Saturday Morning Tea

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Good morning, dear tea friends! As the wind howls outside my windows, I dream of spring and those thoughts have led me to my morning tea – a Japanese green tea called Spring Harvest Sencha. This tea is a rare treat as a tea of this high grade is usually not exported outside of Japan.

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As the name suggests, it is a spring harvest, like a first flush Darjeeling. The most well known Japanese green tea is Sencha, which is harvested after Shincha, the very first tea of the spring. With each subsequent harvest, the tea becomes stronger and darker with leaves of lesser quality and price. The exceptional quality of this tea shows that it was an earlier harvest.

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Japanese teas are recognizable by their grassy, needle-like shape. The shape is attained by sending the leaf through a series of rolling machines. Paddles move the tea back and forth over metal ridges while heat is applied so the leaf is slowly formed into its needle shape.

I steeped the leaf for 2 minutes in 175 degree F water. Some Japanese tea lovers will use a lower temp and steeping time when preparing their tea. I have found that this works best for my taste.

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The tea liquor is a pale spring green with a delicate vegetal aroma. The flavor is quite sweet and light with only a whisper of a vegetal note. I usually find Japanese green teas to be much more vegetal tasting than this tea is.

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This tea allows me to show off my new Cherry Blossom mug, a wonderful birthday gift from my lovely daughter. It came with a ceramic infuser basket but I don’t really see myself using that basket as the holes are much too large.

I’ve been fighting off a virus this week, which has left me feeling tired and washed out. I feel refreshed and rejuvenated after several cups of this wonderful tea.

As always, thanks for stopping by and sharing a cuppa with me!

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”

~Anne Bradstreet

Saturday Morning Tea

This morning I felt like having something fresh and clear and green so I turned to a spring harvest Japanese Sencha called Uji Shincha.  The word “shincha” literally translates to “new tea”, referring to the harvest of only tender young spring shoots to produce this wonderful tea.

The dry leaf reminds me of dark, glossy grass clippings. It gives off a fresh, sweet aroma as I open the sample packet in preparation to make the tea.

For steeping this very special leaf, I used my Yokode Kyusu, commonly known as a Sencha teapot, with the handle being on the side of the teapot. The Japanese word for teapot is kyusu.

As the leaf is very tender, I steeped it for only 40 seconds in 175 degree F water.

There is a fine mesh screen on the inside of the spout so I could steep the leaves directly in the water.

The aroma is fresh and vegetal like new asparagus shoots. The spring green liquor tastes quite vegetal with an interesting bittersweet quality that is best described as umami. The best word to describe umami is savory.

This tea really wakes up my tongue with its intensely fresh, savory flavor.

I’ve so enjoyed my time off this past week, spending a lot of it trying out some new jewelry ideas in my studio. I’ve also been working on finishing the painting in my guest bedroom by finally tackling the molding in there. I’m pleased to say that it’s almost done! I have a household to-do list tacked to my fridge and have slowly but surely been crossing things off as my time and budget allows. Do you have one of those lists?

Enjoy this beautiful weekend, dear tea friends!

“Take control of your destiny. Believe in yourself. Ignore those who try to discourage you. Avoid negative sources, people, places, things and habits. Don’t give up and don’t give in.”

~Wanda Carter, writer