Long Island Strawberry
Country of Origin: China.
Grade: Japan Sencha style.
Altitude: 2500 feet above sea level.
Manufacture type: Sencha.
Cup characteristics: Flavory summer sweet strawberry and papaya pieces round out an exceptionally smooth green tea. Memories of strawberry picking in Sag Harbor.
Infusion: Bright, pale green to yellow, light colored cup.
Ingredients: Luxury green tea, freeze dried strawberry, natural dried papaya, natural flavors.
Long Island has been famous for its strawberries for as long as people have lived there. Local history books describe people going on picnics and nature hikes to pick the wild berries as far back as the 1850’s – and that’s only recorded history. Archaeological records show that the Native Americans who inhabited Long Island centuries ago were also fond of the sweet summertime fruit.
After the Civil War, commercial farming on Long Island began to develop rapidly. Among the new cash crops was the wild strawberry. It didn’t hurt that the local farms were generally within a day’s drive of New York City. Farmers began hauling their produce to markets around the City, spreading the word about the exceptional Long Island quality. The strawberry’s popularity grew quickly and as time wore on, and car culture began to develop, roadside fruit stands popped up to cater to city folk partaking in the new found pleasure of the country drive. To this day a journey out to Long Island will take you past many such stands and pick-your-own berry patches.
A stop at such a stand was the inspiration behind this blended green tea. Company mythology has it that our master taster stopped to buy some berries one summer and was so dazzled by their sweet juiciness that he immediately called back to the office to declare a tea-eureka moment! A decision was quickly made to develop Long Island Wild Strawberry tea.
After experimenting with a number of teas, a Sencha style green from Hunan, China was chosen. The reason? It’s a perfect match for the sweet flavor of strawberries. Green tea forgoes the fermentation process required to produce black tea. The leaf is steamed after plucking, then bruised either by machine or by hand. After that it’s pan or basket fired, leaving it with a distinctive glossy look and light sweetish flavor – an almost perfect match for the strawberry in terms of character profile.
Blended together, the combination of strawberry flavoring and green tea produces a cup that is light and fresh, tempered with delicate notes of juicy sweet strawberry. (The juiciness has been further enhanced by the addition of dried papaya pieces.) Brew yourself a pot today and dream of a relaxing cruise through the countryside. A fabulous tea!
Hot tea brewing method: The secret is to use water that is about 80-85°C. Place 1 teaspoon in your cup, let the tea steep for about 3 minutes and then begin enjoying a cup of enchantment – do not remove the leaves from the cup. Once the water level is low – add more water, and so on and so on – until the flavor of the tea is exhausted. Look at the pattern of the leaves, they foretell your fortune.
Iced tea-brewing method: (to make 1 liter/quart): Place 6 teaspoons of tea into a teapot or heat resistant pitcher. Pour 1 1/4 cups of freshly boiled water over the tea. Steep for 5 minutes. Quarter fill a serving pitcher with cold water. Pour the tea into your serving pitcher straining the leaves. Add ice and top up the pitcher with cold water. Garnish and sweeten to taste. [A rule of thumb when preparing fresh brewed iced tea is to double the strength of hot tea since it will be poured over ice and diluted with cold water.]