Tea Tv Episode 3 : Japanese Tea With Christine At Samovar

Jesse Jacobs: Hi! I’m Jesse and I'm here today at Samovar Tea Lounge in the Mission-Castro of San Francisco with Christine Savage from Samovar. And we're here today to talk about Japanese green tea.

So these are all green teas, so maybe you can tell us a little bit about how they get to looking so different.

Christine Savage: What makes each of these teas look so different is the way that they're processed. So, when I say that this an asamushi style sencha, what that means is that it's a lightly steamed sencha, it's only been steamed for about 30 seconds before it's final drying process. So what that results in is a stylish-looking tea, which means that the leaves are long, shiny, and needle-like leaves. And this will produce a kind of golden, yellowish green infusion.

This is a houjicha, with this the twigs and the leaves had been taken from the plant and then roasted, so you get this sort of amber color and also this darker brown leaf. The [01:20] bobocha [ph] is an example of a fukamushi sencha. When I say that that means, it's been deeply steamed. It's been stained for 90 seconds, and while an asamushi style leaves the leaves intact, fukamushi breaks up the tender leaf.

This processing was introduced about 30 years ago in order to deal with declining water quality in Japan, and so this produces a much greener sweeter more opaque brew, which is…

Jesse Jacobs: Wow…

Christine Savage: …you know, a quality sought after right now, which senchas. It's very delicious.

And then this one here is an example of again, maicha, we call this a ryokucha so we have a sencha, a steamed Japanese green tea mixed with toasted rice and matcha powder. So, it gives a really green, green infusion, which is what ryokucha means, green tea.

This one here is called spring twig and it's a kukicha, in matcha blend, and they call it spring twig because the stems that you see here, "kuki" means stem, so it's a stem tea. The stems that you see here are from the spring harvest. So they're really high in polysaccharides and very sweet. And then to that we've added a matcha powder, so you get this really sweet creamy infusion.

And this final one, this powder here is the matcha powder. And this is a famous traditional Japanese tea that's used for tea ceremony. And the way that it's processed is the leaves are grown under shade and then for one month under total darkness, which really makes the chlorophyll grow, you know, overproduced in the leaf which make it a vibrant green and makes for a sweeter leaf also.

And then this tea after the leaves are picked it's de-boned or they take the little stems out of it, and then you just have the leaf itself and then they take that and they put it inside of a stone mill, which is like two stones turning in opposite direction and then out falls this beautiful green jade powder.

Jesse Jacobs: And what do you have on your left?

Christine Savage: Well, this here are all the implements that you would need to prepare matcha powder, you got the matcha powder in here. A scoop, to scoop out the matcha powder. The whisk, to whisk up the matcha powder inside of the bowl.

Jesse Jacobs: Well, thank you Christine for this amazing education about Japanese green tea, I think that it's time that we start drinking.

Christine Savage: All right.

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