Sunday, 16 January 2011
The Ultimate Green Tea
Whist having a Twitter chat with blogging chum Caroline, No recently (gosh aren't we modern and multimedia) I realised it has been quite some time since I wrote a purely tea-based post. I have to admit it, delicious cakes can sometime overshadow the humble cuppa in my posts, but never in reality: cake is massively diminished without a great cup of tea to go with it.
And today I have a really wonderful tea to recommend to you. I've heard so many people say that they think green tea is OK but it's a bit bitter or sour. When I hear this I turn into a slightly scary tea evangelist shouting about water temperature (I'll save you from that now, see previous post here) and quality leaves. The water temperature is easy enough to get right when you know how; but quality leaves, well that's a different story.
Now I'm not one of those tea snobs that feels that any tea you can buy in a supermarket is not worth drinking (I regularly work in places with nothing on offer but a bag of PG Tips if I'm lucky) but I will say this: once you discover really good tea, it's very hard to go back. As far as I'm concerned this is as much the case with Breakfast Tea as it is with herbal infusions, but it's with green tea that I think quality really stands out. My trip to Japan earlier this year was, of course, amazing in terms of drinking quality teas and especially some amazing Senchas. But I think the lovely astringent grassiness of Sencha can sometimes be a bit much for the new green tea fan. The one I want to recommend to you today has been one of my favourite green teas since my very first sip.
I realise I'm in danger of becoming something of a groupie of this company, but Postcard Tea's Lao Shan Green is really something. So many of owner Tim's teas rank among my favourites that I find myself coming out of his off-Bond Street shop with a massive spring in my step every time I visit. Partly it's the lovely chilled atmosphere; partly it's the wide variety of carefully sourced tea from tiny independent producers, often utilising ancient bushes; but largely it's about Tim and his colleague Lu's enthusiasm and knowledge about the product. It was this enthusiasm that resulted in my discovery of the Lao Shan green.
A beautiful fresh and slightly fruity-tasting tea, made correctly there's none of that bitterness that can put some people off green tea. There's a lovely roundness about the flavour which manages to be comforting and refreshing all at the same time. Anyhoo, I'm no Jilly Goolden so I'll leave the waxing lyrical there but if you find yourself curious about green tea - or even if you're a confirmed fan - I can't recommend it highly enough. My tea cupboard has never been without it since I first tasted it a year or two ago. And given how overflowing my tea cupboard is that is praise indeed.