This week’s blog is about Japanese tea. We have recently changed the way we source our Japanese tea and in our opinion these new Japanese teas are of much higher quality, both in terms of the quality of the tea leaf and also the way the tea is harvested and processed. We now source our Japanese tea from the Otsuka Green Tea Co whom are based in the western region of Shizuoka prefecture. The Otsuka Green Tea Co have been producing tea since the Edo era (1603-1867) on land which was granted to them by their ancestor Kazutoyo Yamanouchi, the lord of Kakegawa castle. The tea garden, which is based in Nissaka, at the foot of Mt Fuji, is blessed with extremely fertile soil and is an ideal climate for growing tea. Situated at the north of the tea garden is Mt Awagatake and because of both the vast difference between day and night temperatures and the configuration of the mountains, a unique fog is generated which softens the tea leaf and produces some very delicate and subtle flavours which are noticeable when the tea is infused.
We now stock four new Japanese Tea’s which I would like to introduce to you. All of these tea are packed at source to ensure that they are as fresh as possible and we are currently selling them in quantities of 50g. I personally believe that these teas are of very high quality and produce some extremely exquisite flavours, which is representative of the care that has been taken to during the cultivation and production of the tea.
This high quality Sencha is a Japanese green tea which is picked during the first harvest. The young tender leaves provide a fruity aroma and give a delicate and sweet flavour. This particular sencha has undergone the fukamushi process which involves steaming the tea leaves for a longer time and at a higher temperature. This breaks the cells in the tea leaf and allows the you to enjoy the full flavour and aroma of the tea and also when infused produces a beautiful green liquor, typical of tea that has been deeply steamed.
Genmaicha is a Japanese green tea, sencha which is mixed with toasted brown rice. This tea produces both an alluring aroma and a delightful and unique, mellow, nutty flavour. The sencha that is used in this tea is of a much higher grade than in standard Genmaicha. Genmaicha was originally drunk by Japanese peasants and the rice in the tea was used as filler and to reduce the price of the tea. Genmaicha is now a very popular tea in all society.
Hojicha is a roasted green tea. Hojicha is made using Japanese bancha tea and is great as an after dinner or evening tea which goes well with oily or meaty dishes. Hojicha has a light smoky aroma and a nutty taste with over tones of caramel and cocoa. Hojicha infuses to a light reddish-brown and has little astringency due to losing catechins during the roasting process. The roasting process also lowers the amount of caffeine in the tea and produces a mild flavour making in popular with children and the elderly.
Kukicha consists of the stalks of the tea leaves. It is a very refreshing tea and is an ideal tea for first time tea drinkers. The stalks contain a lot of amino acids which gives Kukicha a sweet almost creamy flavour with a mild nuttiness. Kukicha was initially a by product of left over stalks from the production of other teas, however Kukicha is now a must for all tea connoisseurs.