2017/12/10

Harmony with Nature - "Chagusaba" method -

Some tea in Shizuoka, especially Higashiyama area, is cultivated by the traditional “chagusa-ba” method, which is often translated as traditional tea-grass integrated system. 

The dried-grasses mainly bamboo and pampas called “chagusa” are cut down, dried, shredded and spread around the roots of tea trees as a mulch. Eventually it will be a good compost. It seems that “chagusa” prevents weeds from growing along the furrows, enriches the soil, helps retain moisture and fertilizer for a long period, and helps new leaves grow better. Naturally, the tea taste gets better and the flavor improves. 

This method is not only for making good tea. It is good for biodiversity. Since the grasses are cut down regularly, other fauna and flora including rare and endangered species survive in that area. (This method is designated as GIAHS 'Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System').

* You will learn about Chagusa-ba method "The secret to High Quality Tea by UNU Channel"


One of the farmers who grow tea with this method is  Kaneroku-Matsumotoen tea farm. Their family started tea business about 200 years ago and have been keeping the method since then. While keeping its tradition method and tea, they produce ’innovative’ tea like the first Japanese smoked-tea. Their signature is the Whisky-barreled smoked tea leave….and its bottled tea too! I think Matsumoto's tea is made from harmony of human and nature, and tradition and innovation.

from Kaneroku-Matsumotoen
http://kaneroku-matsumotoen.com/



Left: Not Whisky, it's tea made from his smoked tea in Whisky barrel






2017/12/07

Hotel for Tea lovers - The hotel 1899 TOKYO-

“The Hotel 1899 Tokyo” will open in December 2018. 
Don’t say “So what?”.------Because the concept of the hotel is “TEA”!  

The rooms will be designed like “Iori (hermitage)” inspired by Japanese tea house. The restaurants’ signature will be tea, of course. We still have one more year to see what’s like, but it’s already the talk of tea people. 

* HOTEL 1899 TOKYO  http://1899.jp/hotels/tokyo/en/



Photos from Hotel 1899 TOKYO



2017/12/04

Learn Tea from Tea Room

When I was younger, Japanese tea was served as a welcome drink with free of charge at eatery places. Nobody had imagined to pay for Japanese tea. No wonder we didn't see almost any Japanese tearooms back then. Now, we see them. Not popular as much as coffee shops and British style tearooms, but they are seen here and there.

I realize that Japanese tea rooms tend to introduce “hand-on” style unlike coffee shop and the British style tearooms. 

At some tearooms, you brew the tea yourself followed by the instruction. 


At a tearoom in Osaka, you prepare your own tea by whisking Matcha or freshly-ground Sencha. And you can choose the teacup you want to drink with. 



    

When I am at Japanese tearooms, I sometime hear the conversation like those:

This tea pot is so pretty!
Ah, I see. This is how to brew it. Interesting!
I didn’t know there are many different kinds of Japanese green tea.
The taste is different from bottled one! It's tasty!

These days, people drink more bottled tea, and they don't brew tea at home. Some are eager to try when new bottled green tea are put on the market, but don't show any interests in brewing tea with kyusu and miss the chance to learn how to brew it. Those tearooms can help people especially younger generations begin to appreciate its value.