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Mariage Frères Thé Vert Nouveau

First-harvest green teas grown on Mount Fuji

by Evan Orensten in Food + Drink on 18 October 2011

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Over 157 years experience, more than 500 varieties of tea sourced from 30 countries and Mariage Frères continues to add to its already-impressive offerings. Their Thé Vert Nouveau (new green tea) collection features four varieties of Japanese green tea grown in very small fields on Mount Fuji, irrigated with water from the mountain's melting snow. The Meicha Sencha teas are all from the first harvest of the year. "Meicha" means that only the budding tea leaves from the top of the plants are used, and "Sencha" means that the leaves are left whole (unlike the other popular form of Japanese green tea, "Matcha" where the leaves are ground into a powder). Each has a distinct smell and flavor and is vacuum-packed before being placed in a brightly colored paper envelope.

We brought back our two favorites—the Harunocha and Ryokochicha varieties—from a recent visit to Paris.

The secluded plot where the Harunocha is grown is "irrigated by the River of the Heavenly Dragon." We found this the most mild of the four, and its hints of peach and plum, and a smooth, light body to hit the mark.

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The Ryokochicha, harvested from a garden nestled between Mount Fuji and the Okitsu river to the north, has an earthier, distinct mellow flavor with vegetable and berry notes.

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Mariage Frères sells the colorfully packaged teas for €30 for 50g.

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