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Ceremonial Grade Matcha (Japan)

Taste: umami, sweet, rich vegetal
Aroma: vegetal
Mouthfeel: creamy, smooth, thick

Standard Matcha (Japan)

Taste: umami, vegetal
Aroma: vegetal
Mouthfeel: thick, smooth, brisk


About Green Teas [+]

Green teas (lu cha) are well-known for their fresh grassy flavor and health benefits. For example, in China, people drink green tea for nausea and consider it a tea that helps with headaches.

Farmers predominantly produce lu cha throughout China, Japan, Korea, and Southeast Asia during the spring growing season. That is March through May. Today, China is by far the leading country in this tea's production, followed by Japan. 

Tea artisans employ various methods of firing the freshly harvested leaves to prevent the naturally occurring oxidation process and preserve the leaf's fresh green qualities.

Compared to other tea types, green teas undergo the most minimal oxidation. We categorize them by the following firing methods and craftsmanship techniques: steamed, pan-fired, oven-baked, half-roasted, half-baked, hot-air roasted, and sun-dried.


History of Asian Tea — Lu Cha 

Green tea is known to be the oldest tea type in existence. It is also by far the most popular tea type in both China and Japan. However, it didn't become popular in the rest of the world until the 1900s. Before then, most other countries enjoyed drinking black tea. Chinese farmers produced black tea to be exported to the West because it could undergo long travels without spoiling, unlike green tea. 

Now that teas can be quickly shipped and transported, people worldwide can enjoy the fresh taste of lu cha almost immediately after harvest. 

Green tea originated very long ago, preceding Black, White, Oolong, and Pu-erh teas. Now, it is practically impossible to trace it back to its roots. However, there are a variety of legends associated with the inception of this tea. Some tell of a tea leaf falling into a cup of hot water. On the other hand, others speak of a man who ate a leaf and thought it would taste delicious if steeped in water.

No matter whichever legend is true, green tea was camellia sinensis leaves steeped or cooked in hot water thousands of years ago. At that time, people did not yet know how to process the leaves as they do today, and the leaves have not undergone oxidization. It was tea in its most natural form.  

The first tangible notes on lu cha history date back to the 8th century. Then, people discovered that if they steam the tea leaves, it will alter the oxidization. Then, in the 12th century, people began frying the tea leaves. Both of these processing methods introduced teas with a characteristic fresh, un-oxidized taste similar to modern lu cha. With time, the popularity of this refreshing Asian tea rapidly increased. In turn, production methods and the processing of tea have also continuously evolved and improved.

Tea drinking became a well-established part of Chinese culture and society by the Tang Dynasty (AD 618-907). During the Tang Dynasty, a more pronounced tea culture began to formalize together with tea ceremonies. Naturally, the steaming technique of the tea leaves gradually progressed, allowing for the production of better tasting, less bitter, green teas. During this time, people enjoyed tea in the form of powder, making a frothy tea commonly mixed with spices. Much similar to present-day matcha. 

Lu Yu and the Cha Jing

During the Tang Dynasty, around 600 AD, the most essential tea book was written in China — the Cha Jing by Lu Yu, otherwise known as the Tea Classic. To this day, this book is highly revered by tea enthusiasts worldwide. Furthermore, it remains an important historical document and an insight into the daily Chinese life of the time. 

In the book, Lu Yu describes in great detail how exactly to make and serve a cup of green tea. There, he lists necessary tea utensils, health benefits, and spiritual observations. Today we know Lu Yu as the true founder of tea art. In the tea industry, he is sometimes even worshipped by tea producers as the deity of tea or the tea god. 

Japanese Green Tea

Green tea made its way to Japan during the Heian Period (800s). However, it wasn't until the Kamakura period (in the early 1200s), where people truly began mastering it. Soon, it turned into an art form and a huge part of Japanese culture. 

Green tea was brought to Japan by Buddhist monks. When it made its way to Japan, it arrived in the same form that it was enjoyed in China at the time — in powdered tea form. Otherwise, we know it as matcha. 

