Monday, August 13, 2007

Sen-nen no Midori

As you can see I am not traveling this week and can spend a little time on the tubes. I also get to do some of the other things that I am deprived of while traveling like cooking, trying to educate myself on and obtain some level of skill with traditional blues on the guitar and enjoying my addiction to Japanese tea(only one of my admitted addictions BTW).

The title of this post is the name of one green tea. Shoju Sen-nen no Midori(Pine Thousand Years of Green) is a style of tea that became popular in the 12th century in Japan and is still enjoyed today. It is what is known as a Matcha tea and is made from Ken-cha tea which is shade grown. It is a powder tea and is one of the teas used in the beautiful tea ceremony. In case you are wondering about the Pine Thousand Years name. It refers to the Zen expression which means that change occurs both when you are attempting to move forward as well as when you are not attempting to move at all. It is a very important concept in Zen as well as being important in becoming a Jedi master. If you remember your Star Wars you will remember Yoda telling young Luke "Do not try, do!"

My personal favorite green tea is Gold Sen-cha. Sen-cha is the most popular type of tea in Japan. Immediately after the leaves are picked, they are steamed, rolled and dried until they become like a green needle. In the summer I take a cup of almost boiling water and steep a heaping teaspoon of leaves for about a minute. I then strain it over a big glass full of ice for a wonderful glass of iced green tea. You can put a bit of honey in it as well if straight up is too bitter for you. You will find that as you drink more the contrast of sweet, bitter and green is best without any additions. If you use fully boiling water it will make the tea more bitter as well.

Anyhow, my bread should be risen by now and ready to be formed into a loaf and it will not wait. I think a big tall glass of iced green tea is in order as well. Then maybe a little guitar practice.

If you have trouble finding quality green tea where you are(they have some good ones at Whole Foods) there is a web site where you can find the best that Japan offers and you can order it. It is Maeda-en. I recommend buying your tea loose and not in "tea bag" form. You will get a much higher quality that way. In Japanese grocery stores you will almost always find a big bin of loose Sen-cha where you can fill your own metal tea box and it is a way to guarantee you are getting the quality of tea you want.

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