Benifuuki and Kamairi Sencha Kiiro Teas - Chado March 2022
Drink Green Tea for St Patrick's Day
Yesterday was Saint Patrick’s Day which is celebrated around the world, including many parts of Japan that now have parades. Celebrations usually involve, amongst other things drinking green beer. As we are a green tea seller we would prefer if all these people would drink our green tea but in the spirit of greenness generally, we hope everyone had a Happy St Patrick’s day and not too much of the other green stuff was imbibed!
This month we would like to suggest two types of tea for you to try.
The first is Benifuuki Green Tea.
Benifuuki tea is popular with our customers especially at this time of the year and into the summer season. Benifuuki is thought to help allergy sufferers. We tend to emphasize the flavor of our teas and the happiness they can bring as pleasing beverages rather than for their health benefits. But Benifuuki is widely regarded as helping with allergies as it has an abundance of O-methylated catechins. If you wish to read more about O-methylated catechins and Benifuuki please see the information posted here from the Japanese National Agriculture Research Organization and similar articles.
Benifuuki is an interesting tea for a number of reasons. Like many teas, it is a cultivar produced by combining two tea plants. The tea was originally developed to produce black tea. The processing of the tea to create black tea destroys the O-methylated catechins. The green tea version of Benifuuki is very high in O-methylated catechins because of the non-oxidizing process used to produce green tea.
We carry two types of Benifuuki green tea. To release maximum amounts of O-methylated catechins, it is suggested to brew with water at boiling point and to steep for a few minutes. Doing this makes the tea very strong, some of our clients like to add honey to provide a sweeter tea. Research has found that adding shredded ginger seems to improve the O-methylated catechin effect.
Our naturally grown, not certified, Benifuuki green tea Classic. As the O-mehylated catechins are found more in the second flush than the first flush, our Benifuuki Classic uses the second flush leaves and is a non-oxidized green tea.
Benifuuki is produced in a few regions of Japan and the plants have an inherent resistance to diseases and the ability to grow in different climates. Our Benifuuki green tea Classic is produced in Shizuoka.
We have been selling this Benifuuki for over 10 years and its popularity continues especially around pollen season.
Our other Benifuuki is JAS-certified organic Benifuuki first flush tea. This is a very unique tea in that the production method utilizes very high steaming temperatures. A special machine usually referred to as a super steamer steams the tea for a short amount of time at 300°C(572°F). Because of this high temperature and the slight withering in the production process, this tea has a lower level of catechins than the Benifuuki classic. Even though it is suggested to still brew at the same high temperature because of the effects of the very high temperature steaming and withering, this brewing method does not impart such a strong taste and makes the tea very fragrant almost like Kamairi Pan-fired tea.
Our second type for this month is Kamairi Pan-fired Sencha Kiiro which has a similar fragrance to the organic Benifuuki tea.
Kamairi Pan-fired Sencha Kiiro:
As mentioned above the majority of Japanese green tea is steamed after harvesting. This tea is actually pan-fried (or pan-fired), not steamed. The name of the tea, Kamairi, literally means kettle roasting. Roasting the tea is an alternative way of processing and stopping the oxidizing of the harvested tea.
Another unique feature of this particular pan-fired tea is that this tea is organically grown. No pesticides or chemical fertilizers are used for this tea. Tea leaves are grown on an organic farm on the mountainside of TenRyu region in Shizuoka. The tea does not have a JAS certification confirming its organic credentials because the product has a small production run and the producer has not applied for organic certification as of yet.
The pan-fired process makes the tea very aromatic and palate-cleansing. Yellowy liquor Kamairi Sencha is good to drink alone or as a nice accompaniment to meals.
Please join us at Sakura day in Vancouver on April 9th and 10th at VanDusen Botanical Garden.
We are happy to invite you all to come and say hello at our booth during the Sakura Days celebration as part of the Vancouver Cherry Blossom Festival.
We have missed having this event in the last couple of years but it is back for 2022 and we are very happy to be presenting. Set in the magnificent buildings and gardens of the VanDusen Botanical gardens in Vancouver, this event brings many Japan-themed presentations and displays. If you have not been able to attend before we recommend it highly if you can make it. If you have been before we are sure you would enjoy a repeat visit. Please visit their site for more information.
For our readers who are not able to get there, we will have some photos in next month’s newsletter.