Green tea is produced when the leaf is dried and then fired on big pans over fires (traditionally that is) but not fermented. Their taste varies somewhat from tea to tea but it is generally natural, slightly sweet, earthy or vegetal and flowery. Some of the best green tea even tastes of something reminiscent of fish… in a pleasant way that is. It is recognised for its beneficial effects on the human body as it contains anti-toxins, vitamin C, anti-carcinogens, fluoride and helps break down fatty acids. In addition it re-hydrates the body so is good against hangovers.
Organic Lung ching – Dragon Well £3.80 free refill
Legend has it that this tea originates from the banks of the Great Western Lake by the town of the Dragon Well. Winning the award for the best green tea in the world in 1918 Longjing has continued to be enjoyed as the most popular tea by generations of Chinese, as indeed it was for many hundreds of years before. As with all good green tea it has a full vegetal taste with a subtle sweetness. It also has a pleasant effect on the senses.
Fujien White Monkey £4.60 free refill
Occupying a rare position between white and green tea, with white downy leaves interspersed among green, the result is an infusion with all the natural freshness of white tea and floral depths of green. Apparently the name originates from when in the past the tea, cultivated on cliffs and among rocks, was harvested by monkeys especially trained for the job.
Rolling Clouds £4.60 free refill
Originating from the high peaks of Yunnan where the clouds literally roll over the stepped tea gardens this tea comes in the shape of large cloud-like balls of green tea leaves streaked by silver tips. Its fresh clean high mountain taste is well balanced by a body of emerald depth with hints of fruit and rice and a mellow richness that belies description. Yum
Pi Luo Chun – Spring of the green snail £4.60 free refill
Regarded by the esteemed tea-ologist Zhen Jun as the best of teas this remarkably fragrant, naturally sweet green tea’s deep taste comes from it’s burst of delicate downy tea buds; a mysterious hint of mint might also surprise. Indeed this tea was originally known as “tea of the scary fragrance” (Xia Sha Ren Xiang) apparently arising from the rather risqué tradition of ladies picking the tea and storing it between the breasts.
Dragon Eye – tai mu long zhu £4.60 free refill
Whilst relaxing under the shade of an ancient gnarled tea tree as dragons play fleetingly in the air with plumes of fire this is a good high quality tea to sip so as to calm the nerves whilst sharpening the senses.
Not usually found on this side of the planet, it is made of tightly rolled green tea leaves which look like ‘dragons’ eyes’. But don’t worry this tea won’t grab you by the throat! Its darkly refreshing taste and pleasant jungle aroma will have rather the opposite effect.
Izumi Matcha £5.60
When Zen Buddhism spread to Japan in the 12th Century AD, so did the Chinese early medieval practice of making tea. Matcha is made from tea leaves which are steamed then pulverised into a powder. Partaking in this kind of tea became almost inseparable from Zen Buddhism in China and Japan, with elaborate rituals for preparing and drinking the beverage. Though this tradition subsequently disappeared in China, it was maintained and developed in Japan so that today ocha matcha is the tea of the Japanese Tea ceremony.
Only the highest quality sencha is used for matcha. It is prepared by carefully whisking the tea powder in hot water in a large tea bowl. This creates a deep green, frothy liquid with a classically Japanese deep full-bodied seaward taste. Supremely healthy this tea unfortunately has only one infusion, and is really best enjoyed as part of the Japanese tea ceremony.
Genmai Cha £3.80 free refill
A very popular tea in Japan this can be drunk throughout the day in any situation. Its special quality is that roasted brown rice is added to Bancha, creating a uniquely strong rice taste and aroma. Sugar is commonly added. Folklore has it that this tea was originally drunk by peasants as a way of supplementing their diets. Some say that tea, a relatively expensive commodity, was weighted by the addition of rice in the market place as a way of making it go a bit further.
Hoji Cha £3.80 free refill
Made from Bancha this tea is roasted for a greater length of time to create a tea which one could say is the Japanese equivalent of Lapasang Souchong. The taste is rich and complex, slightly toffee with a coffee like aftertaste.
Organic Bancha £3.80 free refill
This good quality green tea is the Japanese equivalent of English Breakfast. It is the most commonly drunk tea, at breakfast, noon and dinner, either alone or with food. Produced from second generation tea leaves this tea still has the strong, fishward, paddy-field hints of greenness that so characterises Japanese tea.
Thai Nguyen Special Grade £3.80 free refill
This is one of the finest green teas available at Tchai-Ovna. With a delicate taste reminiscent of Japanese teas, and yet with a body of jungle depth, this tea is the perfect antidote to fatigue, stomach complaints and even hangovers – as well as instilling a feeling of relaxed contemplation. If, however, you are feeling out of spirits a pot of this emerald brew can bring out a, “yeah, baby I’m ready for anything!” emotion (or have I been drinking too much of it).
This is a rare kind of tea which rarely finds its way into tea-shops. Whilst containing all the natural goodness of green tea, white tea differs from it as it is simply picked and dried. It commonly contains the actual buds of the tea plants as well as the leaves. This tea, when prepared well produces a more natural and sweet yet subtle taste, and has more of the natural goodness that can be lost from green tea in its preparation.
Organic Pai Mu Tan – White tea £3.80 free refill
This exquisite, rare delicacy is made from the first tea buds of spring and dried to produce the tea purely the way nature made it to be. The light, floral taste evokes the dew laden scenery of the luscious green south China uplands from whence this tea originates. This tea deserves to be drunk on its own without the accompaniment of food which may interfere with the palatal effect.