Victorian high country green tea
VICTORIAN high country farming families who once grew tobacco have successfully grown for more than a decade Japanese varieties of green tea that are manufactured in the style of sencha. The planting of these special cultivars of Camellia sinensis was funded by Japanese interests and today the bulk of the leaf harvest is exported to Japan. So Granny Smith’s interest was pricked when recently we discovered that Melbourne-based tea merchant David Thompson late last year was able to select choice parcels of this Victorian sencha for his highly-regarded Larsen & Thompson brand. David says this is a well-made tea. It is a style grown entirely in open fields and pesticides have not been applied, but because of Australia’s old, nutrient-depeleted soils, fertiliser has been used to improve tea-bush yields. David says that when brewed, this sencha is yellow-green in the cup and has grassy notes with overtones akin to the aroma of seaweed. The ideal brewing temperature for this tea is between 60 – 80° C. David says some fresh water should be boiled and then cooled by waiting or adding some cold water. Use one teaspoon – or two grams – per cup and infuse for one to two minutes. Be careful not to over-brew. The leaves can be infused more than once. A leading Japanese source says that sencha ideally should be ‘a harmonious blend of sweetness, bitterness, richness, astringency and fragrance’. Granny Smith stocks Larsen & Thompson’s Australian sencha and India tea blends earl grey and good morning breakfast tea, a prized China white tea called bai mu dan, and a China green tea from Yunnan province. We also carry David’s infusions, including Egyptian organic camomile flowers, an Egyptian organic lemongrass and Nepalese organic ginger blend, and Polish first-grade peppermint leaf.