So last year my mum, my sister & I went to London & I cried in Fortnum & Masons. Of all the places that it could have happened I am none more humiliated than it to have happened there. I was extremely tired & had wanted to go to Selfridges but we didn’t have time. Generally I wouldn’t have minded but due to said tiredness & the queue for the tea parlour was really ssllloowwww, I just couldn’t help it, which set me off further. It was not good!
However I had quite a nice pot of Earl Grey but you would expect that at F&M, however I will say I was a surprised that they gave me the pot but I had to ask for lemons. Also after I had allowed the tea to brew for a couple of minutes I took the basket out of the pot so that it didn’t over brew. Now I know I don’t know as much as the experts at F&M but possibly shouldn’t they recommend that you take the basket out? Otherwise it will ruin the later part of your drinking experience & at £5.60 a pot you really want to enjoy every drop!! BUT saying that it was a nice Earl Grey & definitely had a some lovely flavours & wasn’t too bitter once I took the basket out.
Anyway! After that slightly disappointing experience, we went downstairs to look at the actual teas. After talking for a long time to the very helpful lady, I settled on purchasing a Japanese Uchiyama at £7.50 for 50g. It was very worrying as I wanted to get so many different teas but it could have got out of hand so I said to myself I’d get just one. I haven’t tried it before & since I have been so fond of my matcha I thought I’d go for another Japanese Green Tea.
So back at home, I have tried it & it is delicious! The dried leaves are quite thin, flat & fine but with some length, in a lovely dark mossy green colour & it smells quite rich but fresh, not musky. As with lighter teas such as green, after the kettle boiled I let it cool for a minute or two just so it didn’t burn the leaves. With about 2 teaspoons of the tea I made a pot just under 2 cups. I don’t like to make it too strong the first time I try a tea otherwise I feel it can be a bit too much for a first experience. I let it brew for about 3 minutes before pouring, it was a little light in the first cup but the second cup has come out a tad darker. The first cup was a very pale straw coloured liquid, but didn’t smell weak, it had a fresh grassy, almost asparagus scent to it, it didn’t smell bland or just ‘green’ like a lot of green teas do. Again the taste matches the smell. Its lovely & light, with slight hint of sweetness that really make its delicious. It doesn’t have a bitter or flat taste that lingers after you’ve drunk the tea but actually leaves a nice aftertaste that reminds me of something similar to avocado. I know that maybe doesn’t sound nice but I hope it gets a cross that is a nice vegetation smell & taste without being too savoury & not at all musky. Twinings.co.uk have a description for theirs which infers some seaweed flavours, which I totally agree with having just seen their flavour notes. The used leaved have an almost floral scent, that I have got from a jasmine tea I use often, but I think that is more to do with both being delicate green teas. The leaves have expanded quite a bit to actually quite large sizes considering how fine they were dry.
For a bit of background information, Japanese Uchiyama is a Sencha tea comes from ‘Sen’ which means steamed & ‘Cha’ which means tea (Twinings.co.uk) as it has been steamed during its process after being picked rather than being fried which prevents the leaves from oxidising. This is very different from the Chinese Green as it means the tea is more delicate & doesn’t have those bitter aftertaste that you do get with higher oxidised tea. As it is a green tea, like matcha (see last blog post) it has a number of health benefits, even being cited as a ‘cancer fighter’ due to the high levels of polyphenols (Teaandmore.co.uk & acjn.nutrition.org).
I have to say I am not fond of ‘normal’ green teas that you can buy in the supermarkets as I find they are very bland but this is so lovely & delicate I will definitely have to make a trip up to F&M again to buy some more!