2012/05/26

RED or BLACK??

In English, oxidative fermented tea is called “BLACK tea”, right?  In Japanese, we call the tea “Kocha”, literally means “RED (or Crimson) tea”. Our fermented tea is RED, not black, ha, ha.

As you may know, “black” for black tea comes from the color of fermented tea leaves. Also, since hard water used in the UK extracts more tannin, which makes the tea liquid color darker or blackish. In Japan, we have been using soft water, extracting reddish liquid. So, when people in the olden times saw the tea, they must have thought RED was more suitable rather than black for the tea. Since then, it has been called "Kocha (Red tea)".

BTW, green tea is called “Ryokucha”, literally means Green tea. Black is not always black, but Green is green. :-)

Lapsung souchong  -photo by tomo-

2012/05/22

Tea and Coffee

Are you a tea-lover or coffee-lover? You may say “I like both". In that case, why don't you try this unique beverage?

Coca-Cola (Japan) Company, Limited has just released unique canned coffee with black tea aroma called "Georgia cross UK-STYLE. The company says that it is a full of flavorful and refreshing aroma coffee with extract of Darjeeling tea known as the Champaign of tea. So, right after you open the can, you will enjoy the tea aroma.

Their first unique coffee drinks with Matcha “Georgia cross WA (Japanese) STYLE” was already released last November and caught people’s attention. The “UK-STYLE” is the second serious of their novel products mixed with tea.

Coffee with Matcha, and with black tea.....then, what's next?? Maybe, with Oriental beauty??? We will see.

Georgia cross UK-STYLE 
by Coca-cola(Japan)Co.Ltd.

2012/05/15

Novel Designed Tea Label -RANJI-

The pictures are called RANJI, the package labels on wooden tea boxes for Japanese tea export used around from the end of 19th through the beginning of 20th century. Don’t you think they are novel for the design in those days?
RANJI  -photo by tomo-

The RANJI designs were made by then Ukiyoe artisans. I understand that some say RANJI are the origin of the current Japanese graphics design. Those labels must have impressed on Western people the Japanese tea’s presence.

Unfortunately, RANJI were obsolete for the time being, but recently they are beginning to be revived and used for tea packages etc.

Once again, now is time to show more Japanese tea’s presence from various aspects, to say nothing of its quality.

*More picture of RANJI
      HIRANO MUSEUM  http://www.hirano-museum.jp/ranji.html
                           <Ranji exhibition at the museum (in Shizuoka) >

Leaflet for RANJI exhibition

2012/05/10

Good job, Tea leaf hopper!

I am not a big fan of small insects. Let me rephrase this; I don’t like them.

But, I owe a small green bug called “the tea leaf hopper”. The leaf hoppers help create the beautiful and sweet aroma of Darjeeling and Oriental Beauty. Their bites start the oxidation of the leaves and induce the special aroma. This is one of the special methods of producing those black teas.

Surprisingly, there is a Wakocha (Japanese black tea) using the same method even in Japan, too. The tea called “Yama no Hoju” with a bit of sharp bitterness like Darjeeling. It also has a subtle fruity and sweet aroma, which reminds me of Oriental Beauty.

As one of the tea-lovers, it is exciting to try more interesting teas. Thank you, the leaf hoppers, and thank you, the tea farmers pursuing their best teas.

Yama no Hoju  -Photo by tomo -

2012/05/06

Make tea by belly button!

As English does, Japanese has proverbs and sayings using the word “tea (cha)”. Here are a couple of examples. Can you guess what those mean?

1)Ocha o nigosu
It literally means “to make tea turbid”.
So, it is used when people speak ambiguously or give an evasive answer.

2)Chacha o ireru
It means “to put in the tea”, referring to interruption.

3)Heso de cha o wakasu
This is a funny one, literally meaning “to make tea by your belly button”. Can you do it? You may say, “Don’t make me laugh. That’s ridiculous!” That’s exactly what it means. “Don’t make me laugh!!”.

tea tree doll  -photo by tomo-

2012/05/03

Historical High - Wazuka Tea -

The Kyoto tea auction was held on April 30, 2012.An average price per kg is 10,420 yen.

Among those, the hand-made tea produced in Wazuka town hit a record high. Can you guess how much is it per kilogram? That’s 140,000yen per kg!!  (118,888 yen in 2011)

Wazuka tea always enjoys the highest price in Japan. Once again, the tea maintains its position.

Tea Farms in Wazuka town, KYOTO  -photo by tomo-

2012/05/01

Like Father, Like Son

If you are a big fan of black tea, you can imagine the taste to some extent. What's Assam like? What about Keemun?

Concerning Wakocha (Japanese black tea), the story is not the same. The tea variety used for Wakocha are different from farmer to farmer, creating too variety aromas and flavors to explain.

But, if I have to describe the differences between conventional teas and Wakocha, I would say this: Generally, each well-known black tea (such as Assam, Uva and Keemun etc) has its strong character. Each has its own distinguish aroma, and sound body. On the other hand, Wakocha has rather modest character; subtle aroma and flavor, and lighter body than the other black tea. Due to its mildness, the tea relatively goes well with wider variety foods.

Of course, the character is mainly created by Japanese climate, soil and other factors. But to me, the trait of Wakocha seems to be similar to that of Japanese. We are considered to be modest, and place an importance on harmony with others rather than our own personalities.

“Like 'farmer', like 'tea'."    Don't you think?



             Wakocha             -Photo by tomo-