2011/09/23

Espresso, but Tea!

What is espresso?

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, the definition of espresso is this: a type of strong black coffee made by forcing steam through ground coffee beans.

I got it! However, it doesn’t seem to be fit for Japanese beverage industry. Recently, something “espresso” is the fad. Of course, we have real coffee type of “espresso”. Nowadays, espresso for tea have appeared on the market.

For example, “Espresso Tea”, “Espresso Tea Latte”, “Espresso Tea with lemon” (black tea type)  and “Green ESPRESSO (green tea type)”….. . 


Surprisingly, another new type of tea product will be on the market soon. Its name is “Teagurt”. It seems to be a yogurt-tasting peach-flavored tea. Hmm….this is more interesting.


2011/09/17

The Age of "Tea celebration" -Chaju-

The third Monday of September is “Respect-for-the-Aged Day” in Japan. In 2011, it falls on September 19. I am not sure this is because Japan is the country of longevity or not, but anyway, we  celebrate longevity with giving special names to some ages such as;

“Kijyu” (Happy celebration) is the special name of 77 years-old.
“Sanju”(Umbrella celebration) for 80 years-old.
“Beiju”(Rice celebration) for 88 years-old
“Hakuju”(White celebration) for 99 years-old  ...etc.

I know those special names like umbrella, rice and white sound weird. Do they have something to do with longevity?? I am afraid, not.… It’s a just word-play using Kanji (Chinese character).

And there are more. When people live much longer enough to be 108 years-old, they also have another name called “Chaju”, literally means “Tea celebration”. I really doubt I would live to be 108 years- old, but for sure there are some “Chaju” people in Japan and in the world.

Happy “Tea celebration”!!


2011/09/12

"Plump" Autumn

Autumn is the harvest season. So, we often call this season “autumn for a good appetite”.

There is a special event which stimulate our appetite in Kyoto. A hotel Kyoto Shin-Hankyu held an event which features high-quality “Uji” Japanese green tea (known as Uji-cha). Various kinds of dishes and dessert used Uji-cha are served such as lobster with Matcha taste mayonnaise, Stir-fried salmon and scallop flavored with Sencha, Uji-cha cocktail, Matcha tiramisu and Matcha cream puff etc. Sounds yummy…..

To me, Autumn can be a “plump” season.



2011/09/07

A Rabit in the Moon

The hot and humid summer is fading. We feel "a little something autumn" these days like more nice and cozy breeze and the longer nights. We see more seasonal foods thanks to the harvest season, too. Therefore, in Japan, there are several nicknames for the season such as “autumn for sport”, “autumn for reading”, “autumn for a good appetite” etc. 

Also, it is the beautiful season to view the moon. We enjoy moon-viewing known as “tsukimi”, particularly, this season.


a rabbit pounding rice-cake
 in the moon

Speaking of which, would you come up a special motif when you  see the contrast between the brighter highlands and darker maria? For Japanese, a rabbit comes to our minds. More specifically, we believe “a rabbit pounding rice-cake” lives in the moon. Isn't that interesting? This explains why the moon or rabbits are often used as a motif for traditional Japanese sweets during this season. Those designs give us the sense of autumn.



Now is the time to enjoy teatime after long-heating sticky summer. Right?

rabbit shaped sweets


2011/09/03

Cheese and Tea!!

Many of you may believe that the paring of cheese and wine is the best. I totally agree with that. But, I think “cheese and tea” are also great friends.

I joined a special get-together “Cheese and Tea Lunch” hosted by a tea and a cheese experts and a French cafĂ© the other day. They created their own menus used various kinds of cheese only for this party,  and served with various kinds of tea.

Here is the menu:
1) Cake Sale(mimolette) & Pu’ercha
2) Stuffed tomato(red Leicester) & Assam
3) Salad with blue cheese dressing(fourme d’ambert mons)& White Peony
4) Cream Puff(carre de l’est) & Darjeeling
5) Far Breton (mahon menorca) & Wuyi rock tea from Fujian province
6) Blue cheese macaron ( Roquefort mons) & Heab tea


I tried different pairing, finding different flavor and aftertaste. For example, I preferred mimolete and Wuyi rock tea (rather than Pu'ercha), because I tasted it milder and smoother. And, aftertastes were different according to the pairing. “Fourme d’smnrty mons & White Peony” gave me a slight cheese flavor’s aftertaste, while “Fourme d’smnrty mons & Pu’ercha” blended well in my mouth and left no distinctive blue cheese flavor. I really enjoyed multiple facets of the combination of cheese and tea.

To be honest, it is hard to say Japanese green tea goes well cheese, so there was no green tea on the list, but the marriage of cheese and tea in Japanese way is great!