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Sipping Sunday Away

What better way to spend a weekend than tasting teas and watching the rain fall? What should you look for when tasting your next cup? Here I’ll consider several teas available through Yunomi. Together let’s discover their benefits and taste differences!IMG_4195

By now most people are aware of the powerful health benefits associated with green tea consumption. The antioxidants present in green tea protect cells from damage. What’s more, green tea can improve physical performance and aid in weight loss. The low amount of caffeine present in green tea will leave you feeling energized without the same jittery feeling many people experience after drinking coffee. Due to its antibacterial properties, green tea is slow beneficial for dental health and can lower the chances of infection. Overall, drinking green tea is the perfect supplement for a healthy lifestyle.

Suisen Sencha Green Tea

Ono, Yamaguchi, Japan

Sencha is prepared through a process of steaming and rolling Japanese green tea leaves. Being the most popular type of tea in Japan, Sencha is a staple in many Japanese households.

Onocha Tea

Onocha Tea

This particular Sencha, called suisen (翠泉) in Japanese, hails from the Ono region of Yamaguchi Prefecture. Tea from this region has a unique taste thanks to the red soil from which it grows. My experience with Yamaguchi Sencha was a flavorful tea that had a good balance of sweet and bitter flavors.

Yamaguchi Sencha boasts fragrant green leaves and a delicate sweetness that makes it perfect for drinking casually throughout the day. The thin, piney leaves were a deep green dotted with traces of yellow.

I steeped 5 grams of tea for just 1 minute in 60℃/140°F water. This tea can be successfully resteeped up to 3 times. The flavor will change slightly with each steep, offering a less sweet and more earthy flavor the second time around.

Yabukita Midori First Flush

Shizuoka, Japan

Yabukita is the most popular cultivar in Japan and accounts for more than 80 percent of sencha produced. This plant is able to adapt to a variety of soils and climates, allowing for high quality, reliable yields.

The tea I tried was grown organically in Shizuoka Prefecture without the use of pesticides. The farm is located in the hills of Fujieda, Shizuoka and is family owned.

The tea itself was very easy to sip on, offering a flavorful but not overbearing taste. Slightly reminiscent of honeydew,  I thought it was a great afternoon “pick me up” tea.

Yabukita Midori First Flush

Yabukita Midori First Flush

Upon first sight, I noticed the vibrant green needles mixed with the occasional yellow-golden leaf. Steeped for just 1 minute at 70℃/185℉, this tea is quite sweet for a sencha. The aroma is both grassy and fresh with a hint of floral undertones. The coloring is a beautiful medium green/deep yellow. 

As mentioned in the included instructions, this tea may be re-steeped several times before the flavor is thoroughly exhausted. I steeped mine for one minute and thirty seconds the second time. Naturally, the flavor had weakened from the first cup but I still found it to be delicious and sweet.


Genmaicha (Brown Rice Green Tea)

Kyoto, Japan

Genmaicha goes by many names. Some call it the “people’s tea” because it was originally enjoyed by poorer Japanese people, the rice acting as a filter to make their green tea last longer. Other people may refer to it as brown rice tea or even “popcorn tea” due to the way the roasted rice looks.

The rice adds a sweetness to the tea by infusing natural sugars and starches into the nutty tea. This tea is perfect to drink throughout the day and is very gentle on the stomach.

This genmaicha was harvested in Kyoto, Japan. The tea leaves were an intense green color and the brown rice was perfectly mixed throughout the leaves.

The tea itself was a beautiful bright green color with a nutty flavor and earthy aroma. The leaves were long and thin, the rice toasted a medium brown. I prepared a cup using 5 grams of tea in  90℃/195°F water. One should note that genmaicha should be steeped at a higher temperature than other green teas.

Upon first steeping, I first noticed the brown rice taking over the aroma. The toastiness of the brown rice worked really well to complement the flavor of the green tea. The second and third steeps were naturally weaker than the first but still made for a very drinkable cup. The caffeine left me feeling energized but not jittery. I will definitely be ordering this one again!

Tsuyuhikari Green Tea Powder 

Shizuoka, Japan 

Perhaps the most unique tea I tried during this tasting period, the Tsuyuhikari Green Tea Powder from Fukushima Tea Farm was truly an interesting experience. Tsuyuhikari Powder is difficult to find outside of Japan so I was very excited to have the opportunity to make this tea.

Tsuyuhikari Green Tea Powder

Tsuyuhikari Green Tea Powder

Grown in Shizuoka, “Tsuyuhikari” plants are rarer than the other yabukita teas I’ve written about above. At the farm, the tea is ground into a powder using a stone mill in a way that is very similar to the production of matcha. The most fascinating aspect of this tea is how versatile it is. Tsuyuhikari can be mixed with milk, alcohol, or even used in baking! Try your own zany combination to add a sweet green tea flavor to almost anything.

It was surprisingly easy to make. First, mix a small amount (1/3 of a teaspoon) with a small amount of  hot water (80℃/176℉) to make a paste. Afterwards, mix in as much hot water as you’d like to create your desired strength. As recommended on the packaging, I used a sifter before mixing the powder. Fine powders sometimes stick together so the sifter will prevent this.

The resulting tea was beautiful, a striking emerald green color that shouted at me from the cup. Upon first sip, I realized this tea is not astringent and is surprisingly sweet. I experimented with both stronger concentrations and iced variations. The stronger tea was a bit too bitter for me but, when properly mixed, this tea is perfect for almost any occasion and is very quick to make and serve. I’m in love with this natural green tea powder.

Victoria Garafola
Victoria Garafola

Victoria is an American writer living in Osaka, Japan. She enjoys traveling to new countries and experiencing foreign culture.

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