It wasn't until the 17th century that people began drinking loose leaf green tea, sencha. Drinking sencha made tea available for a wider audience, as matcha was available only to the elite. 

Japanese green teas differ quite a lot from Chinese ones. Japanese green teas are usually a dark green tea color, with smaller, more fragile tea leaves. The taste is very grassy, with hints of seaweed and well-noticeable umami. We love Japanese teas, like gyokuro green tea and matcha, as they are great for getting tea high or tea drunk. Furthermore, matcha is an excellent energizing tea that helps you focus. 

Today there exist countless types of lu cha. Gunpowder, Bi Luo Chun, Dragon Well Tea, and Dragon Pearl Jasmine Tea are the most widespread Chinese green teas. While Sencha, Genmaicha, Hojicha, and Matcha are the most popular types of Japanese green tea.


Does Green Tea Have Caffeine?

All teas made of the Camellia Sinensis tea plant have caffeine. Many new tea drinkers are under the impression that green tea contains either very little caffeine or, on the contrary, much more caffeine than black tea. However, caffeine content actually has nothing to do with the tea type. 

Those teas that are made from young tea leaves and buds have, indeed, higher caffeine content. Furthermore, shaded, nitrogen-fertilized green teas also have more caffeine. This is more common in certain Japanese teas


Is Tea Acidic? 

Many people who enjoy drinking tea ask about the pH of tea (acidity of tea). Each tea type has a different pH level. For example, the acidity level of lu cha ranges from 7-10, while black tea is around 5. In general, loose leaf tea leans towards the alkaline side and is not acidic. 

Does Tea Go Bad?

How long does loose leaf tea last? Teas don't go bad. But, at some point, they may start losing taste. All teas go stale sooner or later. However, teas go stale at different rates. For example, pu-erh, especially raw pu-erh, is on one end of the scale — it can last a lifetime if properly stored and only gets better with age! 

Green tea, however, is on the opposite side of the scale. We shouldn't store it for over one year. Furthermore, there are specific ways we can store this tea to prolong its life, like:

  1. Refrigerate unopened tea packaged until ready to drink (up to 1 year)
  2. Keep the tea leaves away from light, heat, odors, and moisture; in an airtight tea container
  3. Try to enjoy within three months of opening 

How to Make Green Tea Taste Good

How to make green tea sweeter? If you wish to make a good cup of lu cha, paying attention to the water temperature and brewing time is crucial. This tea type requires a low temperature, so hot water and lengthy steeping times give us an overly bitter-tasting drink. This is due to the water releasing tannins, which are directly responsible for the bitterness in tea. Carefully follow the brewing time and water temperature, and you are sure to have a fresh, sweet-tasting green tea!

Most lu cha tastes best when brewed at low water temperatures of around 175-185ºF (80-85ºC). However, many Japanese green teas, such as Gyokuro, should be brewed at a much lower temperature – 150ºF (65ºC).

Also, make sure not to over-steep! If you are brewing in the good old Western-style manner, make sure to set the alarm on your phone for no more than 3 minutes. Once the alarm rang, separate the leaves from the brew. You can do so by removing the leaves or by decanting the tea into an empty vessel.

Is it Better to Drink Green Tea Cold or Hot?

If you wish to drink Chinese tea hot, we suggest brewing it following the ways of gong fu cha: in small brewing vessels and concentrated quantities. This way, if you have craft tea, you can get its best taste. 

Another great way to enjoy tea is enjoying it cold. While iced tea is popular worldwide, we recommend making a cold brew with your top tea. Cold brewing tea slowly extracts all the subtle flavors of the tea leaves. Furthermore, you can be sure you will never end up with bitter green tea. 

We wouldn't say that one or the other is better. More so, it will depend on the preference of the tea drinker. Is it a hot summer day? Surely some cold-brewed sencha would be refreshing! Did you just purchase a freshly harvested batch of Lu Shan Cloud Tea? In that case, you might want to try it hot first by brewing it gong fu style!