NEW! Japanese “Hachiju-Hachiya” (88th Night) Premium Green Tea

hachiju-hachiya green tea

“Hachiju-Hachiya” means “88th Night,” and refers to the 88th date after the traditional Japanese Lunar New Year.  Generally falling on or near May 2nd, this is a time when tea buds are just beginning to unfold.  In Japanese, these first-flush teas are called “shincha” and are regarded very highly – some claim that even a single cup of fresh Hachiju-Hachiya tea can promote health and vigor throughout the year!

The stunningly jade-colored leaves are tiny, precisely rolled, and very attractive.  Carefully cultivated, hand-plucked, immediately and expertly processed by the most skilled tea masters, this exceptional tea is rare and very special.  Sometimes, late frosts damage or even totally destroy the first-flush crop.  This 2019 harvest, on the other hand, is a flawless exemplar of season, regional terroir, cultivar and artisanal craft, brimming with uplifting spring energy, fantastically vibrant and classically “green.”

Kagoshima prefecture, at the southern tip of mainland Japan, is famous for balmy climate and numerous active volcanoes.  These include Sakurajima, the most active volcano in Japan, erupting almost constantly since 1955, as well as a cluster of 18 smaller vents including Takachiho-no-mine, a sacred site celebrated in the Japanese origin story.  Between these fiery peaks lies the city of Kirishima (“Island in the Fog”), and on their slopes are some of the world’s finest tea plantations.

The Okumidori (“Late Green,” sometimes translated as “Deep Green”) cultivar is a late bloomer, making it ideal for first-flush harvests because it almost always appears after the frosts have ended.  It is known for beautiful vivid lime green liquor and Japan’s preferred cup profile of sweet and mild yet profoundly complex and vegetal, with thick creamy body and powerful chlorophyll and umami tones especially.

These first-flush leaves were withered within hours of being harvested, a treatment that makes this tea one of the freshest and most lively we have ever tasted!  “Deep Green” Okumidori is often used to make fancy specialty teas like Gyokuro, Tencha, and Matcha, and one sip will show you why – this batch is almost on par with the famous Gyokuro style even without the special chlorophyll-increasing cultivation methods used to make that top-of-the-line specialty green tea. In fact, you may find that this premium tea is in the same ballpark as the much more expensive and elusive Gyokuro – delicate and fragrant, with dancing floral, cured hay, and seaside aromas, it also has a lovely buttery mouthfeel, very low astringency and absolutely zero bitterness, with subtle chrysanthemum, vanilla, and barley notes rounding out the richly nuanced sweet/savory cup profile, and a long-lasting umami aftertaste.

If the concept “umami” is new to you, no worries – that is just because we do not have many foods containing that flavor in mainstream American culture.  But in Japan, umami tones are a common foundation for the most flavorful dishes.  Think seaweed, soy sauce, mushrooms, aged cheeses.  The first cup may be strange and a little over-powering for those new to Japanese teas (some of our crew described it as “sushi-flavored”).  We recommend blanching the leaves before steeping, as a quick rinse will wash away some of that unfamiliar umami flavor, and re-steeping several times, as it gets sweeter and milder with each round.  Read this guide to learn about the best method for preparing artisanal green teas in the traditional Japanese way.  Best steeped 4 or more times, share this extraordinary artisanal tea in small cups with friends in a peaceful unhurried setting.

Steeping Time: 30-60 seconds

Water Temp: 170-180 F

Finest young shincha tea leaves

Buy Japanese Hachiju-Hachiya Premium Green Tea


Coffee Storage Container Selection: Protect Your Coffee Beans

Coffee beans spilling from coffee storage container

Many coffee aficionados devote a great deal of time and effort to selecting their preferred coffee beans. Some have also invested in equipment to roast their favorite coffee beans at home. Whether they are green or already roasted coffee beans, proper storage is important. We have compiled some information to help you select the right coffee storage containers for your beans.

I have invested enough money in quality beans and roasting equipment. Why do I need to spend additional money on coffee storage containers?

The real question is, “Why would you not?”

If you have already made the time and financial investment to roast high-quality coffee beans, it makes sense to ensure they produce a flavorful cup of coffee you will enjoy.

Roasted coffee beans that are not stored properly can become stale with a musty smell. As a result, stale coffee beans will lose their distinguishing aroma. If you go so far as to brew these beans, it will produce a bitter-tasting cup of coffee. This is likely not your goal when you invest the time and money into your favorite coffee beans.

So, I am convinced I need coffee storage containers for my roasted beans. How will an effective container protect my coffee beans?

Effective coffee storage containers protect beans from heat, light, humidity, and airflow. 

Airtightness is an important aspect to consider when evaluating coffee storage containers. When exposed to air, the oils in the roasted coffee beans begin to evaporate. Prolonged exposure to oxygen is what leads to stale beans and ultimately a bitter-tasting brewed coffee. All the aromatics and acids that produce a flavorful cup of coffee begin to deteriorate when roasted beans are exposed to air.

Coffee storage containers also provide moisture protection for roasted beans. Without proper protection from moisture or humidity, roasted beans can spoil quickly. This is the case because coffee beans will easily absorb and retain moisture when exposed to air. 

Although not as damaging as air and moisture, light can have a negative effect on roasted coffee beans. Therefore a dark coffee storage container is important to protect the beans from light exposure. Overexposing roasted coffee beans to light can result in a flat-tasting cup of coffee. This is due to the breakdown of the chemical compounds that give roasted coffee beans their distinct flavors and characteristics. 

