Tea Wing carries a select range of Japanese teas (the owner personally goes to source in Japan each harvest), and matcha is their signature product. I visited the Tea Wing headquarters for a taste, and their offerings were easily best matcha I've tasted in US.
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Just as spring begins to arrive, an unwelcome fever and cold always seems to knock on my door. Whenever that headache/sinus pressure starts to creep up on me, I like to set rules for myself, promising that I'll be spared getting really sick if I drink that whole container of orange juice. I try to push hot liquids like it's my full-time job. So after a day or two of same-old Earl Grey, Lemon Ginger, and Sleepytime, I'm pretty bored with the tea I have on hand. The Parisian tea specialists at Le Palais des Thés recently introduced a new lineup of flavored blends; here's what we thought of them.
Cooling down by surrounding yourself with green is a perfect summer antidote. Fresh, reviving Moroccan mint tea can be prepared to drink throughout the day, and tastes just swell over ice.
Casablanca is one of my favorite movies. It has been since I was little, when I'd watch the film with my father, a man who probably still knows all the lines. He'd sigh over Ingrid Bergman ("Now that was a woman") while I slowly developed a crush on Bogie. I'm still holding out for a man who can make a bow tie look so sexy, and I'm still partial to anything I can associate with the romance of the film. I'm explaining this because only such a deep seated nostalgia would prompt me to pay $22.50 for a canister of tea.
Though the vast spectrum of green teas can range in flavors from delicately floral to beguilingly vegetal, from fruity to earthy and back again, that hasn't kept tea blenders from the temptation to enhance. Flavored tea—from the traditional to the outré—is a concept somehow less brow-furrowing than, say, flavored creamer: at its most successful an organic process of blending harmonious botanicals towards the end product of a sum greater than (or more novel than) its parts.
To have achieved the highest esteem in the world of Chinese teas, your tea had to become an Imperial favorite—the pick of the emperor—too good for anyone but royalty to drink. To become an emperor's tribute tea (gong cha) was somewhat like becoming a made mafioso: the name of this tea would go down in history and legend for generations to come, and be grown and processed with care and reverence, hoping to garner a high price from its legacy. The Imperial Tribute teas, as they were formerly known, are, now that they are permitted for plebian consumption, today referred to as the "Famous Teas". Among their finest is the green tea called Longjing, or "Dragon Well".
If you're a green tea lover with visions of sugarplums dancing in your head, you'll enjoy this seasonal offering from Republic of Tea. This subtly spiced tea makes for a nice change from standard chai—the smooth green tea is just delicately laced with cinnamon and plum. (The flavoring, they promise, is 'all natural.')
The steely green pearls that comprise Gunpowder tea aren't all as malevolent as their name would have you believe. The small rolled balls take their name—according to common legend—from soldiers' and sailors' belief that it resembled their own ammunition's gunpowder. Though the tea pearls do unfurl on immersion in water, it's unlikely a cup will cause you any friendly fire.
A super-mellow accompaniment to both savory and sweet foods, this roasted variation of green tea provides an elegant counterpoint to whatever it's set beside, and may be just the ticket as warm weather gives way to cool fall.
Ginger root dominates over the delicate green tea in this blend, so if you're not a fan of the spicy stuff, skip this one. If you are, though, this is a nice example of warming ginger brightened with lemongrass. It's definitely herbal from the lemongrass and lemon myrtle, and it's a bit grassy-tasting, but not bitter. It will likely calm your stomach after a big meal.
Beguilingly savory and extra-delicate, Japanese gyokuro is a green tea worthy of careful exploration. The great care that goes into gyokuro production comes with a high price point—but will reward you with a deep and unique set of savory flavors that live up to the tea's esteem.
The scent of this tea was immediately appealing—as soon as the bag touched water, a nutty aroma burst forward. It's almost like drinking Honey Smacks cereal: it's rich, full, and smooth, lightly herbal, but not at all bitter. This blend makes the perfect cup to sip on a cool, foggy morning, as long as you're craving that toasted flavor.
I've always eyed the pricey Two Leaves and a Bud teas covetously and curiously—beautiful packaging does that to me. I sprung for it this week. Each sachet is filled with full-leaf organic Japanese green tea and organic orange peel (plus sunflower petals.)
Artichoke tea? Why not? In Vietnam, artichoke leaves are traditionally boiled to make a caffeine-free tea. And since green tea is already a little vegetal, it's a natural pairing. This whole-leaf tea from Adagio has a vivid sweet (almost peachy) scent and the flavor is a little grassy, with only a hint of artichoke leaves. When poured a sample blind and not told about the artichoke flavoring, the folks at SEHQ didn't taste it.
Early spring-picked teas will typically be subtle in flavor with a lighter color in the cup, and some spring-picked greens may almost trick you into thinking they're white teas. But don't be fooled—these young greens have a graceful identity all their own.
When drinking Twinings, I typically stick to black teas like Earl Grey or Irish Breakfast. So I was pleasantly surprised at how much I love their Jasmine Green Tea. It's light and refreshing, with none of the herbal bitterness that is sometimes found in stronger green teas.
Green tea with rice krispies in it? You bet-cha. Genmaicha, having spent long-suffering generations in the category of poor folks' tea, has come into its own in more tea-enlightened years. The unique blend of toasted rice and green tea is one of the more balanced, accessible green teas going.
If you can't quite decide whether you feel like green tea or maté or mint, this blend of green Darjeeling and Mao Feng teas, green yerba maté, spearmint, and green (unoxidized) rooibos may be what you're looking for.
From its traditional, performative hot preparation to its myriad tasty and bizarre food applications, matcha's uniqueness in the tea world comes not only from its flavor but also from its composition.