Green Tea! Tea Basics [Episode 52]

The second episode of Tea Basics! Episode 52 covers Green Teas, including a couple different Japanese and Chinese types. Featuring teas from Teavivre, New Century Tea Gallery, and two from O-Cha.

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11 Responses to Green Tea! Tea Basics [Episode 52]

  1. Connor says:

    Glad to see you guys branching out into more green tea-related episodes. I’ve almost exclusively been drinking green tea since early April – it’s a seasonal product and now’s the time to enjoy it! If you guys are interested in doing more episodes on green tea in the coming months, now would be the time to buy the super-premium harvests before they sell out.

    Some suggestions based on my own preferences:

    -Matcha like most green tea is done with ~175 F
    -Teavivre Dragonwell is some of the best I’ve come across. Specifically, you guys should pick up some She Qian before they run out. It’s expensive but definitely worth it.
    -The filters for the brewing of Japanese green tea is a fairly important point to discuss. The fine mesh filter is ideal for beginners and daily drinking but actually becomes less ideal as one becomes more interested in sencha. Sasame (clay) filters are the prized option for their ability to filter just the right amount of tea particles. Rishi Tea has a good video on this.
    -Like many tea drinkers, I also disliked Japanese green tea initially, thinking it was too grassy, bitter, etc. It wasn’t until I had a finer understanding of brewing parameters that I decided to give it another chance. When brewed properly, it’s provided some of the best tea experiences I’ve had. It’s worth challenging your patience and palates for it!

    • James says:

      Hi Connor, thanks for the long, detailed comment! Coincidentally (or perhaps not), the Sheqian Dragonwell is coming up next, in episode 53. We’ve also got O-Cha’s Yame Gyokuro and Verdant’s Laoshan Green coming up in 54/55.

      You offer some good insight on the filters and clay. Neither Denny nor I are super well-versed in green tea, so thanks for the helpful information on filters and clay.

      I also spent the entire month of April focusing on Japanese green teas. You can expect a tea report in a couple Saturdays! It’s an area with quite a bit of depth, due to the tea’s sensitivity to the brewing parameters (as you stated).

      • Connor says:

        Definitely a lot of overlap with what we’ve been drinking this month. I’m not surprised that we’re arriving at the same vendors and teas. They’re about the best you can do in the west, more or less.

        I haven’t had the Yame but I’m looking forward to hearing what you think of it (although I don’t have a ton of experience with Gyokuro due to the price barrier). I’m currently working on the Kirameki Asamushi Shincha from O-Cha – it’s awesome but much stronger than I anticipated. I also have some Yutaka Midori Fukamushi Shincha which I’ll break into once I start running out of the Kirameki.

        Laoshan Green was one of the first high quality Chinese greens I ever had – that dry leaf aroma sold me on green tea for life. Are you drinking the autumn harvest or did you make a pre-order for 2014? I’m about to put in a pre-order for a tin of the 1st picking. Needless to say I’m stoked!

        • James says:

          Nice! I’m not super-experienced with gyo either, primarily due to the somewhat prohibitive cost and greater interest in alot of other genres of tea.

          I haven’t had the Kirameki Asamushi, but the Yutaka Midori from O-Cha is very good, easily one of my better experiences with sencha. I’m kinda regretting not ordering the shincha this year! The other vendor I’d recommend checking out is Ippodo. I had a chance to stop by their storefront in NYC and they are the real deal. Sadly, no reviews coming up although they are featured in the next tea of the month report.

          We had the Laoshan green from 2013 autumn. It was a bit thinner than I remembered. Similar to yourself, it was one of my earlier experiences with Chinese greens. Unsure if its the autumnal harvest or if I’ve simply leveled up my taste buds but it came out quite a bit flatter than I remembered. Alas, you”ll see it in a few weeks time.

          Cheers!
          -James

  2. I liked this episode, too bad that you didn’t get to the houjicha.

    Regarding the mesh filter, you’re right. If it’s a fukamushi sencha, the particles are very fine, so a metallic filter with small openings is best in this case. There are some kyusu especially made with filters for fukamushicha.

    Also, deep steamed green teas have a stronger taste, so I wouldn’t recommend that for beginners either.

    • James says:

      Thanks for the comment Ricardo. Yes, I wish we were able to get to the Hojicha as well. While I don’t find it a particularly complex tea, its a great drink for folks looking to cut into their caffeine intake. Easy drinking.

      Some good info on both Fukamushi Sencha and their “optimal” filters. I agree, Asamushi is probably a better starting point for most.

      Cheers!
      -James

  3. Cwyn says:

    Yay a lovely episode! While watching I enjoyed an organic green tea from the Assan tea estates in India, they are mostly known for their black tea darjeelings and “breakfast” varieties exported to the UK. However, they produce small harvests of green tea. In a clear cup the liquor appears golden colored, but held against a white background it looks light green. I am tasting a black tea under taste, I wonder if the taste has anything to do with the leaves, or with equipment used to process black tea, or the proximity of so many trees since the tea estates are huge and all close together. There is not so much a vegetal taste as a light black tea taste tho the leave are green.

    The one un-drinkable tea I have had in my life was a Chinese green, the only word for it was sour. This was the only time I have ever thrown out a green tea. Otherwise I tend to enjoy Chinese greens. Japanese greens are lovely always, but they are so consistent. A Chinese green, well I don’t know WHAT I am going to taste, the same variety will taste different depending upon where it is from. It is a larger country after all, but I also think Chinese tea producers experiment more with storage.

    Which brings me to a topic I would love to see you guys cover. Storage! You guys are in Seattle, I am in the Midwest and I struggle in the winter with storage, getting dry air this past winter in the 26% range, horrible, using humidifiers and even water bowls next to a couple of my cakes.

  4. Cwyn says:

    Sounds good! I keep some cakes in corrugated boxes with a bowl of water, which is advice I got from puerh forums. My loose teas in tins right now are really dry, I have one clay tobacco humidor button but it doesn’t work too well.

  5. Peter says:

    Another wonderful video, of course. Hope I didn’t break any rules by watching (as I’m not American). If so, I will throw myself on the mercy of the court! 🙂

    If matcha puts hair on your chest, Denny, then young sheng (as I am discovering to my regret) will put hair on your entire body!

    Looking forward to a Tea Basics on puer.

    Thanks.

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