Benifūki Green Tea Powder comes from an esteemed Japanese tea producer with over 60 years of experience, based in Shizuoka. This tea is designated a ‘tea powder’, as matcha can only be made from shaded tencha (碾茶). This tea was harvested in summer of 2020 from Benufūki cultivar plants grown in Makinohara in Shizuoka Prefecture.
The Benifūki (べにふうき) cultivar (also often written as Benifuuki in English) is the result of cross-breeding of two cultivars in Japan in the 1960’s. The selected cultivars were MakuraCd86, a Camellia sinensis that originated from descendants of Darjeeling plants, and Benihomare that originated from descendants of Camellia assamica plants found in India and Sri Lanka. The actual Benifūki cultivar was registered in Japan only in 1993 after many years of selection.
Even though Benifūki green tea has a more potent flavour with sometimes pronounced astringency, there is an additional health benefit in consuming green tea made from the Benifūki tea plants. Processed as a green tea, it contains the largest concentration of methylated catechin of all the Japanese teas – this is actually responsible for the bitterness and astringency of the tea! Methylated catechin content of Benifuki green tea has been shown as having potential for reducing allergies and hay fever. Furthermore, only Benifūki green tea has this property, as the methylated catechin content is destroyed when the tea is processed as a black tea, or reduced when it is processed as an oolong. So it’s no wonder that it has recently become a popular natural remedy in Japan to help to keep allergies at bay.
As this tea consists of the whole leaf ground into a powder, the catechin levels are even higher than in our Ibusuki Benifuki Sencha. Estimated methylated catechin for this particular harvest is measured at 3180mg per 100g and epigallocatechin gallate at 5930mg per 100g.
Our Benifūki Green Tea Powder has a flavour that is very vegetal, thick and umami. When prepared, the liquor froths to a dark mossy green. The initial herbaceous taste is full of spinach and asparagus notes, which leads to the underlying bitter edge – due to its very high catechin content. The overall taste and impression is very ‘green’ – akin to a raw greens smoothie.
As the flavour of powdered tea is very concentrated, less than a gram (0.7) is needed per 70ml of water. Very warm water (around 70°C) is added to the powder in a bowl and briskly mixed with a whisk until frothy. Alternatively you can use any suitable vessel and whisk or even a drinks shaker; the important point is to properly mix the water and powder completely. Some studies suggest that to gain the most benefit from the anti-allergy properties of this tea, it is best to mix with cool or room temperature water.
Green tea powders are delicate and should be stored in their packets, away from strong smells and light to maintain flavour and freshness. This way it can last a few months, and you should be able to tell from the colour how fresh it is. We also stock other powdered teas and matchas.