Happy Green Tea Month at The Naked Leaf! As it turns out, one of the world’s most talked about teas is also one of the most diverse.
Green tea, grown predominantly in China and Japan, has undergone the least amount of “withering” in its preparation process, and therefore carries an incredibly fresh, vegetal taste in all its forms. That being said, the variety in flavor between countries––and even within countries––is staggering. China’s green tea is known for its nutty, earthier taste and has a preparation process differs from Japan’s. The teas are usually panfried in a large wok, heated underneath by a fire. This cooking of the leaves imparts a slightly deeper taste making them bolder. A perfect example of this robust falvor is our Teng Chong Hui Lang Zhai. It perfectly embodies a nutty Chinese green tea taste, and leaves a full-bodied taste in your mouth. Alternatively, a representation of a lighter Chinese green tea on our shelves is our Emerald Needle green tea. This early-spring harvest tea is wonderfully light with vegetal notes, but still maintains some of the richness often sought after in Chinese greens.
Unlike China where a dry heat is used to stop oxidation, Japan’s preparation of green tea often uses intense steam heat. Using water to heat the leaves imparts little to no additional flavor on the leaves, and brings out the grassy, ‘umami’ flavor Japanese greens are best known for. This process is best represented in our Sencha teas. Our Fukumushi Sencha and Sencha Fukamidori are in all year, and are the perfect standard of Sencha quality. If you want to find more refined experience, we have the Asanoka Sencha (an exquisite higher quality Sencha tea), or our Premium Kabusecha. Kabusecha uses higher quality leaves altogether, and has a more pronounced umami taste. On a different end of the spectrum for Japanese green teas is our Houjicha, which is made from the stem of the tea leaf and roasted instead of steamed. This roasted Japanese green tea is a personal favorite, and the flavor is fit to win over coffee fanatics!
Finally, we reach Matcha. There is no doubt that you have heard of this magic tea powder from countless articles or health blogs. Let’s clear the air about what it really is you’re drinking! When Japanese green tea reaches its highest possible quality, it is either left alone to create loose-leaf tea called Gyokuro, or turned into Matcha. Matcha is tea that has been ground up into an incredibly fine powder, and traditionally is often meant to be whisked directly into water and enjoyed in its purest form. Since you are actually ingesting the entire leaf, as it is completely ground up, you are getting all of those incredible nutrients green tea has to offer. You are also getting all the caffeine! I have taken to calling Matcha the “espresso shot of tea,” since it packs all of the punch that a tea leaf has to offer. You can have it by itself for a lovely, fresh, grassy bowl of goodness, or you can experiment with it! Due to its powdered nature, using our culinary matcha makes for a perfect baking buddy. Add our mildly sweetened matcha in your smoothie for a boost of green tea goodness. (Pro tip: that’s how all of those fancy cafés make your green tea lattes!)
This post doesn’t consider all of the amazing blends and combinations green teas can be a part of, such as our Kashmiri Chai (a green tea chai blend custom made in India) and our Genmaicha with Matcha (that delicious Japanese green tea you’re always being served at sushi restaurants). Come in, ask about our green tea, and strap in to be led through the countless varieties we have to offer!