New Year New Tea ?
It’s a New Year !
As we do every year, we all start with the best of intentions; to get fit, lose weight, stop the chocolate and alcohol, and really make this year ‘the one’. Little steps are the way forward, we don’t have to do everything at once; join the gym but don’t overdo it, cut down on the fatty foods but lets not go crazy ! We here at The Hazelmere believe that by drinking some of our amazing teas is one tiny step to a healthier lifestyle. We are not claiming that tea will make you look ten years younger, or indeed two stones lighter, but a great green tea with a crisp flavour really gives the palate an awakening – read below about just some of our green teas that we have available in our Tea House or to buy online
Green tea is the least processed of all teas. All tea, (derived from camellia sinensis), contains various antioxidant compounds but green contain more because of less processing – for instance, the difference between raw and cooked vegetables. We serve many different green teas at the Hazelmere but they all share 3 things in common. None are prepared with boiling water – they will become bitter if brewed at too high a temperature. We therefore serve our green teas with a separate jug of hot water. Infusion times are short, (1-2 minutes at the most), as again the tea will become bitter if left to stand with the leaf. We therefore ask please only add enough hot water for each particular cup and empty the tea pot completely each time. The leaves can be re-used many times. In fact it is generally believed in China that the second cup is better than the first, therefore just keep adding the required amount of water each time and continue to enjoy the tea again and again !
Japanese Green Teas
Sencha, Isa Bay, Mie Prefecture, Honshu Island **
The tea is harvested from the first leaves gathered in the spring and once picked, is carefully sorted by hand to remove stalks and broken leaves, steamed, rolled and then dried. The needle like leaves are a beautiful dark, rich green colour producing a slightly cloudy yellow-green infusion packed with vitamin C and yielding a grassy sweet taste with a clean, lime zest finish, delicate and refreshing.
Houjicha, Island of Kyushu **
Houjhicha is made from quality bancha leaf which has undergone a careful oven roasting . Reputedly the concept of roasting green leaves was invented in 1920 by a Kyoto merchant who had a surplus stock of old green leaves and did not wish to waste them. It is a bright and aromatic tea and due to the roasting has a mild, smooth and slightly biscuity aroma and flavour.
Gyokuro, Island of Honshu *
This is green tea at its best ! Gyokuro is Japan’s most expensive tea and is grown and produced with extreme care and skill. The tea bushes are very carefully shaded with mats just as the new buds begin to form—thus reducing light to the bush and forcing it to produce more chlorophyll and darker green leaves. The resulting cup of tea is a pale yellow colour with a wonderfully smooth and sweet flavour. The water temperature for this delicate tea needs to be lower than for other teas and so we will serve it as such. A wonderful drinking experience !
Kukicha, Island of Honshu **
Made from the stems and stalks that are removed from the leaves of other tea production this tea is a pale greeny – yellow colour and has a light fragrant and clean flavour with sweet nutty overtones. Do not be put off by the fact it is produced from stems and stalks as it is a very palatable tea.
Bancha, Island of Kyushu ***
Bancha is produced in summer and autumn . The leaves are coarser due to being picked later in the season and therefore produce a stronger, more astringent cup of tea. Ideal for those wishing for a “ stronger “ green tea without the fragrance of some of the other green teas.
Genmaicha, Island of Honshu **
To make this interesting tea medium grade Sencha, ( a spring harvested green tea ), is mixed with hulled rice kernals and popped corn. It makes a light brown tea with a savoury aroma and nutty flavour. Especially satisfying on a rainy or cold day.