Tea Curation: Comparing Green Teas from China and Japan

Introduction to Green Tea

Green tea is made from Camellia sinensis leaves that have not undergone the same withering and oxidation applied when processing Camellia sinensis into oolong tea and  black tea. It is well known for high level of vitamins and anti-cancer properties, and have been gaining popularity over the last decade.

For this month, we curate a collection of 4 green teas. In tasting all these teas, we bring you to appreciate and compare between green teas made from China and Japan, how similar methods in China and Japan can produce tea with different characteristics and how roasting and aging of green teas can change its flavours.

 

 1. 2015 Green Tea Fenghuang Mountain, Chaozhou, China

Fenghuang (Phoenix) Green Tea is one of the very few tea varieties from the region. It grows on Fenghuang Mountain in Chaozhou City famous for Fenghuang Dancong tea (an oolong variety). The region has mild and humid climate. Fenghuang tea has had a long history, it was said that during South-Song Dynasty, the Emperor went to Chao-shan  and passed-by the Fenghuang Mountain. His servant plucked the leaves from tea tree, prepared the drink and the emperor enjoyed it. Since then, it was widely planted. It was also named as Song Cultivar  because it was planted since Song Dynasty. Up to date, the cultivar has lasted for more than 900 years.

Tasting notes: The liquid is a clear golden color. The aroma evokes the fragrance of flowers. The taste and texture are earthy and smooth.

 

 2. 2010 Green Tea Fenghuang Mountain, Chaozhou, China

The same green tea from the Fenghuang mountain aged for 5 years accidentally by the tea plantation owner. He shared that while it was not intended and that green teas are typically not meant to be aged, this tea evokes a unique flavour that recently became popular in the market.

Tasting notes: The liquid is a slightly darker gold color. The aroma becomes more fruity instead of flora. The taste and texture becomes more complex with hints of tabacco.

 

3. Kamairi cha, Kumamoto, Japan

Kamairicha is a Japanese green tea produced by pan-frying tea leaves during the early stages of production. It is most commonly produced in the western region of Japan. Kamairicha has a mildly roasted flavour with more sweet and fresh notes than bitter ones. It does not undergo the usual steam treatments of Japanese tea. After a short withering, they are fired in hot iron pans of up to 300 °C with repeated agitation to prevent charring. The various rolling techniques used produce teas of different leaf form. It is made of leaves that are shaped like commas. The process of making kamairicha actually began in China and is similar to Chinese green tea-making processes.

Tasting notes: Compared to the Fenghuang tea, you will noticeably taste the similarities, as the kamairi cha is more similar to chinese green tea more than the japanese style green tea, however, one will note that the roasted flavour is sweeter and fresher.

 

 4. Hojicha, Kyoto, Japan

Hojicha is a Japanese green tea. It is distinctive from other Japanese green teas because it is roasted in a porcelain pot over charcoal, whereas most Japanese teas are steamed. The tea is fired at a high temperature, altering the leaf color tints from green to reddish brown. The process was first performed in Kyoto, Japan in the 1920s and its popularity persists today.  The roasting process used to make Hojicha also lowers the amount of caffeine in the tea. Because of its mildness, Hojicha is a popular tea to serve during the evening meal or after, before going to sleep.

Tasting notes: The tea has a light reddish-brown appearance. It tastes less astringent due to losing it catechins during the high-temperature roasting process. The roasted flavors dominates this tea, as it replaces the vegetative tones of other varieties of Japanese green tea with a toasty, slightly caramel-like flavor.

 

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Note: Many members have asked us about purchasing larger quantity of some of the teas we curate, unfortunately these teas are produced in small batches and often the better harvests have been pre-purchased by buyers. However, for smaller quantity – we are able to help contact the farmers directly and link them to you. Please contact us at: info@infusiondevie.com.

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