April/May 2013
Volume 4, Issues 4 & 5

WFMT 98.7 FM - SHINCHAS 2013

Yellow Iris


Welcome to this issue of our newsletter.


 Lake Forest, Illinois     

  Iris Flower

New Teaware - Kyoto


April of this year, TGT visited Kyoto and was assisted by Lindsey Stirek, a former  TGT Teaista who is now studying at the famed Urasenke School of the Tea Ceremony, and selected new teaware (as shown in the above photo) to replenish TGT's inventory of fine porcelain matchawan (tea ceremony bowls). The new porcelain teaware from Kiyomizu, in Kyoto, reflects various styles, some traditional and others, modern.  Please visit TGT to inspect these beautiful new tea bowls.

98.7wfmt - Shinchas  2013

Broadcast and streaming globally, from Chicago WFMT FM 98.7, from April through May, TGT announced the arrival of the first shipments anywhere in the U.S. of three unique Shinchas, the first flush of 2013, Kagoshima, Kyoto and Shizuoka.  These exquisite green teas are the first pickings of leaves from several of the finest green tea estates in Japan.  Please visit or contact TGT to taste and order them for yourself or friends. From past experience, our limited supply will  be depleted soon. They are the most delicate and ephemeral of any teas, green or otherwise, which you will ever enjoy.


Origin: Kagoshima (Steeping 70 C or 158 F for 1 min. 30 sec.)


Kagoshima Shincha 2013 R

Tasting notes:  Deep green, needle-like tea leaves.Before infusion, the leaves are fragrant with a mild roasted bouquet. A uniquely refreshing Shincha 2013 (first flush) with a satisfying astringency and somewhat herbaceous with vegetal notes.  The liquor is a light green/yellow in color with a highly structured flavor and distinctive umami.  Truly, a fresh breath of spring in the green tea world.  





Origin: Kyoto (Steeping 70 C or 158 F for 1 min. 30 sec.)   

  Shincha Kyoto 2

Tasting notes:  An elegant Shincha 2013 (first flush) with deep green, tightly-rolled tea leaves.  Before infusion, a mild fragrance with vegetal notes.  Controlled astringency and a clean, sweet aftertaste, with pronounced umami. A sophisticated and subdued Shincha characteristic of the Uji region.


Origin: Shizuoka (Steeping 70 C or 158 F for 1 min. 30 sec.)


Shincha 2013 Shizuoka  

Tasting notes:  Dark green, needle-like leaves.  Before infusion, a nutty and toasted fragrance.  The steeped tea is deep green/yellow.  A bold Shincha 2013 (first flush), picked and then almost immediately steamed in the tea processing facility located in the middle of the large tea estate on the highest elevation of Shizuoka.  The steaming takes less than 20 seconds and then lightly dried, providing a green tea which is silky in mouth feel and more astringent to provide the discerning green tea enthusiast with a distinctively bold spring-like flavor, bouquet and refreshing after taste.



(Transcript of TGT Commercial Announcing Shinchas 2013)

wfmt commercial  

    F & B Event - JETRO                      


TGT was honored to be invited to participate at a major food and beverage event at  Kendall College, the largest and oldest culinary school in Chicago and sponsored by the Japan External Trade Association (JETRO Chicago) and the Consulate General of Japan at Chicago.  Over 40 different importers and distributors of fine Japanese foods and beverages provided samples and information concerning their products, all imported from Japan, to over 300 executive chefs, restaurant owners, premium retailers and food and beverage industry consultants.  The purpose of the event was to promote the greater utilization of these products not generally found in the foods and beverages of the U.S.  Lectures and demonstrations by famous chefs utilizing uniquely Japanese ingredients were well-received.  TGT provided samples and a wide variety of literature on its teas, confections and Toraya yokan.  The samples were well-received.




TGT Display Table 




Teaistas Shirlee Englese and Joseph Stellner (GM) at Kendall College



  Jetro Image 3    

 The Green Teaist at Kendall College   



National Restaurant Association Show

National Restaurant Association

The annual National Restaurant Association Show was held in May at McCormick Place in Chicago.  It is the largest food industry show in the U.S.  TGT visited the show and learned about the latest technologies and innovative products changing the landscape of American cuisine.  One interesting observation was the tremendous increase of companies offering RTD ("Ready To Drink") beverages, mostly flavored teas.  However, there wereno pure, unflavored green teas in an RTD format.    


TGT has decided not to enter this segment of the tea industry as it does not believe that the highest quality green teas of Japan will retain their distinctive aroma, flavor and other attributes associated with the finest green teas, especially because a bottled formula may require preservatives or other chemicals to avoid spoilage.  In most cases of RTD teas, usually not from Japan, the flavoring is used to cover an inferior grade of tea which, by itself, would not be sufficiently flavorful.  





Finest Iced Green Teas

This summer, TGT will provide two different iced green teas, changing weekly, from our selection of over 30 different types and grades of the finest green teas of Japan.  They will be prepared fresh daily and utilize new iced tea dispensers from France, introduced at the NRA show.  We will serve the iced green teas as part of the menu or to "take away."


The first week will feature TGT Blend and Kyobancha, shown to advantage in their respective new iced tea dispensers.  Just enjoying the beautiful hues of the green teas in the clear iced tea dispensers will be part of the iced green tea experience.  We look forward to serving you with the finest, iced green teas of Japan, in their freshest and purest forms, in the truly elegant manner they deserve, not in plastic bottles with preservatives, sweeteners and flavorings.


