hunmee Nathan and I were in for quite a challenge on the green tea tasting day - we sampled about 15 different teas. Around the time we tasted the tenth tea I had to have a snack because I was getting jittery from all the caffeine! There are just so many teas out there to try.
Green tea is the second least-oxidized tea (white tea is completely unoxidized). It comes mostly from China or Japan, but there are a few from India and Sri Lanka.
Freshly picked tea leaves are dried then heated to prevent
any oxidation from occurring and to keep them green. Even air causes slight oxidation so the leaves are heated right away to stop the oxidation. In China dry heat is used - workers put the leaves in large pans or woks and move the leaves around quickly with their hands. After this the leaves are rolled, then dried. In Japan steam is used to heat the leaves, which are then also rolled and dried. Finally, the tea is sorted by quality.
BRIEF TASTING NOTES
an inexpensive tea that is produced in large quantities and is often used for export teas. It's mild with a bit of a salty sunflower seed taste and a little bit smoky. Chunmee produces a darker brew than many green teas and is great for a morning tea.
a tightly-rolled tea (easy to distinguish from other green teas because of its nugget appearance) with a smoky flavor.
produces a light green brew. Its flavor hangs in the mouth and has a creamy, buttery feeling. This tea is not great for blending as it has great nutty and vegetable notes on its own.
has no astringency and is soft and mellow. Snow Buds smells a bit grassy and has floral and sweet notes.
traditionally a Japanese tea, but if it is made in China the Japanese steaming method is used instead of the dry
pan-frying method used for other Chinese green teas. Sencha is a mild, sweet tea with grassy notes.
is widely drunk in China. The leaves are pressed against the sides of a wok when they're being cooked which gives them their flattened appearance. Dragonwell produces a light yellow brew with a hint of chestnut flavor.
is the first pluck of Japanese Sencha. It provides a bright green brew and has vegetable, asparagus-like flavors.
another Japanese Sencha that we named here at The Jasmine Pearl. This is a second-pluck tea and has broken leaves. Mayucha is buttery, rich and has a bit of a graham cracker taste.
this tea is plucked later in the season and has a full, nutty, toasty flavor.
is unique in that it is composed of mostly stems from tea leaves that are shaded one to two weeks before being plucked. This tea can stand hotter water when being brewed to really bring out its lovely toasty flavor.
made of the same leaves that Kukicha comes from, so they are also shaded from one to two weeks before being plucked. Its aroma is herbier than other teas and it has a smooth, raisiny taste.
this tea is actually a powder - made from young tea leaves that are plucked, heated, dried and are then ground up into a fine powder. It is bright green in color and is brewed by topping the powder with hot water and then quickly whisking it until it's frothy.
includes toasted and popped rice in the tea, which makes it look quite unique. The rice gives the brew a great, full toasty rice flavor.
a heavily roasted tea that gives a light brown brew and produces a nutty, salty flavor.
Silver tips are young buds that have a fine white hair on their underside, giving them a silvery appearance in green and white teas. When these buds are oxidized the tiny hairs take on a golden hue, like in Golden Needles, a black tea.
Coming up next: herbals...