The taste of tea consists mainly of sweet, umami, bitter, and astringent. Large stores of amino acids such as theanine and glutamic acid contribute to umami. Catechins add bitterness and astringency. Caffeine is also bitter, but it makes tea light and refreshing.

The type of cultivar, soil, climate, growing process, and harvesting methods are all factors that contribute to how a particular type of green tea tastes. The overall balance of each component determines the taste of the tea.

It was scientifically proven that "umami," a combination of glutamate and inosinic acid, is an independent taste element. After Japanese chemist Kikunae Ikeda isolated it in dashi broth, which contains familiar Japanese ingredients such as kelp and katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes), it became known as the fifth basic taste.

There are no equivalent words in English or other languages for “umami.” Many non-Japanese may have difficulty understanding the concept of umami, as it’s not quite the same as “delicious.” Umami-rich foods don’t just taste good; they complement the flavors of any dish.
Japanese high-grade green tea, especially gyokuro, has strong umami. Although the distinction isn’t clear, gyokuro also has sweetness.
Recent research suggests that glutamic acid, not theanine, enhances the umami in tea and that theanine, certain organic acids, and polyphenols increase the umami of the glutamate found in matcha.