March 2020, And all that's Green
Going along with the theme of St. Patrick’s Day, we’re talking lots of green in this month’s newsletter. From two great deals on the greenest of green teas, Matcha, to two incredible new green teas just added to our collection, we’re pretty sure you’ll be green with envy until you get your hands on some of these teas for yourself. So, turn up the green and read all about it.
March Matcha Madness
It’s that glorious time of year again when we highlight the most healthful and potent tea on our menu: Matcha. There really is no comparison to other teas when it comes to realizing all the benefits associated with the incredible tea plant (Camelia Sinensis).
You’ve long heard about the benefits of tea, especially green tea, when it comes to anti-oxidants, its positive effects on metabolism, cholesterol and blood sugar. But, traditionally-steeped teas yield only about 30% of the leaf’s full benefits as not all of the nutritional properties of the leaf are water soluble. With matcha, the tea leaf is finely ground and ingested, allowing you to benefit from 100% of the leaf and not just what is rendered from traditional steeping.
Like so many things on the grocery store shelf, not all matcha is created equal. In fact, matcha sold by one of the largest coffee and tea companies in the world contains upwards of 80% sugar; and that’s before they pump syrup into the cup. Yikes!
As such, we remain extremely proud of our matcha as it is simply 100% pure, certified-organic matcha produced without sugar, starches or other fillers.
Our Ceremonial Grade matcha is made from a single cultivar of the tea plant, specifically, Saemidori. This particular cultivar is often used for making high quality Gyokuro (a prized and rather pricey Japanese green tea). The cultivar is widely appreciated for being more subtle (less grassy and astringent) than cultivars used to make other green teas. Furthermore, the plant is shaded in the weeks immediately prior to harvest as a means to intensify many of the essential properties of the leaf while adding a gentle sweetness.
After harvesting the young leaves, they are briefly heated, cut and dried to form Tencha. Our tencha leaf is then aged in cold storage for a period of about nine months prior to being slowly ground into the fine talc-like powder we refer to as matcha (mat-cha = ground-tea). The aging process further mellows the flavor, producing a smooth and enjoyable cup without the bitterness or grassiness found in lower quality versions. This is the perfect version to enjoy on its own, for special occasions or even day to day as a healthy boost for mind and body with its powerful vitamins and minerals.
Our Culinary Grade matcha is made from a blend of several cultivars, some of which are simply easier to grow and, thus, less expensive. Instead of using just the youngest leaves of the tea plant, a mix of early growth leaves are harvested for this blend. As such, the final taste is not as subtle or as sweet as the Ceremonial Grade matcha. However, when using matcha as an ingredient in recipes such as cookies, ice cream, smoothies, lattes and such, the stronger taste and higher astringency level become less apparent given the presence of other ingredients in your recipe. However, you’ll still enjoy a nutritious matcha boost! And, for some, the culinary version is enjoyed just on its own.
March Matcha Madness Special #1
Get a handmade Bamboo Matcha Whisk for just $7.00 (reg. $17) with purchase of our Organic Certified Ceremonial Grade Matcha 100 gram package. No codes required. Just put the 100g bag into your “cart”, then add the whisk and you’re all set. Limit one specially priced whisk per customer please. Offer ends 3/31/2020. You’ll also enjoy free shipping on the order!
March Matcha Madness Special #2
Enjoy once-a-year extra savings on our 30g Ceremonial Grade Matcha tin now through March 31, 2020. Sale price: $22. (Yes, this same grade sold for $34.50 in our old retail shop!)
(Longjing Qing Ming)
Dragonwell tea, or Longjing, is considered the most prestigious of teas hailing from the birthplace of tea itself. While there are many "grades" of Dragonwell and "Longjing-style" teas available, our Qing Ming Longjing is a delicious and authentic example of this revered tea. Longjing has been cultivated for over 1200 years and for many centuries was reserved and accessible only to the most noble and privileged.
Our Qing Ming Longjing is organically cultivated at an elevation of about 2400 feet on Tian'mu Mountain in Hangzhou (Zhejiang province). It is the highest grade of Longjing plucked during the Qing Ming season - a highly celebrated period marking the beginning of spring, celebrating life, beauty and the season of renewal. Germination of our Longjing is just slightly later than conventional (fertilized) versions this tea. It is made using the earliest buds and youngest leaf, meticulously hand-harvested around April 4-8.
The tea is made from the traditional Qun Ti Zhong cultivar, considered the oldest Longjing species on record, dating back to the Tang Dynasty. It is the lowest yielding and slowest germinating cultivar used to make Dragonwell tea, adding to its most desirable taste, rareness and high favorability.
From a cupping perspective, this beautiful Longjing presents a warm and comforting aroma and taste. We are enamored by its creamy body and its lingering, sweet and slightly nutty finish. We invite you to enjoy a taste of royalty.
Introducing: Huanshan Mao Feng
From the dense forestry of the Fuxi Village in Huangshan (Anhui Province), this enchanting Mao Feng green tea is grown at an altitude of around 2000 feet. The area is filled with streams and soil rich with minerals. This highly fragrant special grade tea is made from the Huangshan Zhong cultivar, plucked at its prime in early April. The area is known for wild orchids growing on the banks of local streams and on the tea garden itself. This exquisite tea is reminiscent of those orchids, having a fresh, sweet and floral aroma and taste.
The term Huangshan stands for "Yellow Mountain", home to many famous varieties of green tea. Altogether, Huangshan Mao Feng roughly translates to "Yellow Mountain Fur Peak" due to the fine hairs covering the leaves and the unique peaked shape of the leaves resembling the peak of a mountain. At the time of plucking, just prior to the infamous Qingming Festival, only the youngest leaf and bud are picked.
This is one of our most fragrant, sweet and delightful pure leaf green teas, having a supple mouthfeel and virtually indiscernible astringency. It is graceful in every aspect.
That’s pretty much a wrap for this month’s news. We wish you a pleasant March and hope you’ll share in our celebration of all things green!
Thank you for reading and for your loyalty to our small, independent business. It’s a tough world out there and your enthusiasm and patronage truly make a difference.