Deep in the forests of Kirishima, a highlands to the south of Japan, stand fields of lush green tea bushes. Severe regional temperature differences between day and night intensify the developing flavor of each leaf. Five generations of master tea harvesters have tended and overseen its fields, harvesting pure tea leaves every spring since the Meiji era.
From the steaming of the leaves to the tea bags hand-sewn by the Hayashi family, every step of the process is an artful tradition handed down through the years. Our collection of classic teas, brought straight from the Hayashi house to yours, is an excellent introduction to the varied and historic world of Japanese green tea.
Ippodo Tea Co. is a family-run business located in the heart of Kyoto that has been blending high-quality green tea for nearly 300 years. Their tea leaves are harvested in the lush Uji region of Japan, the country's oldest tea-growing area. Ippodo's shade-grown teas, in particular, are globally renowned among dedicated tea drinkers for their balanced taste and delicate fragrance.
sHADE VS. SUN GROWN
One of the most important factors in determining the taste of different Japanese tea varieties is how much sunlight the leaves received. Tea grown under a shaded canopy have a richer taste and more intense aroma, while leaves grown in direct sunlight have a milder taste and lower levels of caffeine.
Our matcha (powdered green tea) and gyokuro teas are shade-grown, while our other sencha (loose-leaf green tea), genmaicha (green tea with brown rice) and hojicha (roasted green tea) are grown in direct sunlight.
fOR OPTIMAL FLAVOR
Our teas have a fairly short shelf life because they have no additives or preservatives; once opened, the tea should be consumed within 2-4 weeks. Flavor can be affected by exposure to air, heat, moisture, light or strong odors; for the best possible taste, store leaves at room temperature, away from direct sunlight and in an airtight container.
We regularly publish articles on our Journal pertaining to Japanese tea. Read through our series here.
Asatsuyu Green Tea and Gyokuro
Bring water (~80 mL) to a boil, then pour into a teacup to cool. Wait 30 seconds, then pour water into an additional cup. Pour this directly over 2 tbs. (10g) tea leaves in pot. Let sit for 1 minute and 30 seconds, then pour out to the last drop and indulge.
Kanaya Midori, Kirishima and Meigetsu Green Teas
Bring water (~210 mL) to a boil, then pour into a teacup to cool. After 30 seconds, pour water over 2 tbs. (10g) tea leaves in pot. Let sit for 1 minute, then pour out to the last drop and savor.
Bring water (~80 mL) to a boil, then pour into a teacup to cool. Wait 30 seconds, then pour water into an additional cup. Pour this directly over 1 heaping tsp (1.8 g) of sifted matcha in a bowl. Rapidly mix powder into water with a chasen (bamboo whisk) for 15-30 seconds until foamy, then pour into preheated teacup(s). Drink before the powder has time to settle at the bottom of the cup.