 groups.

The groups which consist of tea particles (Konacha), tea twigs and ebs (Kukicha), or buds (Mecha), are categorized as "Demono". These are considered by-products of the tea.

The gropus which consist of the main part of the leaves are named as "Honcha" or "Shiagecha". This is what becomes the Sencha or the Gyokuro.

The amount of Honcha produced in comparison to Demono

The amount of Honcha produced in comparison to Demono

As you can see from the diagram above, the supply of Mecha is extremely scarce – as only a very small percent can be produced from the leaves.

The buds that are separated from the leaves are not only the new buds, but also more of the buds that were not able to grow and develop into leaves.


Since only a few percent of Mecha can be produced from Sencha or Gyokuro, you may not have too much opportunity to try this tea. However, if you have a chance, the strong taste and aroma is something you should try.

Author Yuki


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.


The instructions I read for brewing Mecha is different from this page. Which one should I use?

A: As with all Japanese tea, there is no absolute correct way of infusion. Each tea has its characteristic, and each person has their preference. The beauty and fun part about Japanese tea is to try different infusions to seek what you like.

If you find the taste too strong, try reducing the infusion time. If the astringency is too strong, try reducing the water temperature. Some tea become magnificent when brewed cold, and some tea can reduce their flaws when brewed warm.

The importance is to understand the effects of the parameters of water temperature and time, and to have fun.