Green tea is made from camelia sinensis, and the very same plant gives us black, white and oolong tea. The secret to their different looks and flavours lies in the way the plant is cultivated, harvested and processed. Made from young buds and leaves harvested in early spring, white tea is the least processed of all teas and undergoes very little oxidation. Black tea on the other hand is the most oxidised and generally has a stronger flavour than other teas.
Green tea is kept green by halting the oxidation process very early on. Green teas tend to be light and sweet or fresh and grassy, however some exhibit rich, umami (savoury) flavours. Green tea has a history that stretches back thousands of years. Today there is an almost unfathomable variety, ranging widely in shape and flavour. In China, green teas are pan fried whereas Japanese green teas are steamed. Depending on the type you get, you will discover vegetal, grassy, sweet, fruity or nutty and toasty flavours. Our range of Japanese green teas include:
Sencha is a Japanese green tea, picked during the first harvest from the famous Shizuoka region. The young tender leaves provide a fruity aroma and give a delicate and sweet flavour. The fukamushi process which involves steaming the tea leaves for a longer time and at a higher temperature, breaks the cells in the leaves and allows the full aroma and flavours to come out. This tea is vacuum packed at source for extra freshness.
Genmaicha is a Japanese green sencha tea mixed with toasted rice. The rice gives the tea a unique, mellow, nutty flavour. Some grains of rice will pop while being toasted, hence you might see genmaicha being called 'popcorn tea'. The sencha in our genmaicha is of much higher grade than in standard versions. The producer has won the prize for the best sencha in Japan several times in their history.
Kukicha consists of the stalks of the tea leaves. Kukicha infuses lighter in the cup than regular sencha. It is a delicate, yet very refreshing tea and is a great drink to reenergize. The stalks contain a lot of amino acids which account for the sweet notes that beautifully complement and enrich Kukicha's base grassy flavour.
Matcha is tea leaves that have been ground to a fine powder. Though we tend to associate it with Japanese culture, matcha is not geographically protected and you will find lots of cheaper, matcha-like powders, mainly of Chinese origin. Unfortunately, saving money will turn into spending even more, because you might need to still to purchase good matcha if you're after quality and flavour. Please make sure you always check the country of origin when buying matcha and stay away from suspiciously cheap matcha. Processing tea leaves into matcha is laborious and time consuming which does affect the price of the final product. The good news is you will only need a little bit of matcha to make 1 serving of either ceremonial, iced or latte version, hence it will last for a while. This tea is very sensitive to light and humidity, hence it is a good practice to buy small amounts frequently rather than getting large pouches. The colour will quickly lose its vibrant shade if matcha is exposed to light. It is advised to always sieve it to break the clumps which are formed due to humidity.
Our ceremonial grade of Matcha is from Uji, one of the oldest tea cultivating areas of Japan. This Matcha is made using only the finest tea leaves and buds which have been shade-grown to produce an intense and sweet flavour and turn the Matcha a vibrant green colour. This Matcha has been produced without the use of artificial fertilisers or pesticides. We also stock cooking grate matcha which is designed to be used for baking, lattes etc. Pancakes, muffins, cheesecakes, ice-cream, buttercream and more sweet and savoury treats can be made using this grade of matcha. We recommend using 70º water and steeping Japanese green teas for only 1 minute. For matcha please remember to sieve it before using. We would love to know your favourite Japanese green teas. Is it one of the types we stock or something different like gyokuro or aracha? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or connect with us through our social media channels.