Heat protection is also important in preserving the flavors and aromatics of roasted coffee beans. Heat is a necessary component of the roasting process that brings out the beans’ flavors. However, after they have gone through the cooling process, additional heat will damage the roasted beans’ oils. Selecting the right storage container can help protect your beans from the damaging effects of heat. However, the location of your storage container will have a greater impact on the amount of heat to which your beans are exposed. Store it in a cool location away from direct light.

Can I store green coffee beans in the same type of coffee storage container?

Roasting coffee beans greatly diminishes their shelf life. When roasted and properly stored, many experts find that coffee beans can have a shelf life of up to six weeks. On the other hand, properly stored green coffee beans can last up to a year after being processed.

Similar to roasted ones, green coffee beans should be stored in cool, dry places with little or no direct sunlight. Experts find a darker location at room temperature and with a humidity level of approximately 60% will provide an ideal storage environment for green coffee beans.

Because the storage requirements are similar, green coffee beans can be stored in the same type of coffee storage containers recommended for roasted beans. However, unlike roasted coffee beans, green ones require some moisture to prevent them from drying out. Therefore, it is important, for longer storage periods, to periodically create some air circulation. Do this by uncovering the container and giving it a slight shake. This air circulation will prevent condensation from forming on the beans which could eventually lead to mold growth.

Recommended Coffee Storage Containers

Planetary Design Airspace Stainless Steel Coffee Storage Container

Planetary coffee storage container

This container comes in 32-ounce and 64-ounce sizes. The stainless steel not only gives it a sleek modern look but will also protect your coffee beans from harmful sunlight. Most importantly, the plunger-like top pushes out any air before it seals the container. This comes in handy as your stored coffee bean supply decreases over time.

In addition, these coffee storage containers contain a one-way valve that allows carbon dioxide to be released without allowing oxygen to enter.

These containers also come in a handful of bright colors to complement any kitchen decor. The ceramic version of this coffee storage container has the same functionality and also comes with an attractive bamboo lid.

Tightvac Coffeevac Storage Container

Tightvac coffee storage container

Unlike the Airspace containers which mimics vacuum sealing, Coffeevac coffee storage containers include a patented vacuum closure system. With the touch of a button, the closure system creates a partial vacuum. The ease of use is a strong attribute of this storage container. Similar to the Airspace containers, these include a valve allowing for the release of carbon dioxide without allowing oxygen to enter.

Be sure to choose a colored version as the clear Coffeevacs will not protect your beans from light. The Coffeevac comes in a variety of colors and sizes to meet your preferences and needs. 

Friis Stainless Steel Coffee Vault

This sturdy stainless steel coffee storage container has a BPA-free polymer lid that creates a seal to keep your coffee beans fresh and flavorful. The lid also includes freshness valves that allow carbon dioxide to escape.

The Friis Coffee Vault comes in a few different colors and is available in 12-ounce and 16-ounce sizes.

Black Plastic Valve Bags

A black plastic valve bag is a very affordable coffee storage container option. The one-way valve in the bag allows for carbon dioxide from degassing to be released while keeping oxygen out. The dark color of the bags ensures the coffee beans are protected from harmful light. These bags are reusable and come in a few different sizes.

Once you select the ideal coffee storage container, be sure to keep it in a suitable location. Cool dry places such as pantries and cabinets work well. However, you may prefer to display your selected coffee storage container on your counter because it is too pretty to hide behind closed doors. If this is the case, make sure it is not in direct sunlight or near a heat source such as a stovetop or dishwasher.

For more information about coffee beans and home coffee roasting, visit the Burman Coffee Learning Center.

NEW! Chinese Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Green Tea

Temple of Heaven Pinhead Gunpowder Green Tea

The Chinese have a funny habit of giving fantastical names to their most common products… like “Temple of Heaven” Gunpowder Green Tea, which may also be called “Pingshui” after the village that first exported a similar hand-rolled and pan-fried premium green tea, or sometimes “Pinhead” (like the one we had previously carried).

This classical green tea is very similar to the last, comparatively a little more mild, warm and sweet, but still that same time-honored Pingshui flavor profile.  Abundant and robust, with sweet slightly smoky aroma and strong almond tones followed by bamboo and grapefruit, its slightly less powerful yet still very crisp astringency lingers with subtle melon and apple notes long after each sip.

An exemplary traditional tea, Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Green comes from Zhejiang Province and it is savored all around the world.  Artfully stir-fried Pingshui teas are considered the original “gunpowder” teas and are highly revered for their lengthy labor-intensive processing and traditionally rich savory taste. The Chinese term is actually “zhu cha,” meaning “pearl tea,” but of course the English are pretty good at coming up with weird names too… they labeled these types of tea “gunpowder” because it was thought that the tiny tightly rolled pellets resembled old-fashioned gunpowder granules.

Leaves are attractive, olive colored and slightly shiny, very small and dense pellets indicating exceptional quality.  You will enjoy steeping this tea in glass – it is mesmerizing to watch the leaves uncurl and float, then gradually sink again, dancing as the liquor rapidly turns a warm bronze color.

We recommend that you steep gunpowder green teas for only 2 minutes, or the astringency begins to get a little overpowering. Or you may enjoy this zesty and distinctive, potent yet subtly nuanced tea even better in the traditional Chinese way – a series of small cups steeped first for 30 seconds, then an additional 30 seconds for each subsequent re-steeping. Enjoy 5 or more small cups, noting the change in aroma and flavor profile as the tiny leaves unfurl and infuse little by little.

Steeping Time – 2 Minutes

Water Temp – 180 F

Small pellets of green tea.

Buy Chinese Temple of Heaven Gunpowder Green Tea