What kind of tea taste do you like?
Nowadays there are so many tea companies available with their range of teas ranging from black to green, powdered tea, flavoured tea, homeopathy teas etc Many tea companies have a never ending range of flavours from vanilla to liquorice.... all created by artificial flavouring aromas and scents. However, there is a beauty of flavours only appreciated by high quality natural tea leaves. You can enjoy the depth of its original flavours which no artificial flavouring can mimic. Lets explore the range of flavours we get from our Japanese green teas.
There are various taste preferences for tea flavours, such as sweet to firm bitterness.
The components of “taste” necessary for delicious Japanese green tea are sweetness, umami, bitterness, and astringency.
In a delicious tea, these four are combined in a balanced manner to create a taste.The strength of each element is one of the characteristics of the taste of tea.
As many of you know, there are five basic tastes that can be felt with the tongue: sweet, salty, sour, bitter, and umami recognised by our sensory nerves.
So what gives Japanese teas its unique flavours? Off course all the nutrients picked up by the leaves from the soil and water play a huge role in the flavouring of tea, along with the quality which is determined by season, climate, harvesting and farming process, roasting process and the region its grown in.
The ingredient of astringency is "catechin"
The components of “sweetness and umami” in tea are mainly an amino acid called theanine which is abundant in Japanese green teas.
The “astringency and bitterness” felt from the green teas are from components called catechin and tannin. It also gives the depth of the tea taste. These two polyphenols are the antioxidants found in Japanese green tea and matcha which in turn has more health benefits. You can read more about health benefits in the article "Matcha Benefits. what are they?" on this website.
On top of these flavours, we appreciate the aroma of the tea through our nose which then creates a better flavour profile of the teas.
Sencha: a term for ordinary Japanese green tea: often described as fresh, clean cut, cleansing, subtly sweet to bitter. The depth of sencha various in region due to different steaming and roasting levels.
Gyokuro: the king of senchas. This is one of the most highest quality and expensive form of green tea. The theanine levels are so high which gives the most unique deep "umami" and floral aroma. Delicate and appreciated by tea masters. Those who are unaware of it may find the umami too strong to handle.
Matcha: a fine unique Japanese tea powder. The highest quality is a traditionally stone milled, first flush first harvest also known as "ceremonial premium matcha". Along with its vibrant green aroma, it gives a excellent creamy, smooth, floral aromatic finish with a sweet after taste. Depending on region umami can be also strong.
Hojicha: roasted Japanese green tea. An autumn tea, traditionally for after dinner as its almost decaf. The tea is almost burnt at 180c so it gives a very smooth nutty, caramelised aroma and subtle sweet flavour. The stems are more delicate and gives a sweeter glow.