Spring Means Japanese Greens
Oh yes, I have a new toy. I recently picked up a second Kyusu pot. The Kyusu teapot is a traditional Japanese-style teapot, typically crafted in ceramic, and commonly recognized by it’s distinct side handle (though not all Kyusu pots are of this style). I’m in love with the design–the entire teapot fits right in my hand, should I want to walk with it, and I find pouring from the side much more intuitive. I couldn’t have picked this up at a better time, as well.
For whatever reason, I always find myself flocking back to Japanese green teas when the weather starts to heat up in Spring. There’s something about that steamed quality of Sencha Tea & Genmaicha Tea (pictured), that subtle dance between grassy & umami flavors, that just hits the spot when the sun is shining. If there’s a single word you can attach to the distinct flavor of Japanese teas, it’s refreshing.
There are a few reasons these teas come out with this distinct flavor profile. Sencha, Japan’s most commonly imbibed tea, is steamed after picking. In fact, almost all Japanese teas are treated this way addition to that, a marked difference from China’s traditional pan-firing method of tea treatment. Senchas, along with the all powerful gyokuro (as I call it), are also often grown under shade for a period of time, bringing out the more vegetal flavors and bright green color of the leaf.
If you’re feeling experimental, Genmaicha is an excellent tea with which to mix things up. This tea is growing more and more popular in North America, and for good reason. Essentially, Genmaicha is a Sencha blended with roasted and puffed rice. It brings a nutty quality to the tea, which I find brings a phenomenal balance to the grassy bite of the Sencha leaf. Oh, I love this time of year.