MELBOURNE | Tea lovers you are in for a treat. Specialty Japanese tea studio, Harvest Index, has opened in Collingwood. It’s only their second store after the original in Shinjuku, Tokyo. Not only does Harvest Index offer an array of 100% certified organic Japanese tea to Melburnians, but they also allow you to book private Japanese tea tasting ceremonies. You can experience the unique art of how Japanese tea is brewed and immerse your taste buds into the delicate yet potent liquid gold of Japan.
Designed by Melbourne-based designers Benjamin Wright and Lachlan Sinclair, Harvest Index welcomes you into a calming environment where gentle music resonates in the background and the intimate space is sleek and minimalist yet cosy and inviting. It’s a combination of a homely space meets science lab, where tea making utensils line a sleek stone bench top and various tea varieties hang upon the walls, displayed in a way that is reminiscent to the periodic table.
Tea expert Rai shares her knowledge of Japanese teas, passionately sharing how Japanese tea is harvested and why each flavour has its own distinct taste. Not only are you immersing your taste buds with the savoury taste of Japanese tea, but also learning simultaneously making for an insightful yet tasty experience.
Each tea is categorised by grade, based on its strength. Each tea is brewed at various temperatures, the temperature is a determining factor as to how the tea will taste at the end. We were invited to a tea ceremony at Harvest Index, and loved learning more about Japanese tea. The ceremony started with the Japanese green tea that most westerners are familiar with, sencha (S05), which is renowned for its distinct savoury seaweed taste.
Sencha is traditionally brewed at 70°C and 3g of tea leaves is required for one cup. If you are a lover of a stronger bitter tasting tea you simply brew it at a higher temperature. Genmaicha (G09) meanwhile, a lower quality of sencha blended with puffed brown rice, the result is a tea with a semi-sweet, roasted, nutty taste.
If you’re a lover of sweeter tea, a black tea Wakocha (W14) is what you want, along with Hōjicha (H11) which has a more roasted taste, milder taste. My personal favourite was Mizudashicha (C13), which is brewed cold and has a floral taste to it, leaving you feeling refreshed and hydrated with the added bonus of it being packed with vitamins that are beneficial for your skin.
Being able to watch the tea being brewed before your eyes gives you a larger appreciation for the art of Japanese tea making, from how the teapot is warmed with boiling water, to the curated circular pour of the water into the teapot to combine the leaves. If you love tea, Harvest Index is a must visit.
74 Johnston Street
Telephone: (03) 9370 6884
Tue – Sat: 10:00pm to 6:00pm