2013/07/27

Cha-Soba

I hear Japanese noodles such as Ramen, Udon and Soba are popular in some countries outside of Japan.

Have you tried “Cha-Soba”? It is Soba (buckwheat noodles) mixed with matcha. It is eaten as regular soba is or as it is arranged. The one in the picture is “saladaish Cha-Soba” at a casual restaurant in Kyoto. Even when I lose my appetite because of this scorching days, this refreshing taste could help stimulate my appetite.

Cha-soba salad with Goma(sesame) dressing  -by T-
















2013/07/23

Ice-Cubed Tea

It is Hot! I usually drink hot tea not to let my body get too cold. But once in a while, I cannot resist some good cold tea especially on such a sweltering day.

If you happen to have Gyokuro or high-quality Sencha, both of which has a lot of umami in, why don’t you make tea using ice cubes?? This is how it is prepared.

First, place tea leaves in a small tea pot and put some ice cubes over the tea leaves in it. All you have to do is just wait until ice cubes melt. Now, tea is ready. Isn't that simple? No need to boil water and worry about steeping time. Remember, just wait!

Tea with lots of umami is recommendable for this ice cubed-tea. Enjoy!


by T


2013/07/11

Tea to the world -overcoming the language barrier –

Japanese tea is not only one. There are various kinds: Matcha, Sencha, Hojicha, Genmaicha, Bancha, Mecha, Kukicha, Wakocha…..And even among Sencha, there are some kinds like Asamushi sencha, Fukamushi sencha, Kamairi sencha etc.
 
Happily, those “Japanese teas” gain their popularity outside of Japan, and some teas are exported to the world. But still there are more good teas which haven’t been found in the world market. One of the biggest reasons for farmers to hesitate to export is language barrier. Some medium-sized tea companies might be able to hire employees who speak English. But if they are family farms, it wouldn’t be easy to do so. They have great teas, but hesitate to export because of language problem. What a shame!
 
In order to support those farmers, I sometime work as “a bridge”  between Japanese tea farmers and foreign customers such as tea shops. The other day, another rare tea that I supported as a translator flew to a foreign country. I’m not the one who grows and produce the tea, but I feel happy to see another great tea born in Japan will be loved by people in a foreign country.
 
There are more latent teas. Enjoy more!
 
tea seedling -by T-
 

2013/07/05

Aroma Sencha

I like aroma. Aroma brings us relaxation. The aroma of tea brings me happiness. (In my case, not artificial one, the aroma of tea itself :-)

Speaking of which, I've learned that sencha in the past had more aromas individually. I was surprised because sencha now is regarded as “umami” tea rather than as “aroma” tea.

Why did it have more aroma?   ---- Withering is a key word.

Nowadays, I think, because of a rule made by a Japanese tea association and the mass-producing era, it is considered that the taste of tea should be unified, and sencha has to have its freshness. Even a little bit of aroma created by withering is not  thought to be suitable for high-quality sencha. Therefore, tea farmers add the heat to the leaves right after picking them up to avoid withering. Also thanks to advanced machines, the leaves can be kept freshness for a while.

Of course, producing green tea doesn’t require any withering process. However, in the past, the leaves were withered unintentionally, which created its own character to each tea. Actually, many elder people say the tea in the past had deeper flavor.

Now, the time has changed and it is not mass-producing era anymore."Unified" is not always needed. Some, especially tea geeks (including me), are eager to find something special, one of which could be the sencha with a little bit of “on purpose” withering. We call it “ichoka (lit: icho=withering, ka=aroma) for the aroma. I believe this “Ichoka- sencha” will be accepted as another type of sencha sometime soon.



by T

2013/07/01

Mugicha -summer tea-

Summer in Japan is really hot. In addition to that, very very damp, which makes the situation worse.

In order to overcome scorching heat, we have a summer tea known as "Mugicha". Strictly speaking, this is not a tea-tea because it's made from roasted barley. Usually, I insist that tea has to be made from camellia sinensis, but this is an exception. I can accept mugicha because it helps us a lot.


It is caffeine-free so that men and women of all ages can gulp the tea. Truly, it is a must for Japanese summer.