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


Tea Garden in Osaka Castle

There is a tiny tea garden in Osaka castle. 

Actually, the tea trees have been there for many years, but hadn't been taken care for ages and were about to be pulled out.....Luckily, they are saved now! Phew!! 

I helped weed the garden. The tea are still week, but weeds are strong!!

There are so many tea fruits, in which usually three seeds. This is not a good sign. It shows the tree is weak and trying to leave offspring before going to die.

Hopefully, they will grow healthier enough to make a bit of hand-rolled tea next spring!


Yumefuki - Leaf to Cup-

Japanese black tea called "Yumefuki" made from Benifuki cultivar is produced by Ms Tanaka and her family and team in Kagoshima. 

This is 2019 first flush.

Clear color with a golden ring. 

A lovely cup of fresh green note and a hint of herb with a pleasant bitterness.

They also run their own tea shops both in Kagoshima and Osaka.

They grow, process, serve and sell their tea. I think that this "from leaf to cup" style must be very ideal for a small-scale tea producer.

Another cultivar "benihikari" is available too.

It started with Ms Tanaka's passion and power to tea. And now her daughter and grand daughters have been carrying on her love for tea. 


MATCHA by NHK world

If you are Matcha lover, why don't you check it out!
Broadcast by NHK world. (Available until June 12, 2020.)


Wakocha and Jikocha - Japanese Black Tea and Locally-Grown Tea -

Japanese black tea is called “Wakocha”. Did you know it has another nickname as “Jikocha”? "Wakocha" literally means Japanese black tea, while "Jikocha" is locally-grown black tea. In any case, both refers to black tea grown and produced in Japan, but strictly speaking, they are slightly different.
Japanese black tea was first produced around the 19th century as an export items, but it didn’t last long, and green tea has been the mainstream. But the consumption of green tea has been declining, and more people have given up their tea business.
Black tea has started to be produced again since 1990’s in hope that the local tea industry and community would revitalize and be able to be handed down  to future, and now it is getting popular.
Wakocha and Jikocha  - Yumefuki from Kagoshima-
In other word, in 19th century, production of black tea was encouraged by the government while the current black tea production was started by tea farmers who really care about the community including its economy, environment and future.
So “jikocha” can be taken as the tea for community. If so, there are lots of “Jikocha” produced by people who try to help revitalize the local industry throughout the world.
Mass-produced tea is needed, but Jikocha, which is small-scale, but produced with a great care for the community, could help the areas and the people in the world.


Tea Tasting - Izumi Cultivar Black Tea -

There are so many tea cultivar in Japan. Some are popular and others are rare. “Izumi” cultivar is one of the rare one, and sometimes called an “illusory cultivar”. Izumi was originally used for “kamairi-cha (pan-fired green tea) to export, but gradually its exports had been shrinking and the cultivar itself became rare.
It is still rare, but now I see more for sure mainly as black or Oolong teas.
Luckily, I have three different Izumi Wakocha (Japanese black) produced by three different tea artisans. All of them are lightly oxidized. 

As you know, the taste can be different depending on the area the tea is grown, the producers even the cultivar is the same. 

Let's see....

I like the left one best. It has a surprisingly peach aroma with a little bit of pleasant bitterness, which I like. As a tea-lover, tasting tea is always fun and exciting.


World Tea Festival in Osaka

"World Tea Festival" had been held from May16 thorough 20 at Hankyu Department Store, Umeda in Osaka. 

It was the third time, and getting bigger special event year by year.
So many tea companies got together at once, and the site was PACKED with people.

In Japan, coffee is bigger than tea, so I wonder if people gather for tea. Surprisingly, they did.
There were so many tea-ish stuff and infusion and also "dessert-tea" like cheese tea, and bubble tea. They were popular, which I expected. But other than that, people seemed to be very interested in authentic tea too, which is great.

During the event, lots of workshops were held too.  I attended a workshop done by Simon from Amba estate in Sri Lanka.

