As I continue to earn my “tea snob” certificate, this week I learned about green teas. I love trying the variety at Elaine’s Tea Shoppe. As you can see they are all green teas but very different. Green tea flavors are more subtle. If you’ve tried green tea before and you experienced an unpleasant grassy taste… it’s because the tea was over brewed. Green teas should only brew 1:30-2:00 minutes from 175-185 degrees. Less time if you are using a tea bag… maybe even just :10-15 seconds. The green teas we tasted were from China and Japan. Green teas are a 10 part process, mainly undertaken on small farms. It’s a fine art that’s passed from generation to generation. The most expensive tea is .35-.40 cents a cup. Inexpensive compared to the labor that goes into making the tea. It can be a full day to just get a small batch. Compare this price now to a cup of Starcucks.
There are two main ways that green teas are processed. Pan fried and partially steamed. Teas that are just steamed are white teas. The pan frying creates a very natural or woodys taste in some. Others have a “food” taste. Green teas from Japan are higher in antioxidants. This is because they shade their trees to keep the chloroxidant, which you can see in the rich green brews. Green teas only last from 6-12 months at their peak taste. The far right (bottom) tea is called popcorn tea. This is a classic Japanese tea that was made out of economic necessity. My favorite was the top (middle), Monks Green. This tea had a light peachy taste. Yum. Inbetween sipping tea we had chocolate scones made from wheat flour. Really good!
Wendy came with me today. She was very popular with the class because she can write the tea names in Chinese. Here Wendy is pointing to a green tea in powder form that is created from the entire tea leaves. It’s packed full of antioxidants. This is called Matcha and it can even be used in cookie and ice cream recipes. If you are starting to get sick, it’s recommended to drink Rouibis tea. Harvesting for green tea is actually happening now. Late March and early April – they only have the first 2 weeks of growth to harvest.
Some teas have small flowers that “blossom” in the pot. After class Wendy and I went for sushi… and you guessed it…. GREEN TEA ice cream! It was a fun day.