2012/08/30

Tea+Tourism=Teaism???

"Agritourism (green-tourism in Japanese)” is paid attention more these days. Some tea producing areas have already introduced the tourism.

Now, Ureshino city, another famous tea producing area, is planning to adopt the real-experience tour. Travelers will be able to visit tea farms, pick tea leaves and process handmade black tea known as wakocha. Ureshino is also well-known hot springs town. So, tea and hot spring will free you from stress and bring you soothing time there.

People learn more about tea and enjoy their experience. The tea-grown districts can take advantage of their rich natural resources and promote more tea, coming to live. This win-win tourism will be more and more in demand.

Hands-on experience in Kyoto  -photo by tomo-

2012/08/24

Pan-fire and Steaming

To process black tea, tea leaves are to be wilted and oxidized after picked so that their chlorophyll breaks down and tannins are released, which is generally called “fermentation process”. While green tea, soon after picked, tea leaves are needed to be stopped fermentation by adding heat, mainly by steaming in case of Japanese green tea. 


Kamairi-cha
Also there is another way to do that. That is pan-fired method. This is often done to process Chinese tea, but some Japanese green tea is also made by pan-fire. Unlike steaming type, pan-fired type has a distinctive aroma, which is great.

Actually, steaming one is more popular in the market, but recently, this pan-fired type know as called “Kama-iri ( kama:pan, iri:pan-fire)” has been paid much more attention especially to tea-lovers. People, including me of course, have been more demanding. Rather than mass production, now is the time for something special, something unique and something personal.



 

2012/08/20

Warabimoch -summer sweets-

Believe it or not, autumn has begun in Japan. This is only “according to the Japanese traditional calendar”, though. Actually, still hot! .

warabimochi

When summer comes, a confection known as “warabimochi” gets more popular. It is a jelly-like sweets made from bracken starch and covered with kinako (toasted soybean flour). This traditional snack with a simple taste and smooth mouth-feel gives us not only refreshment but a gentle and nostalgic feeling. It is a bit floury because of kinako, taking moisture in your mouth. So, it always goes with a nice cup of tea!



2012/08/16

Violence of Nature


The number of natural disasters has been increasing all over the world. Earthquakes, droughts, torrential rain, record heat wave……

Some well-known Japanese tea producing areas have also been suffering serious damage hit by torrential rain. Yame and Uji are two of the stricken areas, both of which are really famous for growing high-quality tea including Gyokuro, Sencha etc. Considering the extent of the damage, there must be a long way to go, but I am sure those teas will make a comeback.

Tea field damaged from torrential rain-Yame city-

2012/08/10

Summer Flavored Tea

Personally, I prefer regular tea such as Keemun, Assam, Uva etc. to flavored tea. However, many prefer flavored tea in Japan. Seems like this is a trend throughout the world.

Those are some examples sold only in summer at a Japanese tea shop.

-SUMMER SPECIALTY-
Mint & grapefruit flavored green tea
Pomegranate & jasmine flavored green tea
Chinese-style almond jelly & tropical fruit
Lemon soda flavored green tea topped with “Kompeitou” (pointed sugar candy balls)

lemon soda flavor topped with "Kompeitou"  By Lupicia

Again, I don’t drink flavored tea basically, but those teas are attracting more people for sure. I am curious about the special flavor for this autumn.



2012/08/05

Summer Specialty "Uji-Kintoki"

Summer is hot, of course, but Japanese summer is more than that. Humid, sticky and sweltering!! That’s a bad news….

In order to cope with this season, shaved ice dessert, known as “Kakigori”, helps a lot. There is a wide variety of flavor such as strawberry, lemon, melon, and “Uji-kintoki”, which is my favorite. “Uji” is one of the most famous Japanese tea producing area's name, and “Kintoki” is another name for red beans. That is, sweetened tea, matcha, and sweetened red beans are on the shaved ice. Both sweetness and a bit of bitterness of matcha are well-balanced, saving us from the heat for a while.

Kakigori  "Uji-kintoki flavor"  -photo by Mr.Akasu-