Tea of the Week: Den’s Tea’s Gyokuro Suimei

My hubby and I are planning on moving into a new home this summer. Choosing cabinets, comparing countertops, rethinking paint samples…it’s been an exciting process. Figuring out what to do with our yard is officially next up on our to-do list. With the wretched California drought staring us in the face, we’re actually having to consider the option of synthetic grass now (boo!). I’m not sure what will become of our yard, but with Den’s Tea’s Gyokuro Suimei I know I can always count on an authentically grassy experience–drought or no drought.
The thin, string-like needles of Den’s Tea’s Gyokuro Suimei produce a richly vibrant green liquor that’s bursting with spring vegetable flavor. One of the marked characteristics of this tea is the color of the brew, which looks and tastes as if the tea was juiced not just steeped. If you like your green tea to brew to true green (not yellow, amber, or brown), then this is definitely the cup for you. 
I love to treat this Japanese green tea as one of my very special green teas, not for the everyday. It’s a slightly pricier tea but absolutely worth it if you are an avid green tea lover. As the days get warmer, this is delicious when prepared as an overnight, cold brew. Enjoying it this way will help to accentuate the fresh, bright qualities of this tea…super refreshing and crisp to the last drop!

Tasting Notes for Den’s Tea’s Gyokuro Suimei:

BREWING TIPS:  Brew at 140 degrees F for 2 1/2 minutes for the first steep. Increase the brew temperature to 160 degrees F for 1 minute for the 2nd steep.
THE TEA:  Rich, dark, needle-thin green leaves. The tea looks like perfectly preserved, cut grass.
THE SCENT:  The scent is reminiscent of seaweed and fresh-cut green vegetables like bok choy, asparagus, or baby kale.
THE STEEP:  The brew steeps to a brilliant, dark, emerald green, as if it were a clear version of matcha. It’s taste is a balance between sweet and savory. The tea is rich with pronounced umami flavor, almost like a green vegetable broth. Mildly sweet and very slightly bitter.
GET IT:  At Den’s Tea’s website.
FOOD PAIRING:  The steeped leaves of this tea are so tender and flavorful that you can actually eat them! I love throwing them into steamed rice that’s paired with light Asian dishes. Try using them in my White Cut Chicken with Ginger Scallion Oil and Tea Rice or as a replacement for matcha when making Matcha Sushi Balls. For dessert, try a cup of this vibrant brew with Coconut Milk Pudding.

Tea of the Week: Den’s Tea’s Houjicha

Fallen leaves crunching under your boots, crisp breezes, and cozy evenings filled with candlelight mark a season worth savoring. While cinnamon or spiced flavored teas often come to mind this time of year, a woody Japanese Houjicha (a.k.a. Hojicha) is one of my favorite fall blends. There couldn’t be a brew more reminiscent of a golden autumn harvest.

Den’s Tea’s Houjicha tea bags contain a roasted green tea that’s strong on toasty, savory notes. This tea brews to a dark chocolate brown, almost like a lightly roasted coffee. But despite its looks, Houjicha is smooth and sweet, low in caffeine, and hardly bitter at all.

As the evenings get longer, Den’s Tea’s Houjicha is a comforting, full-flavored brew to cuddle up with. Throw a few of these delightfully wrapped tea bags in your travel bag or purse and you’ll have a delicious tea to enjoy in any beautiful fall setting. 

Tasting Notes for Den’s Tea’s Houjicha Pyramid Tea Bags:

BREWING TIPS:  190 degrees F for 30 seconds up to 2 minutes. I like a darker brew. This green tea can tolerate a higher temperature than unroasted, vegetal green teas.

THE BLEND:  A roasted Japanese green tea. Cut, twig-like tea leaves, in pyramid tea bags with a notched tag for easy placement on the edge of your teacup.

THE SCENT:  Smells of aged wood, dried leaves, and roasted chestnuts.

THE STEEP:  A clear, dark brew that looks like watered down coffee. Very smooth, mild, and sweet in a caramel-like way. Tastes like roasted nuts with full-bodied flavor and buttery, toasty notes.

GET IT:  At the Den’s Tea website or at well-stocked Japanese markets.

FOOD PAIRING:  This would be perfect with favorite autumn foods like pumpkin, pecan, or sweet potato pie. Also a delicious complement to Pumpkin DangoMaple Pumpkin Cupcakes or Pumpkin Butter Mochi. And since the tea is distinctly savory, it would be delicious with roasted vegetables (brussels sprouts!) or squash (butternut!) and even Thanksgiving turkey.