Blend of Japanese Tea and Coffee - CHASHITSU -

At a tea shop called “CHASHITSU” in Osaka, I ordered this: “hojicha coffee jelly tea”. Is this hojicha? coffee??

According the shop, "this drink has coffee jelly, coffee essence and a slice of orange IN hojicha. You can enjoy the coffee as if you do tea." 
That made me more confused…..but I shouldn’t complain it until I try….so I did.

Surprisingly, it was not bad. I tasted coffee rather than hojicha, but like I said, it was not bad. Better than I expected. It was difficult to tell what it was, but  as a summer drink, it was good. A slice of orange gave it refreshing aroma too. Actually, an elder guy at the next table said “Wow, it’s more tasty than I expected.”

The shop has relatively ”conventional” drink too, but also soda of blending of hojicha and coffee with some grapefruit, coffee with thick Matcha cream on, coffee mixed with hojicha.... and so on.

I prefer tea as tea, but it's interesting to try something else once in a while. I should remember that tea can be anything. And I should be more flexible without being held back by fixed ideas.:-) 

* CHASHITSU   http://chashitsu.jp/


"Funmatsu" vs "Kona" Tea

There are two kinds of Japanese teas which mean very similar, but different. One is “kona-cha”, the other one is “funmatsu-cha”. Name-wise, both of kona and funmatsu mean powder in Japanese. Therefore, people get confused.

“Kona-cha” is dust tea. It is a by-product and the leaves are very very tiny, but cannot be dissolved completely into hot water. So kyusu teapot is required to make "kona-cha".
kona-cha by Wikipedia

“Funmatsu-cha” is powdered tea. Unlike matcha that shade-grown tea is ground by a stone mill, funmatsu-cha is usually powdered sencha, which is grown in the sun. Funmatsu-cha is dissolved into hot water like instant coffee. Sushi-go-round restaurants in Japan usually have this tea, so you may have had this tea if you've visited Japan.
I heard funmatsu-cha has sold well recently.  Maybe, it is because that some media have been talking that the powdered tea is good for you since you can consume all the nutrients in tea. Also they say that you don’t have to clean up a teapot afterwards. That sounds attractive for some consumers.

"Funmatsu-cha" is powdered tea, while "kona-cha" is dust tea----- 

Even Japanese people get confused which is which, and some even don't know they are different. Also both “funmatsu-cha” and “kona-cha” are often translated as powdered tea in English. People recognize the teas, but unfortunately can't remember their names.


The Pride of Shizuoka

In Shizuoka, there is a prefectural ordinance which bans on adding any additives like flavoring, coloring and so forth. For examples, if you want to add some dried flowers or fruits to produce flavored tea, you have to report it to the governor to get permission, whose procedure is said to be very complicated. 

Recently, some people had voiced concern over the future of their tea business, saying like "Amid growing the demand on flavored tea, this rule can disturb the business to expand." , “People’s demand have diversified. Shizuoka tea business will get left behind due to the rule.” "If “umami” additive is allowed to use for the second flush, even the tea can be sold at the higher cost, which can help the farmers continue their business in the long run." and the like. 

In response to those voices, Shizuoka government discussed if they should abolish this rule. Opinion seemed to be divided on it. Some say that abolishing this rule can help create more variety tea products, which should meet the demands and be good for the tea business to expand, while some say that it can lose customer’s trust in Shizuoka tea, and the quality of the tea can go down. 

After due consideration and discussion, the controversial issue is likely to be brought to a conclusion. The rule will not be abolished. Which means that, basically, they only rely on the taste of tea without adding any additives, although the procedure to get permission to use additives seems to be simplified to some extent as a compromise plan.

Delivering honest Shizuoka tea to customers------This is the pride of Shizuoka as one of the biggest tea producing areas.