I am constantly asked if I have a favorite tea. This question always seems to catch me off guard because simply, the answer is no. My tea desires are in constant flux. It can depend on any number of variables: my mood, what I have eaten for breakfast, the time of day. Perhaps the most influential factor though, is the time of year. In Vermont, the seemingly endless stretch from the beginning of February to the end of April can be difficult. The long transition into spring can spawn anticipation and uncertainty. Ironically, this time of year, I am most certain about my choice of tea!
With the dawn of spring approaching, I welcome the bright awakening of green teas. I find myself particularly gravitating towards Japanese greens and have been starting most of my mornings with a pot of Kabusecha. The soft sweet notes evoke this tea’s youthful nature. Before these leaves are harvested each spring, the tea trees are covered in shade for seven to fourteen days. The plant’s limited exposure to light will increase the levels of chlorophyll and amino acids in its leaves. In turn, the plant will yield tender leaves and stems that will generate a gentle and delicate cup of tea. The slightly grassy, rejuvenating properties of Kabusecha set fertile ground for me as the cold continues to linger and inevitable change and growth draw near.
Of course, new spring harvests are on their way! Their arrival will truly set spring in motion.
Suggested brewing techniques for Kabusecha:
I cool the water to about 70-80 degrees Celsius (about 155-175 degrees F). I find that the cooler the water, the softer and sweeter the tea. I use a Kyusu or a side handled pot for brewing Japanese green teas. Let the tea infuse for about 20 seconds. Note that this tea can get bitter very fast! This tea is great for multiple infusions. Enjoy!