A Green Tea Blog eng

Shiso Tea – sink into relaxation

Markus Hastenpflug - Monday, June 20, 2016

Shiso, or Perilla frutescence, belongs to the mint family and is commonly used in traditional Japanese cuisine alongside Sushi, to garnish salads and to create delicious Tenpura. It is also known as an old home-remedy.

Infusing the leaves with water to create a unique, herbaceous and subtly sweet beverage, which can be served hot or as a cold-brew. The dried leaves are quite versatile and may also be used to add flavor to soups, sauces and other dishes.

Shiso is said to relieve stress and restore mental alertness and focus – all that without Caffeine. It boasts many valuable nutrients such as antioxidants (β-Carotines and DDC), rosmarinic acid and alpha linolenic acid, which are said to protect the skin, strengthen the immune system and reduce allergic reactions. Furthermore Shiso contains vitamins B1, B2 and B6 as well as vitamin C, E and K, iron, calcium, magnesium, zinc and fiber.

Since 2003 Shiso in cultivated according to EC organic-regulations on the Japanese Island of Shikoku.

Available in two types:

Aracha or the Art of Tea Processing

M. Wege - Friday, May 20, 2016

It might not look like it but whoever has the chance to get a whiff of the tea coming out of the steamer will agree, that the scent of freshly steamed tea leaves is a very unique and intense experience.

This scent is best captured in Aracha, the raw or crude tea. But just what exactly does that mean anyhow?

Green tea is steamed, rolled and slightly dried right after the picking in order to prevent fermentation. At the KEIKO Biofarm this happens directly next to the tea garden to avoid long routes of transport.

In the picture to the right you can see how the fresh tea leaves are gradually turned into Aracha (counter-clockwise).

Aracha is not refined and sieved and thus still contains some rough parts of the leaves as well as the stems, which are turned into Kukicha later on.

After this brief processing the Aracha is presented to the tea tasters, which oftentimes sample a large number of Arachas from different varieties or tea-gardens at a time during the harvest seasons

 

 On the KEIKO Biofarm we grow more than 10 different tea-varieties, like for example Benifuuki. However homogeneous teas like Benifuuki are rather rare, as the taste of the tea plants can vary strongly from one harvest to the next due to the natural influences. Therefore the varieties are blended to even out these irregularities.

It is the tea tasters who decide for each production how the varieties are combined in what ratio in order to achieve the desired taste. For this the fragrance, texture and color of the dry leaves and the aroma and taste of the freshly brewed tea are examined and evaluated. For a reliable evaluation of each tea’s characteristics the infusion is made quite strongly during this tasting. Thanks to their vast experience and sensoric schooling our partners in Japan make sure, that the KEIKO Teas offer a reliably high quality and taste.

After the classification the Arachas are either stored for later use in a cool environment or directly processed, like the Shincha. 

Aracha-Type Tea or Ara-Shiage is refined (sieved, sorted, cut and fanned) but not or for a longer storage life only very slightly dried.  

The Aracha #145 we have had in our portfolio for a while now is a slightly dried Ara-Shiage or Aracha Type. The new Aracha Yakushima is also Ara-Shiage but is not dried. The Aracha Yume on the other hand is genuine non-refined Aracha.

Aracha Type teas can be found in well sorted tea-stores in Japan. An actual unprocessed Aracha is a real rarity though – even in Japan.

 

The steps and stages of tea-processing