Introduction to Japanese Green Tea (2)
Majority of the tea produced in Japan is green. In order to produce green tea, oxidation of the tea leaves has to be stopped as soon as possible after they have been picked. This requires heating the tea leaves. The most widespread technique used today around the world, especially in China, is to heat the tea leaves by placing them in direct contact with a heated surface, such as a frying pan. However, Japanese green tea is made by heating the tea leaves using water vapour. After they are picked, the tea leaves are steamed. The technique originated in China, but disappeared several centuries ago. In the last curation, we brought 4 kinds of Japanese green teas focusing on the uniqueness of the esteemed Gyokuro, this month we bring to you another 4 different green teas from the various regions of Japan, namely Kagoshima, Shizuoka, Nara and Gifu. Hope you enjoy them! Please note that Japanese green tea needs to be brewed with water under 70 degrees Celsius.
1. Ara-cha, Gifu, Japan
Ara-cha means crude tea, it has slightly higher moisture content, some stalks, and bigger leaves. If the shape and size of crude tea leaf varies too much, the taste will be inconsistent. Thia Ara-cha from Gifu is sent into a refining process where additional sorting process is carried out to separate the stalks, big leaves and stones. After sorting, the size of tea leaf is consistent, and moderate roasting is applied to maximise its flavour.
Tasting note: Simple and unassuming green tea, with balanced taste of freshness and roasted umami.
2. Kari-gane, Kagoshima, Japan
Kari-gane is a twig tea, a traditional style from Japan consisting of the stems and stalks discarded after making other teas. This Kari-gane is crafted in Kagoshima prefecture, located in the southern part of Kyushu. Using the same kabuse-cha tea leaves grown in the shade, the mild sun of the early spring and the sooting climate of the the southern Kagoshima region enhances the unique fragrance and increases the yield.
Tasting notes: Compared to the Kabuse-cha from Kagoshima, this tea is equally flavorful, but a little more complex because of the mix of twigs and leaves, the aroma is flora with a mild sweet aftertaste.
3. Kari-gane, Shizuoka, Japan
Using the kari-gane technique, we present another similar tea but from Shizoka further up north of Kagoshima. Shizuoka is the largest tea region in Japan accounting for more than 40% of the annual production. This is mostly because of its mild climate, even during the coldest days of winter, it does not snow very much, which makes it most suitable for tea cultivation.
Tasting notes: Compared to the Kari-gane from Kagoshima, this tea is a little less flavorful and contains less umami, but more fragrant with stronger roasted scent. It also contains mild caramelised notes with a tinge of nutty flavours.
4. Uji-cha, Nara, Japan
Uji-cha refers to the tea that results from blending tea leaves from various regions and produced by tea manufacturers from Uji in Kyoto Prefecture. This Uji-cha is however single sourced from only from Nara. Working with traditional techniques to process the tea using tea leaves harvested in Nara selected for their taste, fragrance and astringency, the characteristic taste of this Uji-cha is well-regulated.
Tasting notes: Like all quality Uji-cha, a single precise water temperature is not necessary to obtain a suitable brew. By infusing at a low temperature, the citrus scent and umami flavor will be highlighted, while infusing at a high temperature brings about strength and astringency.
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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: firstname.lastname@example.org.