Ichoucha (萎凋茶) is a Japanese tea that has been withered.
Withering is called ichou in Japanese. Another word also used for withering tea is bihakkou (微発酵).
For example, ichou sencha means that it’s a sencha made with withered tea leaves.
The process happens naturally. Tea leaves will lose moisture and develop a different aroma as soon as they are harvested.
So the process might be to simply let the tea leaves wither for up to a day, under the sun or in the shade.
Why withering matters
Unlike Chinese green tea, traditional Japanese green tea isn’t withered.
So usually in Japan the leaves are quickly steamed before they can wither.
Withering results in floral and sweet aromas.
Under the classic Japanese tea tasting standard, such aromas would give a green tea a low valuation.
But nowadays, some people find ichoucha enjoyable.
I guess that I’m old fashioned, but I prefer the vegetal freshness and marine aroma of the traditional Japanese green tea.
Besides, I’m not a big fan of floral aromas.
Everyone has his own taste.
I’ve tried ichoucha in the past, but only about a couple of times.
So I’m not really an authority regarding this type of tea.
Perhaps I just haven’t tasted one that I really like.