We are so lucky to be tasting an amazing green tea blend today. Quite simply for those of you new to tea, a blend is a combination of teas and ingredients that together make a new flavour sensation when combined. Here at Twinings we are known for our unique tea blend recipes that we have created over the decades - like Twinings Earl Grey, or English Breakfast.
It is from our new Premium Loose Flavoured Tea & Infusion Collection which you can find available to buy exclusively through the Twinings Loose Tea Shop.
Apple & Elderflower Flavour Green Loose Tea
Now: £7.50 each
Juicy apple, delicate elderflowers and light Sencha green tea.
Is This A Single Origin?
This is opposed to a single origin tea we usually feature in the club, either because they are fine and rare, unique or just handmade and very interesting. A single origin could be for example, a Lapsang Souchong tea or a Darjeeling, the latter named after the area in India is it grown.
This loose tea blend is made up of two crops of Sencha Green Tea, the delicate flavour of Elderflower and together with a burst of apple. The apple notes are added to the blend to give that exquisite taste.
Like a great wine taster or a “nose” in the perfume business, to be a master tea blender you also have to have a great nose - smell plays an important role in taste.
Together with their nose, they need to fine tune their taste buds and their palette. This can take many years of training. A Master Tea Blender can isolate many different tastes and flavours in a tea.
For example, they may describe a tea as having smoky, nutty or sweet notes and then be able to pin point a fine array of flavours under these like; caramel or peach.
It is this experience that helps them to develop incredible recipes that translate into the Twinings teas you know, love and drink.
The wonderful Philippa Thacker is the Master Tea Blender who inspired this light, crisp tasty tea. She has been with Twinings for many years and is one of our experts in Chinese teas.
She travels to China many times in the year to source and buy the best teas, processes with incredible care that translate in the quality brews you can find in your local super market or directly from our online shop.
All our Master Tea Blenders are also our buyers. They spend much of their time hunting for the best, most fresh teas from around the world to use in our blends.
It’s a real advantage, and this sets us apart from the rest, our buyers are also our blenders.
What Is Sencha Green Tea?
For some of you budding tea geeks, you may know that Sencha is Japanese in origin. It is just another form of tea processing that takes a handpicked, fresh stem with a shoot and two to three leaves that are fully open.
Sencha refers to the steaming process of transforming these non-uniform size and shaped leaves into a delicate beautiful brew.
Of course the length of steaming dictates the strength of the taste. So to create something delicate a short steam is needed.
The freshly picked leaves are then left for fanning.
This is a process to gently fan the leaves to stop them from fermenting too quickly to ensure they remain fresh, lock the moisture in and produce the quality that Twinings requires from all our green teas.
A quick burst of steam... 30 seconds and no more will stop the oxidizing and fermentation in their tracks and helps to preserve that amazing green colour and a grassy, fresh aroma. From there the leaves are rolled and gently twisted - this makes the whole leaf, long and narrow.
This Tea Is From ...
The loose tea in this blend is from the Zhejiang [pronounced JAY CHANG] province in the north eastern part of China. To put this into context the population of this province is just a few million smaller than the UK. Just to give you an idea of scale.
The area is beautiful. It has low lying coastal areas as well as hillocks and a mountainous area - the highest peak is around 2300 metres. Tea is grown in the hillock areas, which is low lying, at around 200 ft. above sea level.
This area is also known for the super-premium Long Jing loose tea - a super jade green coloured tea.
Zhejiang has an average rainfall that’s similar to that of North Devon - around 1000 mls of water a year - being sub-tropical and monsoonal in climate the temperature ranges are between a low of 2 degrees centigrade in January to a high of 30 degrees in the summer - Mid July.
The tea growing areas are just slightly north of the tropic of Cancer. The Tropics - Cancer to the north and Capricorn to the south - is the warmest belt around the globe with plenty of rainfall which makes it the perfect climate for growing tea and coffee.
When Is The Sencha Picked?
The Sencha green tea element in this blend is made from two crops picked last year, blended together for quality and a delicate taste. There are two growing seasons in this region - an early Spring which is picked in April to the end of May and a summer crop which is picked late June to September.
Let's Make A Cup Of Tea
We are using a beautiful tea pot designed by tea guru Alison Appleton. It’s from her Camellia range which takes inspiration from the organic lines by the very bush that tea comes from.
The teapot has a steel diffuser, perfect for brewing loose tea, however, this can be removed when you brew with tea bags. This teapot is available to buy online directly from us at Twinings.co.uk.
We recommend, when making a pot of green tea to use one spoon per person, but with a teapot like this a maximum of two or three heaped spoonful’s would be fine. We are looking for a short brew time and really clear liquor. So in this case - less is more.
Did you also know that with super premium whole leaf teas like these, you can re-brew your leaves up to three or four times. With each extra brew, just add an extra 30 seconds to a minute to allow the leaves to fully infuse with the water.
Pour away any unused water that’s currently in your kettle and refill with just the amount of fresh water you need for your pot. Best would be to boil it to 80 degrees and then pour it into the pot. Alternatively you can boil your kettle as normal and then just let your water rest for a few minutes before pouring over your leaves in the pot. Pouring boiling water onto whole leaf teas can result in leaf bruising which restricts the infusion process.
Brew Time And Tasting
Leave your tea to brew for about 1 minute and then check for taste intensity, the liquor should be a light golden or peachy looking colour - it should look delicate.
The aroma from this freshly brewed tea is quite amazing. There are sweet notes of honey and caramel alongside fruity fragrances that are quite peachy.
The taste profile is really special, light and delicate. The sweetness of the aroma, when tasting becomes more mellow, smooth and round, leaving your mouth filled with a fresh peach taste.
It’s quite remarkable. The apple juice is subtle and this brings in the sweetness and the Elderflower is the counter balance that makes the taste a touch floral.
I really love this tea, it feels special, a treat, a cup you want to share with friends - something of a guilty pleasure.
Thanks so much for being with us this Tea tasters.
Alex [self-confessed Twinings Tea Geek]