Winne-the-Phoo Cake

I came across such a cutie at a convenience store.  That was Winnie-the-Phoo!
How can I ignore him!!??  I couldn't resist it! I had to buy it!

Actually I also found Mickey Mouse version. It's cute too, but I am afraid I am a Phoo person. So I left him at the store.....:-)

Convenience stores are everywhere in Japan, and they are so competitive. Therefore, they put new and unique items on market one after another. When you happen to be in Japan, you should drop at those stores. It'll be fun!


Hojicha Porridge

Hojicha porridge lunch @tsuboichi seicha in Namba, Osaka.

Tea is used for tofu and deep-fried chicken.

A good accompaniment to the porridge is "tsukudani". Usually, it refers to seaweed simmered in soy sauce and mirin seasoning. But this one is made from tea leaves.

A traditional tea box-shaped sweets is good with green tea.  

Surprisingly, another sweet is served with Hojicha :-) . 

Even in Namba, a big city, this place is very nice and cozy. Also they serve various menu items including lunch and sweets with tea. When you want to escape from hustle and bustle of Osaka, this is a good one:-) 

*tsuboichi seicha (Shop in Sakai city, and Namba)


Japanese Tea room in Kobe -Kobe Chai Hane-

I visited a Japanese tea room, Kobe Chai Hane. Their tea menu shows where the tea is grown, how it is processed and the cultivar, which is very kind for people who don't know about tea well.


The tea I ordered is this: Fukamushi Sencha (deep-steamed Sencha), Saemidori cultivar in Shimane. They are covered for a week. It is too short to be called "Kabuse cha (covered tea)", but much more Umami-rich tea than I expected. I suppose, thanks to the cultivar.

Recently, more people prefer milder and more Umami taste rather than refreshing astringency. So more tea tend to be covered even for a short time.

The tea room serves sweets and lunch including take away lunch while serving very special tea. Which means all the people from the young to the elderly, from tea geeks to non-geeks can enjoy. Anyway, it's lunch time! I had tea flavored rice and a bowl of miso flavored pork soup.

The rice is cooked in Bancha, and some tea flack are sprinkled on it. 

In front of the tea room, there are some menu lists using a wooden box. Actually, tea used to be kept in those boxes. Great way to be upcycled!


Special Tencha (ingredient of Matcha)

At the Teatopia Festival in Wazuka, Kyoto.

I had Tencha (ingredient of Matcha) made from a special cultivar “Narino” from a long-establish tea shop “Horii-shichimeien” in Uji. This very special tencha was served only for the festival, and under the sky.

For  five grams Tencha, very small amount of low temperature water is poured, and wait for 45 seconds.

Looks very pale, but it has tons of Umami. Very overwhelming!! Multiple infusions can be enjoyed.

Of course, I ate infused leaves, which contains lots of nutrients left, with a bit of soy sauce.

A friend of mine kindly shared Matcha made from the same cultivar, Narino. It is also very good. Just make sure, when tencha is ground by stone-mill, it become "Matcha".

I am glad I didn't miss this Tencha!!

Teatopia Festival in Wazuka 2019

Chagenkyo(Teatopia) Festival 2019 in Wazuka, Kyoto.

Drink, eat, smell, feel, touch, learn, talk about tea…..Immersed in the tea world with all five senses. Great example of tea tourism.


Happy Tea Day! - Green and Black -

October 31st is one of the two "Japanese (green) tea day" known as "Nihoncha-no-Hi". This is based on this story; A Japanese Buddhist priest, Yosai (also known as Eisai ), brought back some tea seeds to Japan from China on October 31, 1191.

The other "Nihoncha-no-Hi" is October 1st. This is to commemorate the Grand Kitano Tea Ceremony at the Kitano Tenmangu Shrine in Kyoto,hosted by Toyotomi Hideyoshi, a preeminent feudal lord, on October 1, 1587.

As for today, Halloween is much bigger in Japan....but anyway, happy "Nihoncha" day!

Followed by Japanese green tea day, November 1st is black tea day known as “Kocha-no-hi” set by Japan (Black) Tea Association in 1983 to boost the consumption of the tea. 
It is because that November 1st  is “considered” the very first day when Japanese ever had “black tea”. In 1783, the ship, which a Japanese guy named Daikokuya Kodayu was on, drifted on the way to Japan, but managed to reach the Russian mainland. People there kindly saved his life and he stayed for a while. Fortunately, he was granted an audience with Catherine the Great and obtained permission to return to his country, and even invited to her tea party on November 1st. This is why the day was chosen as “black tea day” in Japan.
Whether the story is true or not, happy "kocha (black tea)" day too!


