"Bitter" for Tea and "Bitter" for Beer

George Orwell said “ Tea is meant to be bitter, just as beer is meant to bitter” in his writing, A Nice Cup of Tea.

I like it, but my interest here is the word “bitter”. 

Unlike English language, Japanese has different words between bitter for beer and the one for tea. I mean “nigai” for beer, and “shibui” for tea. Also we say “nigai” chocolate for bitter chocolate, and "nigai" coffee for bitter coffee. We say “shibui” green tea for bitter green tea.

I know that English language has the word, astringency, for tea. But it is interesting to know  that “bitter” can be covered the taste both of beer and tea. 

Shibui” is astringency like tea while “nigai” is bitterness like beer, coffee, dark chocolate etc. If you are a tea person, it does no harm to know it.


All-Time High Price Tea !!

The first auction sale of the year in Shizuoka was held on April 24th

The price rose to a record high. Can you guess how much one kilogram tea is?? It’s 1,080,000 yen per kilogram!!!!! I know this is a season-opening festive market, but even so it’s ten times more than the best price before, which was 88,000 yen. 

In Japan, people celebrate the one who become 108 years old as “Chaju”, which literally means “tea celebration”. Taking the number 108 as a happy and lucky one, a buyer bid such a high price. What a generous buyer!!

This special hand-rolled tea is made from the cultivar of “Saemidori”. Roughly speaking, it would be more than 1000 yen per teacup. Would you like to try some? It can be a once-in- a lifetime experience^^) 

at the Shizuoka tea market (from Nikkei Online)

from  Nikkei Online


Shincha and Sencha

Did you know that Shincha is a kind of Sencha, but Sencha is not always Shincha??

“Sen” for Sencha means “to decoct” or “ to extract the essence”, and Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan.

“Shin” for Shincha means “new” or “fresh”, so Shincha means new tea, which is spring tea produced by first flush. When we say Shincha, it almost always refers to “spring Sencha”, which means that Sencha produced by first flush. Shincha is especially characterized by a fresh and grassy aroma since they are made from the fresh and young buds and leaves. 

You can buy Sencha in all seasons of the year, but  Shincha is found only in spring. Enjoy!

japanese character "Shincha" by Ippodo


“Hoga Sengen" in 2017

The Kyoto tea authority announced “hoga sengen” (budding announcement) on April 7th 2017.

It’s 2 days later than usual because the average temperature in March was a bit low. The announcement is annually issued when about 70% of new buds of “Yabukita” cultivar (the most common cultivar to produce green tea) cultivated at a research institute are grown about twice as big as the size of leaves which are wrapped the buds. Usually, about one month after hoga sengen, tea is ready to be plucked.

Sakura flowers are at their best now here. When finished, it is “tea” turn! 


Discover Premium Green 2017 in Kyoto

Tea Expo 2017 "Discover Premium Green" in Kyoto just started. Various tea events are planning to be held here and there in Kyoto thought the year. 

As its opening event,  "Sakura chakai (Sakura tea party)" in the open air was held on April 1 and 2. If lucky enough, we could take a walk along a row of Sakura and enjoyed the beautiful scenery while having tea, but…..a bit early for Sakura this year.

It's supposed to be this according to the leaflet.

Unfortunately.....a bit early for Sakura

Even so, it was a lovely day! People had a tea under the beautiful sky, which made it more special.

I had a Gyokuro and Sencha with sweets.

Of course, there are several booths to sell tea and tea sweets including Matcha ice cream and Hojicha ice cream (What a long queue for it!!) . I saw some tea farmers and tea people I know.

If you have a plan to visit to Kyoto this year, check it out if you can join the part of the tea event!


Shincha 2017 has come! - Tea Nouveau-

Japanese tea season starts from the southern part of Japan.

Tanegashima, Kagoshima prefecture is one of the earliest places where the Shincha (the first flush Sencha of the year) begins to be put on the market.

Usually, it’s around the end of March, but this year it just started because spring came a bit late. It’s the first time in 23 years since their Shincha put on the market  in April instead of March.

Whatever it is, much-awaited Shincha (literally means; new tea) season has come! Shincha season is going up north including to Kyoto and Shizuoka.

frm Shojuen

Kamairicha made by Mr Kajihara in Kumamoto

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