Have you ever eaten a teacup after enjoying tea? That's a silly question, isn't it? But, believe me, you can get an edible teacup.
Tea plants known as Camellia sinensis can be grown in the wild. Some plants are seen even in my hometown, Ehime prefecture. And my parents have several tea plants in their garden just to enjoy, not to produce tea. The plants are evergreen and the pretty white flowers open in autumn, so it is good to have in the garden.
Sencha is sencha. But, did you happen to know it is just more than one? What does this mean?
Since most of Sencha have been made from the variety “Yabukita”, which is still main pillar, the taste of the tea is almost always the same. However, the teas made from “non-Yabukita” are receiving more people’s favors these days due to several reasons such as the developments of technique and the consumers’ demands. People have come to like “something special” and ”something different” rather than “the same as others”.
The picture shows Sencha made from variety “Asatsuyu”, for example. This variety is often called as “natural Gyokuro”, since it contains more umami and less astringency itself. However, it is very sensitive to grow enough, so Asatsuyu sencha is really rare yet.
Sencha is still sencha, and will be. But, under one “happy” condition. We can enjoy finding our own favorite taste Sencha!
During summer, I often prepare umami-rich Japanese tea such as Gyokuro and high-quality Sencha with using ice cubes.
* See my post about "Hohin" dated on 2011/1/12 http://japaneseteastory.blogspot.com/2011/01/treasure-pot-hohin.html
I know what “kombucha” is. I also know it is well-known outside of Japan, but as a different drink. I believe the word itself comes originally from Japanese. “Kombu” means edible kelp, and “cha” does tea in Japanese. So, this is literally “kelp tea”.
We prepare Japanese-type Kombucha by pouring hot water over dried powdered kelp in a cup, like you do instant coffee. Also, this powdered kelp can be used as a seasoning for Japanese cooking.
Japanese food is known for its emphasis on “season”. Traditional Japanese confectionery, called “Wagashi”, is not exceptional.
Do you have a umami tooth? If so, the tea in this picture will be one of your favorites. Or, some may say "Is it really tasty?" judging from the light color. Truly, this is one of the finest qualities of Gyokuro, often translated as “jade dew”, made in Kyotanabe city in Kyoto.
High-quality Gyokuro generally produce pale tea color, but really rich and full-bodied. A lot of umami is condensed into even small amount of the tea.