The Green Teaist Newsletter    

                                                                                                      April 2011

 Volume 2, Issue 10  



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Shincha 2011




This past week, The Green Teaist received from Kagoshima and Kyoto shipments by air of Shincha 2011. Kagoshima is at the southern end of the Japanese archipelago. Kyoto is in central western Japan and is the seat of Japanese culture similar to Florence, the seat of Italian culture. Both of these premium tea-growing regions are far removed from the recent devastation which has affected northeastern Japan.   


The term "Shincha" is generally used to emphasize that it is the year's earliest tea.  In Japan, it has traditionally been said that if one drinks tea made of the new leaves picked on the 88th day after the spring equinox (February 4), one can enjoy a year of good health.  The fanfare with which the Shincha harvest is celebrated in Japan is comparable to similar seasonal celebrations across the world such as Nouveau Beaujolais in France.


The distinctive and assertive flavor profile of this seasonally favorite Shincha encapsulates the essence of spring in a tea cup.  The full herb-like quality and refreshing astringency are a result of the concentrated nutrients contained in the tender new leaves, which the tea plants have stored up during the dormancy of  winter.  Shincha is characterized by a relatively low content of bitter catechins and caffeine, and relatively high content of amino acid.  All tea lovers owe it to themselves to experience the almost impossibly fresh and vibrant, yet delicate, flavor of  Kyoto and Kagoshima Shincha 2011. Shincha 2011 is the epitome of umami.  





Thomas Schroeder 




 "Kan-Fruit" is now being served in the TGT salon at the Lake Forest, IL location.  



(Poached Pear, Poached Apple or Spanish Mandarin Orange)         $7.50


"Kan-Fruit" makes for an extraordinary pairing with our pure green teas of Japan. Already in use in cutting edge professional kitchens around the world, Kanten is a most unique and versatile 100%  vegetarian ingredient from refined seaweed that TGT plans to utilize in numerous recipes to come.


It also has dietetic attributes in terms of zero calories and carbohydrates, including its natural ability to limit excessive consumption of foods, thus contributing to a desirable and healthful weight loss program.



TGT Beverly Hills Featured in World Tea News






Table Theater

25 Apr 2011

By Howard Riell, World Tea News Contributor





The 24-seat Green Teaist entertains guests as much with its tableside theatrical presentation as it satisfies them with a first-class selection of teas.

Manager Anna Diaz

The shop, like its 30-seat sister location in the North Shore Chicago suburb of Lake Forest, serves more than 25 varieties of green tea - Sencha, Genmaicha, Yamecha, Kukicha,Gyukoro, Bancha, Hojicha and a TGT Blend among them - as well as light accompaniments such as chocolate truffles, tea sandwiches, tea waffles, and Matcha Panna Cotto.

But what keeps many of its regular patrons coming back is the service, education, ambiance - in short, the theater of serving freshly brewed tea.    



Indeed, General Manager Anna Diaz calls the theatrical element of the Green Teaist experience "actually the most important. The ambiance here is very Zen-like. We want people to come in here and enjoy tea."

A step-by-step breakdown of the theatrical experience that Green Teaist loyalists have come to expect looks like this:


1. It begins with the servers' logoed uniforms: black slacks, green shirt - the color of tea -- and black vest.

2. Next comes what Diaz calls the establishment's "beautiful eating arrangements." Guests are presented with a wooden tray with eight glass vials containing tea leaves. "We present these to the table. When you open up one of the vials you can actually savor the aroma; you can see the freshness and the quality of the leaves, what you're actually going to get in your cup. We go through tasting notes and descriptions of each tea to help the customer decide on which one they'd like to try first. In our salon area we only serve premium grades of tea." In the tea cellar, where prepackaged leaf teas and boxed tea bags are sold, customers have a choice of extra premium, premium and regular grades.

3. The stylish lacquer tray used for service carries a tea pot; pre-measured bamboo tea scoop with the proper amount of leaves that will be steeped in the tea pot in front of the guests; a white carafe with pre-tempered water; a timer; and strainer. Says Diaz, "The temperature of the water is going to be different depending on which tea you've selected."

4. After presenting the glass vials filled with leaf tea, guests are served a Gyokuro Frisson - Gyokuro steeped over ice. This is prepared in an ice teadistiller. Gyokuro Frisson is a palate cleanser and is to be sipped as a fine wine."


5. Next, says Diaz, "the bamboo scoop will be presented to the guest, and the server may say, 'This is eight grams of this kind of tea.' The guests will see the leaves presented to them, they'll savour the bouquet. Then we'll take the bamboo scoop and pour it into the teapot" which also varies depending on the variety chosen.