Mizuhiki Teapot

"Mizuhiki” is a traditional colored paper cord to tie a wrapping gift to show thanks or respect. A friend of mine, a Mizuhiki artist, creates various things with Mizuhiki, bringing a breath of fresh air to the traditional cord. 

She made Mizuhiki teapot for me.

 As for white teapots, one is for a brooch, the other is for a pendant. Lovely!


Tea Garden in Osaka Castle 2

There is a small tea garden in Osaka castle as I posted before; 

The other day, I joined the group who take care of them. After weeding, we helped prune and skiff this time so that the new buds will come out nicely in spring.

These shears are really heavy. We only worked for a couple of hours, but my arms were so sore:-(

After that, fertilize and water....

These tea were originally planted as one of the plants and flowers in the garden, not as tea production. Unfortunately, they had not been taken care of for long time, and there are still so many flowers and seeds, which is the sign for the trees to be about to die. 

Even so, I can see that they are bigger and healthier than last time. I am sure they will be fine. Keep growing, tea!


Good Design Award 2019

Locally-grown tea is called "Jikocha" in Japan. An annual locally-grown tea convention of tea growers and others at home and abroad has been held since 2002 to revitalize the local economy (tea industry) and community.

That "National Locally-Grown Tea Convention" won the Good Design Award  as community development.

Here is the website of Good Design Award. Please have a look. The English in this website was done by me and my friend.



Meeting of Society for Locally-Grown Tea

The 2nd Meeting of Society for "Jikocha (locally-grown tea)" at Tokyo University of Agriculture. Nearly 60 people -- including tea experts, tea makers, universities' professors and students --participated in the meeting. 

As one of the speakers, I was honored to speak about "Jikocha” production in Scotland, especially about Tea Gardens of Scotland and The Scottish Tea Factory.

All of the participants know about tea production. That is why they can imagine easily -- more than anyone -- how tough growing tea there is. Most of locally-grown tea makers are concern about their community and its future. That is why they show their respects to the Scottish tea makers who care about their community. What the Scottish tea makers have been doing also inspired Japanese young people, the supporters of the future tea industry.

 Once again, I feel very horned and lucky to have met such wonderful people like them. Special thanks to Beverly-Claire Wainwright of The Scottish Tea Factory, and Catherine Drummond-Herdman of Megginch Castle, a member of Tea Gardens of Scotland.

* The Scottish Tea Factory  https://scottishteafactory.co.uk/
* Tea Gardens of Scotland https://teagardensofscotland.co.uk/


Book of Locally-Grown Tea known as "Jikocha"

【Book on “Jikocha (locally-grown tea)” will come out
Many small-scale Japanese tea producers have been creating experimental tea such as  wakocha (Japanese black) mainly out of 'local pride' and concern for local economy and future. We often call the tea "jikocha", or locally-grown tea. 

This book covers mainly about Japanese "Jikocha", but of course the tea made out of the love for the community are seen in the world. 
I feel privileged to write a little bit about "jikocha" makers in Scotland for the book. Very honored and lucky to have met such wonderful people like them.


Geeky T-shirts

There are numerous T-shirts with funny words and designs throughout the world. But who would imagine to produce “tea production machine T-shirt”??

A graphic designer-turned-tea shop owner in Osaka made this.

Too geeky, but tea geeks like this kind of stuff. Especially tea makers love it.  

tea roller version -trial item-
This is THE "TEA" shirts :-). More versions will come soon!

*Chaen : https://chaenjin.jimdo.com/


Netto Koridashi Sencha

It's been a while since I posted last blog.....Too hot...ha. ha :-(

Even this scorching hot summer,  I try not to drink cold drink a lot, but once in a while I need it. In Japan, green tea brewed with water (known as "mizudashi")  or with ice cubes (known as "koridashi) are relatively common to make cold brew. But the problem is it takes a while to make cold brew.

When you want to drink it soon, there is the way; "Netto Koridashi", which literally means boiling hot water and ice cube brewing. 

This is how to make it.

First, place a lot of ice cubes in a tea pot.

Second, place some tea leaves on the ice cubes.

Then, pour hot water carefully over the leaves.

photo by Samurai chajin
Wait for a couple of minutes. Ready!

Simple, isnt it? Compare to "koridashi" (brew with only ice cubes), it has a richer taste and darker color. But bitterness won't come out. Of course, multiple infusion is possible. 

* Other photos by Cookpad

Kamairicha made by Mr Kajihara in Kumamoto

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