The spring months are the most exciting time of the year for tea aficionados across the world. They are highly anticipated, as nature's awakening, marks the first teas of the New Year.
Spring teas stand out not only for the freshness of their aromas and the sweet, concentrated flavours that they bear, but also for the refreshing sensation they give to the drinker. Qualities, mainly acquired, thanks to the unopened buds and the earliest leaves of the tea tree that are then plucked and manufactured. These buds and leaves store up all of the strength and nutrients of the plant, which over the previous few months had been hibernating, as protection against any extreme weather or insect attacks.
The best timing for plucking and manufacturing the first flushes varies somewhat from place to place. Factors such as soil, altitude, microclimate, weather conditions, horticultural practices followed and the requirements of the tea to be produced, in terms of cultivar or production method, are all taken very seriously by the producers.
In Darjeeling, India, for example, the spring tea harvest begins in late February or early March and goes on until April, giving the teas their mountainous, floral and fruity- muscatel aromas.
In Japan, shincha teas, or the first teas of the New Year, are produced from March while Gyokuro teas appear from April. These Japanese teas stand out for their fresh, "green" flavour and their strong umami quality.
In China, after the spring festivals, the farmers begin the production of the teas which are known as Qing Ming, by plucking leafsets of one bud and one or two first tea leaves. It/s all about the finest teas; light and sweet, they bear vegetal flavours along with fruit and flower aromas.
Join us, and welcome three first flush teas which embody the freshness of spring and enjoy buoyant sales for the next month!
High quality Gyokuro green tea from Yame, Fukuoka. You will be equally impressed by the dark green, glossy, needle-shaped leaves which have been plucked and processed by hand. You will also enjoy the spinach, butter-flavoured liquor which forms a thick broth. In order to accentuate its subtleties, use more tealeaves and a lower steeping temperature. We suggest 2 teaspoons of tea leaves for 150ml of water, steeped at 50-60°C for 3 mins.
From one of the most famed gardens of Darjeeling, lying at 1700m, this first flush tea will definitely give you the stirring-of-spring spirit, bearing marked aromas of lemon blossoms, white grapes and white peach skin along with woody notes. To prepare, steep 1-2 teaspoons of tealeaves for 250ml of water at 85°C for 3 minutes.
This quintessential green tea, also known as "Dragon's Well", comes from Zhejiang province. It consists of flattened leaves with yellow hues and will leave you astonished both with its velvety texture and its flavours of roasted chestnuts and cooked greens. A tea to refresh and uplift your mood. Steep using 1 teaspoon of tealeaves for 250ml of water at 75-85°C for 3-4 minutes.
Enjoy your spring teas with 2 original Japanese recipes!
- Cook the rice
- Season the Gyokuro Yame tealeaves with some soya sauce and serve on top of the rice
2. Green tea with rice (Ochazuke ? Cha-cha Gohan)
- 250gr. of cooked rice
- 150ml Gyokuro Yame tea liquor
- Steep the tea according to our suggestion and pour over the rice
- If you wish, sprinkle some sesame seeds or accompany with salmon or shrimps