Tea -aroma Coffee!?

New style canned coffee called “THE MARIAGE” will be released the beginning of February.

According to the advertisement, since tea aroma is added to coffee, you can enjoy both full-flavored coffee taste and fine tea aroma together.

It is a coffee, not tea, but you can smell tea. Hmm…worth try it.


Setsubun - Devil out, Luck in! -

One of the seasonal events known as “Setsubun” (lit. “seasonal division”)” falls on February 3 this year. According to the lunar calendar, “Setsubun” was considered to be a sort of New Year’s Eve. It is customary to do the special ritual to cleanse away all the evil of the former year and drive away evil spirits for the year to come. “Mamemaki” (bean throwing) is the most popular ritual. We throw roasted soybeans while saying “Devil out, luck in.”

Another custom is to eat uncut makizushi called “Eho-Maki” (lit. "lucky direction roll") in silence on “Setsubun “ while facing the yearly lucky compass direction, determined by the zodiac symbol of that year. This is more recent trend originated from Osaka. Until you finish eating it, you cannot talk even one word. Otherwise, luck will be gone.

When you try “Eho-Maki”, you should have tea with you so that you won’t get it stuck in your throat!


Gyokuro - Kyotanabe vs Yame -

Have you tried Gyokuro (often translated as “Jade dew”)? It is considered to be the highest grad of tea and is characterize by rich Umami. And also it has distinguished aroma like Nori sea vegetable does.

Two of the best Gyokuro producing areas are “Yame” and “Kyotanabe”. Yame is a city located in Fukuoka prefecture located on Kyūshū Island (the southern part of Japan). Kyotanabe is in Kyoto. As you know, the taste of tea differs from region to region even if they are the same kind. The question is...what is the difference? Kyotanabe one has more Nori aroma and rich taste. The color of the leaves is darker. Yame one is sweeter and milder. The color is lighter and the leaves are more sensible.

Gyokuro is not an everyday tea so that we can drink like Sencha in terms of the character and price. It is a special tea to taste only small amount. If you have a chance to be served Gyokuro, you may be surprised to taste the concentration of Umami in such a small amount.



Big Tea Cup Ceremony

An annual event, ”O-chamori (Big tea cup) ceremony” at Saidaiji temple in Nara was held 15th of January, 2012. Visitors passed around a nice huge bowl of tea in turn and prayed for good health through the year.

The origin of the event backs to the 13th century. A Buddhist monk, who restored the temple, offered tea to the Buddhist deity and shared it to the visitors, then.

The size of the bowl is around 30cm in diameter and 5kilograms in weight. I wonder how many people can manage to hold it by themselves…



Tea-seving doll -Karakuri-

Who makes and serves a nice cup of tea for you? Have you ever thought that a doll would do for you?

I am not talking about contemporary robot or so. Tea-serving karakuri doll (mechanical doll) was already invented in 18th century. Nowadays, we cannot see those dolls very often, but imagine that a doll would serve tea! Sounds really interesting and exciting, doesn’t it?

Tea-seving Karakuri doll
You can see how it moves and serves. Check it out!



Tea Honey

As you may know, Uji in Kyoto is one of the most renowned tea-producing districts.

A beekeeper living in the area produces honey made only from tea flowers. He used to be a tea farmer, so he must know what is “tea” well. According to him, tea honey is rich in iron and mineral. It has high sugar content, but not too sweet.

He produces tea honey every year, but a small amount, in order to arouse people’s interest in honey. Not on the market…too bad…. Uji tea honey! I would love to try one day!



The new year 2012 has begun.

The traditional New Year’s hand-rolled tea event was held in Shizuoka city. This event is done every year by members of a society for the preservation of hand-rolled tea in hopes of the growth of tea industry and people's health. 

Hope 2012 will be bright for everyone.

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