Hoga Sengen in 2014 –Tea is budding-

In my area, sakura season is about to over now. And now,  it is time for TEA!! 

On April 7th, the Kyoto tea authority announced “hoga sengen (budding announcement)”. The announcement is annually issued when about 70% of new buds of “Yabukita” variety (the most common variety to produce green tea) cultivated at a research institute are grown about twice as big as the size of leaves which are wrapped the buds. Usually, about one month after “hoga sengen”, tea is ready to be plucked. 

For sure, tea front line is now moving north throughout Japan. And this is just FYR......, the announcement of this year was issued two days later than usual. Please wait a little bit longer :-) 



Batabata cha -T-
Bancha is often translated into “coarse tea”,  but “local tea” sits right with me. Bancha refers to the one which is drunk at the local area. So, the tea called bancha differs from region to region. 

The other day, I had batabata-cha, a local tea of Toyama prefecture, for the first time. Some call the tea as “a Japanese Pu-erh” due to its process. Unlike Sencha or other Japanese green tea, batabata-cha is a fermented dark tea.

We can make the tea with a teapot like we do for black or green teas, but most of the time, it is prepared in different way, which is to whip it with a tea whisk. In Japanese, we say “batabata” when we are “in a bustle” and “hurry-scurry”. Since the action of whipping the tea with a whisk is like “hurry-scurry”, the tea is called batabata-cha

It has very very distinctive flavor like traditional Chinese medicine. It is unusual, but I enjoyed it. There are still so many Japanese teas that I haven’t tried yet.

Batabata cha  -T-

Batabata-cha tea leaves  -T-


Espresso? No, Tea-Presso!

A Japanese multinational company, SHARP CORPORATION has announced to release their new product on April 25. It is said to be a tea-maker named “Ocha(tea)-Presso”. 

According to the company, this machine can grind tea leaves into powder and whisk them, making smooth tea,  tea latte and so on. Using powdered tea and whisking them - ---- hmm... sounds familiar.  Yes, the idea of the appliance comes from “Sado (traditional Japanese tea ceremony).” 

When you make tea with tea leaves, some nutrients like catechin remain in the used leaves, and the used leaves are usually thrown away. On the other hand, powdered tea ground by Ocha-Presso is not only good for us to take almost all nutrients, but also easier to use for cooking and baking. It will cost about 25,000 yen per unit. 

I would hesitate to grind beautifully rolled tea leaves into powder, but it is interesting to see how "the homemade freshly-ground tea" will bring new tea culture to our lives.

Ocha PRESSO by Sharp corporation