Japan, with its warm climate and ample rain, is a perfect environment for tea growing. Tea growing is thought to have begun here in the 8th century. While other countries grow their tea bushes on hillsides and pick teas by hand, Japanese gardens are meticulously planted in rows along hills close to natural water sources. Although some teas are hand-picked in Japan, most of the tea grown here is mechanically picked and processed using high tech machinery. Also, unlike other countries that designate their teas by regions or estates, Japanese teas are generally sold by styles.
Kokeicha (formed tea) is made by stone grinding tea leaves to a powder and then forming them, using molds, into a small needle like tea. These thin grayish-green "leaves" brew to a pale yellow-green color with a light, fragrant taste.
Brew tea at 175º - steep for 1.5 - 2 minutes.