Words by Jane Seymour
The ritual of drinking tea has been an important part of Eastern culture for thousands of years before its popularity spread to the Western world and now the rediscovery of the appealing flavor and health benefits of green tea has a new generation loving this ancient drink.
“If you just taste what’s in the cup, where do you find value? The value comes when you connect to a story.” Mark Thirlwall in an article on Chinese tea from Jetstar Inflight Magazine.
So where did this story begin?
During the Chinese Song Dynasty (960 -1279), tea drinking became one of the Chinese intellectual pursuits of the sages and scholars because it provided clarity to enhance their thinking. During this time Japanese monks traveled to China to study in the Buddhist monasteries and quickly became accustomed to the enjoyment of drinking tea. In 1191 a Japanese Zen priest took tea seeds and bushes back to Japan and planted the hills outside modern Kyoto, an area today that is revered for high quality green tea.
Fast forward to 2016 and you can discover that the purest green tea is now available in North Eastern Victoria, using traditional processing methods that have stood the test of time and deliver exceptional quality, flavor and health benefits.
Due to the increasing shortage of agricultural land in Japan, the Japanese artisan Green Tea Company, Ito En, have brought their skills to North Eastern Victoria. Camellia sinensis bushes now grow on the slopes of the King Valley, where formerly tobacco was grown.
Now the staff at Ito En, who have the famous Japanese passion for perfection and eye for aesthetics and quality have made it possible for us at Mount Zero Olives to achieve our goal by assisting us to develop the finest quality olive leaf tea.
What is so special about Olive Leaf Tea?
Green tea has been reported to be a hundred times more effective than Vitamin C in protecting our immune systems.
Olive leaf tea has additional medicinal benefits and has been shown to be rich in antioxidants like other green teas, but it also acts as an antiviral, anti- bacterial, and anti-inflammatory agent.
Our Mount Zero Olive Leaf Tea carries the International Demeter trademark which is certified by the Biodynamic Research Institute of Australia.
How is it produced?
There are 7 basic steps in processing authentic, high quality, Japanese Green Tea. The Mount Zero Olive leaves are processed in the same manner as the green tea leaves from the Camellia sinensis bushes. We use the Manzanilla varietal olive leaves because this olive tree has the highest medicinal value of all olive varieties.
This exacting process is as follows:
1. The olive leaves are stripped at the farm, chilled and transported to the Ito En factory in Wangaratta in a refrigerated trailer.
2. The leaves are steamed for 30-45 seconds in a steaming machine.
3. The leaves move into a primary roller/dryer.
4. The rotary tea roller then exerts a slight pressure on the leaf in order to evenly distribute the internal cell juices throughout the leaf.
5. Secondary roller dryer is applied where the leaf will be reduced to 13% moisture.
6. Final tea roller and shaper to achieve a slightly twisted, open curled leaf.
7. Final dryer where the leaf will be reduced to 5% moisture content.
How do you prepare it?
We are passionate about the quality of our tea and want to ensure that you enjoy it as much as we do. We take so much time and care in producing it that it is worth knowing how to prepare it so you can get the most enjoyment and health benefit.
Here’s how to brew the Perfect Cup…
• Olive leaf tea requires the temperature of the water to be between 70-80 degrees.
• Place a teaspoon of Mount Zero Olive Leaf Tea in a tea infuser.
• Cover with water at a temperature between 70-80 degrees.
• Steep for 1 minute and remove the infuser.
• You may re-infuse the leaves up to 3 times.
Never pour boiling water directly onto leaves as they will be scorched and will taste bitter and astringent. The tip is to cover the leaves with cold water first and then pour boiling water over them.