The young leaf buds, having been prepared since the previous fall, are filled with nutrients stocked up by the plant over the long, cold winter. This produces a the highest grade of tea leaf with an extra strong flavor. A blend of machine-cut trim of the youngest, topmost leaves, and leaves handpicked from a select number of the Kinezuka family and partners' best fields at the very beginning of the shincha season this is the youngest tea leaf you can find.
We helped to pick this tea in 2014 at the family's annual spring tea picking event.
Steeping recommendations & Science
Our recommend steeping method is to use water cooled to about 40˚C/105˚F steeped for 2-3 minutes for the best balance between sweetness and umami (savory) flavors.
A more standard steeping method would be to use 3-5 grams steeping in 200 ml of water at 60C/140F for about 60 seconds. The second steep after that can be hotter water, poured in and out of your tea pot without waiting. A 3rd or 4th steep can use hotter water and a longer steep (30-60 seconds).
Remember, hotter water yields more bitterness while cooler yields sweetness. Longer time / more leaves also increases the strength of the tea.
The science: theanine amino acids are plentiful at the beginning of a leaf's lifespan. As the leaf is exposed to sunlight and photosynthesis occurs, catechin (an antioxidant) is produced giving an increasingly bitter flavor to the leaf. This tea, therefore, is rich in the theanine amino acids that produce sweet, savory flavors in the sencha.
Wow! Steeped at about 60C/140F for about 60 seconds instead of the even lower temperature recommended above, the leaf produces a beautiful translucent yellow green color. The liquor is delicately sweet and refined with a notes of citrus in the slightly astringent aftertaste.
- Name: Handpicked Midori First Flush
- Ingredients: 100% Shizuoka-grown green tea leaves
- Harvest: Late April harvest
- Cultivation Notes: Grown pesticide free. Fertilized with organic compost. Machine cut trim of the youngest, topmost leaves, and handpicked leaves.
- Region: Fujieda, Shizuoka
- Vendor type: Family-operated farm cooperative.
- Established: 1976
- Producer: Toshiaki Kinezuka, President, Hito to No, Shizen wo Tsunagu Kai (NaturaliTea)
- Location: 1416-3 Takizawa Fujieda-shi, Shizuoka 426-0134 Japan
About the Vendor
NaturaliTea is a private cooperative of farmers managed by the Kinezuka family, whose own tea fields produce over 20% of the cooperative's teas. Based in the hills of Fujieda, Shizuoka, the cooperative was established nearly 40 years ago by Toshiaki Kinezuka. Farmers in the cooperative develop techniques together to grow tea, rice, and vegetables without the use of pesticides or synthetic fertilizers.
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