Japan, with its warm climate and ample rain, is a perfect environment for tea growing. Tea growing is thought to have begun here in the 8th century. While other countries grow their tea bushes on hillsides and pick teas by hand, Japanese gardens are meticulously planted in rows along hills close to natural water sources. Although some teas are hand-picked in Japan, most of the tea grown here is mechanically picked and processed using high tech machinery. Also, unlike other countries that designate their teas by regions or estates, Japanese teas are generally sold by styles.
The flat, smooth, thin leaves are similar to a Gyokuro tea. Fuji Green Tea is a different tasting green tea, with a malty undertone and sweetness in the cup.
Brew tea at 160-170º - steep for 1 minute.
Green Tea Summer Squash Soup
2 Tbsp Japanese Fuji Green tea
6 cups water
1 cup chopped onions
2 cloves minced garlic
2 cups chopped yellow squash
2 cups chopped zucchini
3/4 cup chopped celery
2 cups chopped potatoes
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
1 tsp salt, or to taste
2 Tbsp fresh basil, chopped
2 Tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
1 Tbsp prepared dijon mustard
Heat the water to 180° and pour over the tea leaves. Steep for 2 minutes, then strain and add the brewed tea to the crock pot. Turn the crock pot on High.
Add all the vegetables and herbs to the crock pot (except the mustard), cover and cook on High for 4-5 hours. Add the dijon mustard.
Ladle into bowls and, if desired, sprinkle with a little cheese.