Gather the new yellow-green leaves (3 leaf shoots).
I gathered up one big sieve worth. This amount of leaves is processed in 3 batches.
Start processing the leaves as soon as they are picked. It's best not to wash them, but it bothers me not to so I rinse them quickly in water.
Drain the water off well. Put the leaves on a heatproof dish and microwave for about 2 minutes. This steams the leaves.
The steamed leaves are hot. Taking care not to burn yourself, rub the leaves vigorously. It may be best to rub them on a cutting board... Squeeze out the moisture in the leaves as you rub them for 2 to 3 minutes.
Put the leaves back in the microwave, and microwave for 1 minute this time. From this point on we'll be drying the leaves.
Repeat Steps 5 and size - rub the leave, then dry them out - 5 to 6 times. The fragrance of the new tea leaves will fill the room.
The leaves will gradually lose moisture and become crispy. When there's no moisture left in the leaves they're done.
These are the finished leaves! If some just won't dry out enough in the micorowave, dry them in a frying pan slowly over low heat.
Let's try brewing some. The color was quite light this time, but the flavor was strong.
Cold iced green tea is delicious too.
Story Behind this Recipe
I don't have tea fields, I just have some tea trees planted around our house... One time, I picked some of the leaves and made them into tea for my children to use for a tea party - and what do you know, "Wow, delicious!" was the reaction. Ever since then, I make sure to make some tea when it's new harvest season. Maybe every tea tree has its own unique fragrance? The tea I make from my own trees has its own delicious fragrance that we can't get from storebought tea leaves.
Around about mid-May, hairy caterpillars will start appearing in the tea trees. So if you are going to pick the leaves, it's best to do so before then. When picking the leaves, some will have insect poo on the back. Don't pick any dirty leaves! Spider webs are OK if they're just washed off! They're a sign that the leaves have no pesticides on them. Apparently, spiders don't make webs on tea leaves that have been sprayed with pesticides.