January/February/March 2015

Volume 5, Issues 1,2 & 3




Cover Page Jan & Feb 2015

The Green Teaist will be receiving by air shipment, during April and May, this year's first flush of premium green teas from Kyoto.  They will be available in 3.5g biodegraable tea sachets,   Please note that the TGT website now includes Shincha 2015, and advance orders may be made at this time.  The finest Shincha is from the Uji region surrounding Kyoto and because of domestic demand in Japan for this exquisite tradition of spring, quantities are limited.  We look forward to being able to reserve Shincha 2015 for your enjoyment.


In feudal Japan, each spring, the Shogun arranged to provide Shincha for himself and the Emperor of Japan.  The selection and shipment was personally overseen by the Shogun's officials and entailed a procession of retainers to make certain that the Shincha was carefully selected and safely received.  Then, as now, Kyoto Shincha was considered the most desirable green tea fit for nobility and royalty.  In "Japanese Inn - A Reconstruction of the Past" (1961), Oliver Statler describes the ritual of bringing back Shincha from Kyoto:


At the top of the list was tea from Uji, an area near Kyoto which then as now was considered to produce the finest tea in all Japan.


Every spring three high officials left Edo (now known as Tokyo) with a retinue of about two hundred men.  In their care were the Shogun's three precious tea canisters, pots number one, two and three, each carefully packed in a large box, plus about forty less exalted vessels for less exalted tea.  Each was now empty.  It was the official's mission to refill them and bring them back.


The first and finest crop of tea was harvested in April or May.  Then the thirteen most honored tea-growing families of Uji carefully selected their choicest leaves for dedication to the Shogun.


When the party arrived from Edo, they went into full-dress session with the two families of Uji celebrated as the nation's greatest tea experts.   Each man, after carefully cleansing his mouth, tested the tea by tasting a sip of the brew.  Satisfied, they packed the tea in the jars they brought, left two or three in Kyoto as a gift to the Emperor, and set out for Edo, accompanied by a patrol of guards.


With the tea in their possession, they outranked every other traveler on the road.  There was no daimyo so powerful, no Imperial messenger so illustrious, but that he had to give way to the Shogun's tea.


As the excerpt indicates, the Shogun was the real power behind the throne and retained most of the Shincha for himself.  The Emperor was fortunate in being able to receive the small portion of Shincha which the Shogun was willing to share.


"Report by Joseph Stellner, The Green Teaist General Manager"

JETRO Tea Buyers Mission

Provides Opportunity for The Green Teaist


At The Green Teaist, we are passionate about sharing the exquisite flavor and beneficial qualities of the finest green teas of Japan. Since 2008, our goal has been to serve the perfectly prepared cup of green tea for our patrons to the  Salon de Thé Vert et L'Atelier in Lake Forest, Illinois. Procuring the freshest, most authentic and delicious teas of superior quality is of the utmost importance to our commitment of providing an excellent tea experience for our guests. Being selected to participate in the JETRO Tea Buyers Mission this past November was certainly a wonderful opportunity and I was honored to represent TGT at this event.


Through the gracious sponsorship of JETRO, I had the opportunity to visit Shizuoka and Kagoshima, two famous tea producing regions in Japan. Travelling through the countryside, my colleagues and I marveled at the beautifully manicured tea fields blanketing the landscape. Touring the tea farms provided our group many insights and deepened our appreciation of the centuries old tradition of tea cultivation in Japan. While at an organic production facility, we had the chance to observe tea being processed through the final stages, which produced a wonderful, delicate aroma that I will not soon forget. The excursion to Ochiai Cutlery Company, a manufacturer of an impressive array of tea harvesting equipment, was very educational and provided much information regarding the modern technology utilized to maximize green tea crops. At Takoman Confectionery Company, sampling the delectable sweets produced there was a wonderful treat. Not only was my sweet tooth tempted by the variety of European style cakes, traditional wagashi and other local favorites offered, but my interest was also piqued by the assortment of desserts featuring green tea as an ingredient. Providing a delicate and complementing flavor as well as natural, yet vibrant color, these special confections showcase the essence of a superior green tea and that special je ne sais quoi that it brings when used as a culinary ingredient.


Of course, the most invaluable experiences during the Tea Buyers Mission emanated from the individualized meetings with local tea growers and suppliers. During the course of the summit, I had the unique opportunity to personally meet with representatives from over 20 different tea companies. Local merchants and producers were eager to share tastings and samplings of their offerings while highlighting the special qualities which differentiate their products in the marketplace. Through the assistance of interpreters provided by JETRO, we were able to make real and lasting connections which will serve to strengthen the business partnership on all sides of the tea trade. Representatives graciously answered questions from the tea buyers regarding their products and it was a pleasure to have the opportunity to share my perspective on sourcing and purchasing green tea in the international market with the suppliers. Participating in the mission was also a wonderful opportunity to develop connections with the other American and European tea buyers in attendance. The opportunity to share knowledge and forge relationships in this unique and exceptional way will undoubtedly be an incredible asset to The Green Teaist in our continuing business endeavors.


I am grateful to JETRO for the many treasures gleaned during my trip to Japan attending the Tea Buyers Mission. The majestic vistas of the landscape have left a beautiful impression in my mind's eye. The hospitality I experienced during the trip has left a warmth in my spirit. I have returned with a rejuvenated inspiration to share with as many as possible the purity, harmony and sense of well-being that accompanies the experience of partaking in the finest green teas of Japan.






The "Best of the Best," pairing, for the first time, the award-winning TGT Blend of Sencha, Kukicha and Matcha in a box of ten sachets together with a collection box of five petite Yokan from the legendary Toraya, gift-packaged as shown. The pairing of green tea with traditional tea confections dates back to the beginnings of the tea ceremony. Ideal as an elegant "any occasion" gift for an esteemed friend or as a well-deserved indulgence. Available exclusively from The Green Teaist website.