6. "And after that we'll take the pre-tempered water and pour it over the leaves and start the timer. For instance, if we're going to be doing Gyokuro we'll be doing three minutes. We'll steep that, place your tea cups - which are pre-heated - down, and place the strainers inside them."

7. After the tea is steeped the server will pour from tea cup to tea cup to balance the flavor of the tea. "If there are two guests we'll pour half a cup for the first then half a cup for the second," says Diaz, "then come back one more time to each and fill it to three quarters. We do this to balance the flavor of the tea."


8. Finally, she adds, "you also get a chocolate truffle with your tea, a little bit of sweetness to accompany it. And that's it. It's more of an educational presentation that we're providing. The guests are always fascinating because they get to watch the tea steep and the leaves unravel."


The Beverly Hills location is open from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, and on Sunday and Monday for private events such as tea parties and baby and bridal showers. 




Raku Matcha Gift Set 





 Create a personal tea ceremony experience at home with this  Raku Matcha Gift Set. This seven piece set includes the essential tools for making and enjoying the special green tea from Japan called Matcha. A handmade Chawan (Raku Ware which is found only in  Kyoto in the famous pottery village of Jurakudai whose trademark is a unique black clay which is hand formed and glazed), the traditional  Chasen (bamboo whisk) and Chashaku (long handle tea scoop), ceremonial  fukusa (tea cloth) in a vibrant orange color, a stainless steel Matcha sifter, and a  green porcelain Chasenoki (bamboo whisk stand), all presented on a beautiful lacquered wooden tea tray.  Gift box included.






TGT Matcha Gift Set






The Green Teasist has also put together a special Matcha Gift Set.This seven piece set includes 20 grams of Fugen no makushi (extra premium) Matcha in the stainless steel TGT tea caddy, a Chawan (porcelain tea bowl), traditional Chashaku (tea scoop) and Chasen (bamboo whisk), Fukusa (tea ceremony silk cloth) and wooden Nokomenegoro tea tray.  Gift box included.   




Orders may be placed by calling (847) 735-0400 or by email,




The Green Teaist Library

Book Review 





(The Green Teaist offers the most extensive collection of books on teas around the world, their history, provenance, practices and customs, with emphasis on the green teas of Japan.You may wish to browse  the more than 30 titles at TGT Lake Forest and a more limited collection at TGT Beverly Hills. We review each book in our expanding collection and, perhaps, interest you in increasing your understanding of teas.)



The Harney and Sons Guide to Tea, Michael Harney, 226pp, The Penguin Press: 2008, $25.95


Michael Harney of the eponymous Harney & Sons, one of the most prominent tea merchants in the U.S., has written a very modern and definitive survey of the tea landscape from a consumer standpoint.  Even if the reader is only familiar with a few tea brands such as Lipton or Twining and, perhaps, green teas and oolong teas in favorite sushi or Chinese restaurants, this clearly written description of the immense and varied world of teas will be a mind- and taste-opening experience.


The enduring charm about teas is that they have been an essential  part of civilization for thousands of years, compared to coffee which is relatively new and around for only a few hundred years.  The book provides a historical context for the manner in which teas were developed for different cultures and taste perceptions.  It also makes understandable the different processes used to produce the leaf teas which are primarily responsible for differences in flavor and bouquet, from Darjeeling to Oolong to Sencha each, primarily, a product of differences in withering, pan-firing, sun-drying and steaming.    


The most valuable aspect of the book is in providing the tea consumer with a careful understanding of many varieties of teas from around the world.  The author provides comments on the provenance of each of these teas, their processing and the best manner to prepare teas, from service ware, water temperatures and steeping times.  Ultimately the book is probably the most complete work available as an overall guide to almost every tea that can be found in this market.




Hoken S. Seki     


From the Corporate Office  

Tea Community Relief Efforts  


TGT is planning a Shincha 2011 tasting on Sunday, June 26, 2011, at one of the leading restaurants in Chicago, in conjunction with the Urasenke School of the Tea Ceremony. The event will benefit the Japanese Red Cross Society and we invite you to join us. We should have details shortly.




Japanese Red CrossJapan and America are more than trading partners. The tea community is very close as evidenced by the many ways the industry has rallied to provide support in this crisis. The links below describe several ongoing programs. Tea Community Japan Relief Efforts List 



Quake Crisis Response Links  | Japan-America Society Relief Efforts

International Medical Corps| Unicef| The American Red Cross