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Unique green tea from Hoshino
Award winner for best gyokuro in Japan.

Green tea

Green tea is believed to originate from China, but over the course of the plant’s well over 4,000 year history has spread to several countries in Asia. There are records of Buddhist monks bringing tea to Japan from about 1,400 years ago. In short, the tea plant itself is the same in China and Japan, but there are differences in climate, soil and plant breeding. The biggest difference, however, is the actual processing of the harvested tea leaves. All tea comes from the same shrub, which in Latin is called camellia sinensis.

The difference between black and green tea is the degree of oxygenation / oxidation:
Black tea is fully or partially oxidized for 12-24 hours, whereas green tea is not oxidized.

An enzyme in the green tea leaf initiates the oxidation process as soon as the leaf is picked. To stop the process, Japanese manufacturers of green tea steam the freshly picked leaves before packing them in airtight boxes and refrigerators.

In China, oxidation is stopped by briefly roasting the leaves in a wok. This difference in processing gives Japanese green tea a taste with notes of grass, while Chinese green tea often has more delicate and floral notes. Chinese green tea is often also slightly yellow in colour.

Varieties of green tea

Sencha-te

Over a third of all the tea produced in Japanese tea gardens is sencha. Making sencha is a complex process. After steaming and drying the leaves of the sencha are cooled to approximately 5ºc, producing the round tang taste. Finally, the leaves are rolled four times. First and second time with dry heat, third and fourth time during cooling.
Bright, clear, fresh taste.

For its greatest appreciation sencha should be brewed in a teapot the same size as the amont of tea cups it will serve.
Remove the kettle as soon as the water starts to boil. Use two to three grams per cup (20 cl.) and pour the water over when cooled slightly (80 – 85 degrees).
Depending on the type of tea and the method of brewing green tea can be brewed anywhere from 10 seconds to two minutes. Serve the tea when the desired strength is achieved. The tea leaves can be reused two to three times with a gradually extended withdrawal time.
Caffeine content: Low

Gyokuro-te

Producing gyokuro is a very demanding process that requires a great deal of knowledge. The bushes are covered with bamboo mats 20 days before they are harvested, thereby developing a deep green leaf, a relatively high caffeine content and a very special aroma.
Gyokuro means “pearl dew” and is among the finest of Japanese teas.
Gyokuro contains a concentrated taste of the coveted umami.

Nuanced taste from bittersweet to fresh.
Gyokuro should be brewed in a small teapot and enjoyed in small teacups. Gyokuro should preferably be brewed with high quality lime-free water.
Take off the kettle well before it starts to boil. Use two to three grams per cup (10 cl.) And pour the water over when cooled. The ideal temperature for gyokuro is 55-60ºc. That said you can brew at even lower tempuratures.
Let the tea soak for 1 and 1/2 minutes for the first extraction.
Serve the tea when the desired strength is achieved. The tea leaves can be reused three times and even eaten afterwards
Caffeine content: High

De vigtigste typer grøn te

China produces about 80 percent of the world’s green tea and sits on an almost equal share of exports. By comparison, Japan produces only seven percent of the world’s green tea and contributes just less than two percent of global exports. Vietnam and Indonesia actually export more green tea than Japan.
Tea can be harvested three to four times a year, but the finest harvest in Japan is the first and happens in April. The leaves are picked only for a few hours in the morning by trained pickers.

Matcha-te

Japanese tea, where the leaves are ground to a fine powder. which is different other types of green tea because the whole leaf is consumed and not just an extracted. Among other things matcha helps to boost the content of antioxidants more than in other types of green tea.

Kabusecha-te

High quality shaded Japanese sencha tea. The fields are covered for 10-14 days with bamboo mats, which causes the tea plant to produce more chlorophyll and amino acids. These teas have an increased content of i.e. amino acid which helps to give the fine taste.

Long jing

Chinese green broadleaf tea that has been pan-roasted twice to stop the oxidation. The flat leaves are a hallmark of long jing and stem from the shaking process where the leaves are pressed against the side of the wok. The taste is mild and fresh with notes of chestnut. Reportedly Chairman Mao’s favorite.

