Sencha Tea – the Most Popular Japanese Tea
Sep19

Sencha Tea – the Most Popular Japanese Tea

Sencha is a traditional Japanese green tea that is prepared using the decocting method, and therefore has different properties and a slightly different taste than the other teas prepared from the same Camellia Sinensis plant, such as Matcha or Oolong. It is considered to be the most popular type of green tea in Japan (representing up to 80% of the total tea production of the country); drunk not only for its exquisite taste, but also for its beneficial effects on health. Leaves processing method The green tea leaves are picked from early April to late May; the tea made from the leaves picked at the beginning of this harvest period are used to make a special kind of Sencha, considered to be the most delicious, called Shincha or “new tea”. Sencha has a nice golden-greenish color and different mild to strong flavor, depending on the temperature of the water in which it is decocted. After picking, the leaves are steamed for up to 20 seconds to prevent the oxidization and fermentation process and preserve the color and aroma. This steaming process is told to be the key of the final color and flavor of the drink. The more time the leaves are steamed, the easier they break down during later processing and as a consequence the tea may appear cloudy. After steaming a cooling process follows; then the leaves are partially dried and twisted in a special machine for a couple of times making them soft and pliant and giving them their needle-shape. A third and final round of drying finishes the processing stage and the leaves are hand-sorted to remove any remaining stems. How to make Sencha Tea? As with other types of green tea, the flavor of your cup of Sencha will depend on three major factors: the quality of the water its temperature the infusion time Water quality is important since hard water will lower the intensity of the flavor. Use filtered water or boil it beforehand for over 5 minutes. For the perfect cup you should use soft, pure water that is low in magnesium and calcium ions. Let the boiled water cool before using it, if your water is too hot when you pour it over the leaves it will release too much tannin and your cup of tea will taste bitter instead of soft and sweet. For high – quality Sencha, the ideal temperature is somewhere between 158-176oF (70-80oC). Use one teaspoon of tea for every 8 to 12 ounces of water and steep for up to 2 minutes. Only brew the amount of tea you are to drink right away, because the...

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Gyokuro – The Finest Green Tea
Oct24

Gyokuro – The Finest Green Tea

Gyokuro is perhaps the finest green tea one can purchase and offers the finest drinking experience. The Japanese have treasured it for hundreds of years and due to the fact of its becoming more widely available, the entire world can now appreciate its exquisite fragrance and many health benefits. What makes it so special? Gyokuro is made from the same tea plant all green teas come from: Camellia Sinensis. The similarities seem to stop here, though. Only the youngest buds are used to make this tea and they undergo a special treatment to be selected for this purpose. They are grown in the shade for 20 days before harvesting as they are covered from sunlight using straw or reed screens. This reduces photosynthesis changing the proportion of amino acids, caffeine, flavanols and sugars, and as a consequence the color, flavor and taste of the drink. The tea obtained by using this process is mild, sweet, has less astringency and higher quality. The leaf buds that have grown deprived of the sun light are softer; they hold more moisture and are more flavored than many other kinds of green tea. The careful picked buds are lightly steamed to prevent oxidation, rolled and air-dried to get the perfect shape, texture and taste. They are then sorted into different leaf grades and the finest are selected to make Gyokuro. They are then let to mature for at least a week to further develop their properties. How to brew the perfect cup? The brewing process is a bit different than that of normal sencha green tea. If it is brewed like normal sencha it will still taste ok, but quite different than it should. What differs is the brewing temperature and water to tea proportion. The water you use should be of good quality as the minerals in water can enhance the flavor of the tea. The optimal brewing temperature is between 122 F and 140 F degrees, lower than sencha. You should preheat the cups or the teapot because pouring the lukewarm tea into a cold cup changes the temperature. You can pour some of the boiled water into the kettle and wait for a minute or two, then add the leaves and add the remaining water. Use 2 table spoons of tea to 4-5 ounces of water. Brewing time is two to three minutes. Don’t mix, stir or shake the tea while it is brewing. Allow the tea leaves room to expand. Main benefits of Gyokuro imperial green tea Take the health benefits of regular green tea and multiply them by ten. Yes, Gyokuro is so beneficial because it is especially grown,...

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Matcha Tea – Fine Japanese Powder
Oct01

Matcha Tea – Fine Japanese Powder

Matcha Tea is green tea’s big brother. Made from the same plant Camellia Sinensis, only the shade-grown leaves are used to produce matcha tea. Before the harvest the tea bushes are covered to avoid sun light for up to several weeks; this turns the leaves a darker shade of green and stimulates amino acid production in the leaves making the resulting tea a bit sweeter. Once picked the leaves are dried, when they crumble the veins and stems are removed and the rest is finely ground into the bright green, fine powder known as matcha. In recent years, matcha has been recognized by the health and science community as a super-food, due to its anti-oxidant properties. A drink for both the mind and the body, matcha is so much more than your “ordinary” green tea. Contents: How To Prepare It Nutrition Facts Side Effects Caffeine Content Health Benefits References and Further Reading How to prepare it Matcha tea can be prepared in two ways: thick and thin. Before using the powder, let it come to room temperature and sift it using a fine strainer. One teaspoon to 3 ounces of water makes thin matcha, while 4 teaspoons for 3 ounces of water makes it thick. Add the powder into the hot water, just under boiling temperature), then whisk quickly back and forth. You should hold the whisk vertically and not let it touch the bottom of the bowl or cup. Once you see soft foam developing, your cup is ready. The taste is strong and vegetal, and you may adjust it to your taste by adding more powder and repeating the whisking. Eating something sweet greatly complements the flavor of this exquisite drink. There are a large variety of Japanese tea sweets that will certainly be to your pleasure and impress your quests. Nutrition Facts Since the amount of powder used in a cup varies, nutrient values are usually presented per gram of powder. Matcha, as most teas, is low in calories. One gram of matcha has 3 calories and 35 mg of caffeine. Though low in sodium, matcha has a considerable amount of vitamin C, dietary fiber, iron and potassium. Vitamins A and E are also present. It has been proven that matcha contains 10, up to 15 times more overall nutrients in comparison to the traditional teas made from the same plant: green, white and black tea. It actually contains more antioxidants than high-antioxidants fruits such as blueberries, making it one of the healthiest drinks there is. Nutrition Facts – Serving size (1g of matcha) Total Cathecins 105 mg EGCG 61 mg Total Dietary Fiber 332 mg...

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