Take Away Ice Tea Blend   

Teaistas Joseph Stellner (GM) and Chanalee Hochareon  


Take Away Iced T   

 New Iced Green Tea Dispensers from Table De France & Christofle    


Take away ice tea w/cups   

Iced Teas "Take Aways"  




The popular press, in magazines, newspapers and television and radio have devoted more lineage and reporting on green teas and possible health benefits.  They sometimes cite scientific studies to support such benefits, but are also anecdotal in nature and may not satisfy those who wish to have more scientific validation.


In addition to the prestigious American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition has, for many years, assembled and published academic and scientific articles on green teas, their chemistry, effects and health benefits.  Major universities and research facilities around the world have completed many studies on green teas and continue to do so.  Both of these Journals are alert to these studies and appear to publish the best of them.


Those individuals seeking a better understanding of the botanical, medical and nutritional aspects of camellia sinensis and, green teas of Japan, in particular, would do well to review the vast clinical literature on this subject, one that is attracting increasing interest from scientists around the globe.  They will then be in a better position to independently determine whether green teas provide certain health benefits and should become a part of their daily lives.   Some of the recent findings regarding the antioxidant benefits of green teas, as well as the effect of green tea on various aspects of aging may be of interest.   



A recent article from the New York Times is an example of popular reporting on green tea and is reproduced below. 



                      May 23, 2013


 What's in Your Green Tea? 

                  By: ANAHAD O'CONNOR

A basket of freshly picked green tea leaves at a farm in Fujinomiya, Japan.  
Everett Kennedy Brown/European Press photo Agency 
A basket of freshly picked green tea leaves at a farm in Fujinomiya, Japan.

For many, no drink is more synonymous with good health than green tea, the ancient Chinese beverage known for its soothing aroma and abundance of antioxidants. By some estimates, Americans drink nearly 10 billion servings of green tea each year.


But a new report by an independent laboratory shows that green tea can vary widely from one cup to the next. Some bottled varieties appear to be little more than sugar water, containing little of the antioxidants that have given the beverage its good name. And some green tea leaves, particularly those from China, are contaminated with lead, though the metal does not appear to leach out during the brewing process.


The report was published this week by ConsumerLab.com, an independent site that tests health products of all kinds. The company, which had previously tested a variety of green tea supplements typically found in health food stores, took a close look at brewed and bottled green tea products, a segment that has grown rapidly since the 1990s.


It found that green tea brewed from loose tea leaves was perhaps the best and most potent source of antioxidants like epigallocatechin gallate, or EGCG, though plain and simple tea bags made by Lipton and Bigelow were the most cost-efficient source. Green tea's popularity has been fueled in part by a barrage of research linking EGCG to benefits like weight loss to cancer prevention, but the evidence comes largely from test tube studies, research on animals and large population studies, none of it very rigorous, and researchers could not rule out the contribution of other healthy behaviors that tend to cluster together.


Green tea is one of the most popular varieties of tea in the United States, second only to black tea, which is made from the leaves of the same plant. EGCG belongs to a group of antioxidant compounds called catechins that are also found in fruits, vegetables, wine and cocoa.


The new research was carried out in several phases. In one, researchers tested four brands of green tea beverages sold in stores. One variety, Diet Snapple Green Tea, contained almost no EGCG. Another bottled brand, Honest Tea's Green Tea With Honey, claimed to carry 190 milligrams of catechins, but the report found that it contained only about 60 percent of that figure. The drink also contained 70 milligrams of caffeine, about two-thirds the amount in a regular cup of coffee, as well as 18 grams of sugar, about half the amount found in a can of Sprite.


Another phase of the study looked at green tea in its more natural forms - loose tea leaves sold by Teavana and tea bags sold by companies like Bigelow and Lipton. A single serving of Teavana's Gyokuro green tea, about one teaspoonful, was chock-full of antioxidants, yielding about 250 milligrams of catechins, a third of which were EGCG. It also contained 86 milligrams of caffeine, slightly less than a regular cup of coffee.


A single bag of the green tea sold by Lipton and Bigelow contained somewhat smaller amounts of antioxidants than Teavana's green tea and generally minimal amounts of caffeine. But Teavana's recommended serving size was large, and the tea was also far more expensive, resulting in a higher cost per serving. The report calculated that the cost to obtain 200 milligrams of EGCG ranged from 27 cents to 60 cents with the tea bags, and $2.18 with the Teavana loose tea leaves.


But the most surprising phase of the study was an analysis of the lead content in the green tea leaves. The leaves in the Lipton and Bigelow tea bags contained 1.25 to 2.5 micrograms of lead per serving. The leaves from Teavana, however, did not contain measurable amounts.

"Lead can occur in many botanical products because it is taken up from the ground," said Dr. Tod Cooperman, president of ConsumerLab.com. "The green tea plant is known to absorb lead at a higher rate than other plants from the environment, and lead also can build up on the surface of the leaves."


Dr. Cooperman said the tea leaves containing lead probably originated in China, where studies have found that industrial pollution causes the leaves in some regions to gather substantial amounts of lead. The Teavana leaves came from Japan, where that is less of a problem, he said. The decaffeination process also helps remove lead.


Still, the study found that there was no real prospect of a health concern from the lead. The liquid portions of the teas that were brewed and tested contained very little if any of the metal, Dr. Cooperman said.


"The majority of the lead is staying with the leaf," he said. "If you're brewing it with a tea bag, the tea bag is very effectively filtering out most of the lead by keeping those tea leaves inside the bag. So it's fine as long as you're not eating the leaves."