Anji bai cha

Chinese green tea from Zhejiang Province. The leaves are long, slender and almost needle-like. With its fine fresh taste and very soft texture, this tea has become one of China’s best known teas. Is not produced in such quantities as the more popular long jing.

Manufacture of green tea

Despite the fact that green tea is made from leaves from the same plant as black tea, the result is nevertheless a markedly different tea in both substance, colour and taste. Drinking green tea is probably the closest we get to the immediate taste of tea leaves.

The production and processing of green tea and black tea is very different. What makes the most important difference in the first place is that the leaves for black tea undergo a “fermentation” process (techincally a missnaming of the enzyme triggered oxidisation process but since the term has been used in the west for 150 years we will continue to do so). It does not apply for the green tea leaves

tea pot set

An overall description of green tea production
After picking, the leaves are steamed or dried to stop the natural oxidation process. In this way, the leaves retain more of the natural oils and important antioxidants, and they become soft and easier to process.

After drying, the leaves are rolled and twisted in various ways, then dried again to reduce the liquid content. During rolling, the cellular structure breaks down in the leaves, facilitating the extraction of the good substances as we brew the tea. The process is repeated as needed until the leaves are slowly completely dry. During the roll, the finished look of the tea is determined, and it is impressive that so many different expressions the same leaves can get after being in the hands of a knowledgeable tea worker.

There are many different green teas, and there is a great difference in taste and quality, so you have to try to find the one that suits your taste. Again, there is a big difference between green teas from China and Japan. The Japanese use some slightly different techniques, with short-term steaming of the tea leaves, as well as covering the tea bushes with bamboo mats.

The Japanese teas are often finer in the leaves and more delicate in taste.

In addition to the green leaf tea, there is also a Japanese powder tea. Matcha is the ultimate green tea. Matcha is made from the freshest and finest tea leaves from the first harvest of the year. Matcha is picked only once a year, the optimal date being the 2nd of May – the first and finest harvest of the year – before warmer weather and many hours of sunshine make it impossible to harvest the best tea leaves. Three weeks before harvest, the tea bushes are covered with bamboo mats so that the leaves receive as little sunlight as possible and thus develop a high content of chlorophyll. It gives both the distinctive greenish-green colour and the sweet grassy taste that has made matcha (and other so-called “shadow teas”) a sought after drink.

After harvesting, the leaves are steamed for a short time before being packed down and put in a refrigerator. The leaves are not rolled but steamed immediately after harvest and then dried. The dried tea is called tencha. The tencha is then ground with a stone mill from to a very fine powder: matcha tea.

It is only this tea that is used in the traditional Japanese tea ceremony called cha no yu.

The ritual is based on the four basic principles of Zen Buddhism – harmony, respect, purity and inner silence.

In Japan, students have been drinking matcha for years to stay awake for their exams, just as Zen Buddhist monks have been drinking it for centuries to keep concentration during meditation. This is not least due to a combination of caffeine and the amino acid; l-theanine found only in green tea. In matcha, the concentration of this amino acid – which also gives the tea its strong umami taste – is particularly high. According to some studies, it is this combination that helps keep some people more alert and focused than coffee.

The combination of caffeine and amino acids are an effective remedy for stress and tell the central nervous system that we need to relax. It is the combination of the two substances that increases the ability to concentrate

With a bamboo spoon (chashaku) you place the tea in a special bowl (chawan), add the water and whip with a traditional bamboo whisk (chase) until it starts to foam.

Matcha is very refreshing and has a texture that is thicker than plain green tea. Because you drink the whole leaf your body receives a very high dose of Vitamin A, C and E, minerals and antioxidants.
Matcha contains a concentrated content of antioxidants, including catechins in particular. These act anti-bacterial and prevent the LDL cholesterol from oxidizing, which is essential to prevent cardiovascular disease.
In the cup, matcha has a deep jade green colour. It is soft and round in taste with a distinct sweetness and fresh aroma.

It can be a jungle to find the right matcha for the price, not least because the most talented producers in Japan are most oriented to the domestic market.
Read more about Japanese tea

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