My first green tea memory is etched in my tastebuds. I’d picked up a pack of green tea bags from a supermarket.
Curiosity got the better of me, having heard all about green tea’s reported miraculous health benefits. So decided I needed to try it.
My only previous tea experiences were earl grey, and a few herbal infusions. All in teabags, the horror!
Popping the kettle on, I placed the green tea bag in my favourite Eeyore mug with the tag carefully looped around the handle. Gleefully sloshed the boiling water over the teabag and waited a wee while. Surprisingly, I didn’t get distracted by life and within five minutes fished the bag out.
That first sip… So bitter, yes I did that bitter face pucker. Why would anyone drink green tea!
Where is the light refreshing liquor I was promised by Big Tea company? Certainly not in my cup, poor Eeyore he deserved better.
Out of sheer stubbornness I soldiered through the entire box of green tea bags. The final mug was amazing, but only because it was finally over.
Fast forward to 2005, in deepest darkest China when I had the honour of attending my cousin’s wedding. I was handed a paper takeaway cup at a family gathering. Eyeing up the small rolled green leaves at the bottom of the cheap up, I braced myself. Please tell me this is not the dreaded green tea.
Pouring not quite boiling water over the leaves released a sweet refreshing scent which unfolded in the room, lingering and enticing.
That first sip, sweet honeysuckle notes unravelled on my tongue. More refreshing than cool water on a summer’s day, this was what Eeyore and I had been promised on that fateful day.
So why are the green tea bags you buy here always mouth puckeringly bitter?
It comes down this.
Green tea only experiences one extra step after white tea in the production process.
Fresh Camellia Sinensis leaves are left to wither, either in the sun or indoors. Once they start to release an intoxicating aroma, they are then either steamed or pan fired. When the now olive green leaves are ready they experience rolling or shaping. This next stage has the best name and is referred to as the ‘kill green’ process which halts any oxidisation and keeps the leaves a vibrant green.
Due to this the green tea leaves have a high water content, so they are at their best for only a year or two after their harvest date.
That’s why we store all our green tea in a special tea fridge to ensure maximum freshness. There are no refrigeration areas in the tea aisle!
So what was it I bought in the supermarket that day?
Well it turns out that as far as green tea bags are concerned the weight sketch in Little Britain wasn’t far off – because inside those bags is ‘dust’!
Low quality dust or fannings (bigger bits of dust), causes a faster infusion time than whole leaf tea.
So, if you want to experience the exquisite taste of the real thing then check out our stunning Biluochun green tea and join us in the discovery of real tea.