Hand-rolled tea "Tea with Flower"
Dried tea flower is blended

very delicate and a hint of honey note

Tea seems to be all the rage, but on the other hand, I know many tea farmers in Japan have been struggling their tea business too. Hope this kind of events are the good chance for more people to come to know more about tea and to brew tea themselves.


Gyokuro Saturated with Water

How to brew GYOKURO.

<What you need; (from the left)>
*a small tea bowl, ]
*a tea pot without handle known as "hohin" (lit; treasure jar)
*a vessel to cool down hot water called "yuzamashi"
1) Pour hot water into yuzamashi  and let it cool a bit.  Then transfer some water into the tea bowl. About 40- 50 ℃ is suitable to maximize gyokuro character, which is Umami savory. 

2) Put gyokuro (about 5 g) into hohin, and transfer the hot water into it.

3) Leave the lid open and see how the tea is soaking the water. Not ready yet....

4) About 2 minutes later.... soaked well. Now it's ready. You may think " No liquor!!".No worry.

5) Pour the tea until the last drop. You will get this amount of tea. You may still say this is not enough. Anyway, drink it, and you will be surprised how powerful the tea is!! Very very very rich in Umami, and the texture is really thick. You will be satisfied with even this little amount of tea.

6) After multiple infusions, EAT the leaves with a bit of soy sauce, "ponzu (soy sauce with citrus juice)" would be better if available. Like matcha, which you consume all the leaves, the used tea leaves of gyokuro is very edible and has a lot of nutrients. 


My Hand-Rolled Black Tea

I went to a tea event in Kyoto. Since I brought back a tiny amount of tea leaves I plucked, I tried to process my tea!

1.    Withering: Leave leaves for one day. Water content is reduced by 40 %. 
(Originally, the weight of leaves is 16.8g. After withering, it becomes about 10.2g)

2.    Rolling: Keep rolling while loosening the lump once in a while. It gets sticker and sticker. I did it about for 30 minutes.

3.    Oxidation: Lay the leaves thinly, and covered with a wet paper. Leave it for 3.5 hours in my case.

4  Drying: Dry them to stop oxidation. I use a hair dryer, ha, ha.

4.    Final drying: Leave it overnight to make them dry completely.

Looks like tea-ish!
too green-ish!?? I would say very light oxidized tea.

Very mild without any unpleasant bitterness.
Whatever it is, it's fun, and I am happy that I've made drinkable tea!


Three Different Covering Method

Tea trees themselves contain L-Theanine (a kind of amino acid) , which creates Umami savory flavor. Once they are exposed in the sun, it turns to catechin, a component of astringency. In other words, when the teas are not exposed in the sun, L-Theanine remains in the leaves instead of creating catechin.

So, some Japanese green teas like Matcha, Gyokuro and Kabuse-cha, which have more umami, are covered for a certain period of the time after new buds start to appear around April.

Then, how are the teas covered? There are 3 different ways:

1)    “Honzu” covering (traditional way)
Reed screens are spread on the shelf made with logs and bamboo. Later on, straws are spread on it. It keeps low temperature and high humid, which is a good condition for tea to grow slowly and nicely, creating high-quality tea. It requires a great deal of labor and time.

When you go inside, you feel nice and cool. 

Some straws fall from the top. It is OK.
They will turn to soil and help for tea grow well.

2)    “Kanreisha” covering
Due to lack of material and labor shortage, black synthetic cloth often known as “kanreisha” is used to cover recently instead of Honzu. The cloths have two layers to create breathability.

3)    Direct covering
This is the quickest and most economical way. It is covered, but compare to other two ways above, tea receive sunlight more directly and it is poorly ventilated and gets easily hot. So in terms of quality, the tea are not as great as Honzu or Kanreisha covering teas, but more available in terms of price.

Instead of chemical fiber, this eco-friendly paper covering is developing.
It is not used practically yet.