2014/06/27

Less Sweetness and Less Bitterness

I remember the words below by a Wagashi (Japanese traditional sweets) chef at a traditional shop in Kyoto. 

“Wagashi is supposed to be sweet. In olden times, people took sugared sweets as  special treats because sugar was very valuable back then, and enjoyed sweetness. But now, many say ‘I like this because it's not so sweet!’  I understand people have come to be health-conscious, but as a Wagashi chef, I have mixed feelings to hear that comment.” 

He said this jokingly, but I found an interesting point in his remarks. 

I sometime remember his words when I hear a comment on tea. Some says “I like this tea because it is not bitter.” To me, bitterness is vital in tea. I need good bitterness, which I think gives the complex to the taste. Of course, this is just my thought and I understand everyone has his/her own taste. 

 Peoples' tastes change.  “Something which is supposed to be” is not our favorites anymore.

Assorted Wagashi made by FELTING.
You cannnot eat them..Too bad :-)

-made by "Chaen" tea shop owner-



2014/06/17

Let Tea Breathe!??

Black teas like Assam, Uva, Keemun and so on often turn stale when cold. Also, the color become cloudy. 

However, I've found that Japanese black tea known as wakocha don’t. I am not saying all of them, but at least some as long as I have tried. They taste different when cold. Some change even for the better, which is interesting. Do they need “air”? Should I let wakocha breathe like we do so for red wine?? Ha, ha. Luckily, many wakocha remain the color even when cold, so it won't disappoint you by appearance.

Tea is not simple. That’s why I cannot get out of tea. You all agree, don’t you?



Messy!! but a fun sampling time.
See? The color is still clear even when cold.



2014/06/13

Teatime to Get Through the Summer

As you may know, wagashi (traditional Japanese sweets)  places an importance on season. Different types of sweets are seen according to the changes of the seasons. 

In June, it’s Minazuki’s turn. It is made of Uiro (sweet rice jelly) and adzuki beans. Uiro gives a refreshing feeling to look at, and adzuki beans are believed to drive away the evil spirits in order to get through the summer. Also what matters most is its shape. It has to be triangle, which refers to “a chip of ice” to give you the coolness to the eye. 

With this sweets, we enjoy teatime, drive away evil spirits and feel coolness….. Let's say that it kills “three” birds with one “Minazuki”.

Minazuki -photo frm M-