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  • Kate Malone Hesser

Spring Teas continued!

Last week I was able to take some time for a formal cupping of some new 2022 spring teas. Unfortunately I had already finished all of my First Flush Darjeelings by the time these arrived, but it would have been wonderful to add those to the set!

My sample included five 2022 green teas from China, Japan, and Taiwan - all purchased from Stoneleaf Teahouse in Middlebury, Vermont:

  1. Taiwan Bi Luo Chun: Wiry, dark green and gray leaves, pale white-gold liquor, salty flavor with brothy consistency and a tiny touch of sweetness

  2. Yunnan Mao Feng: Downy, curly light green and gray leaves, pale green liquor with a touch of blue, subtle celery and water chestnut flavor

  3. Shizuoka Shincha: flat needle-like, bright emerald leaves, vibrant light green liquor with smooth flavors of broccoli and spinach

  4. Kagoshima Shincha: very similar needle-like leaves, green-yellow liquor, slightly sweeter than the Shizuoka with fuller body and subtle grassy notes

  5. Uji Shincha: Similar leaves, bright green liquor with a touch of blue, flavors of cattails, cucumber, and a surprising note of honeydew

These particular teas called to mind some of my favorite spring experiences:

  • the unique smell in the air of salt water combined with new buds on the trees

  • the first farmers market of the season when you have your pick of kale, arugula, scallions, watercress, asparagus, and rhubarb

  • the first time you cut the grass

  • and so much broccoli!

During my cupping, I found each of these teas to be unique, especially the Shincha varieties. All three were bright and flavorful with lots of umami, but also very smooth. I love the flavor of bitterness in food and in tea, but Shincha provides an opportunity to explore the other, subtler qualities of Japanese green teas.

I have kicked off the "summer," which for me starts on Memorial Day, with daily drinking of at least one of these green goddesses. They leave me feeling refreshed, energized, and ready to take on the rest of the day.

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