Something UJI

I went to Uji in Kyoto, one of the famous tea cities in Japan, to attend a tea workshop the other day. Before the workshop, I had lunch at a tea shop at near the Uji station.

This is herring matcha soba (buckwheat noodles) 

Herring soba is one of the Kyoto local foods. Herring cooked in a mixture of sugar and soy sauce does really go well with savory soup. Since it was really cold day, the soba was the perfect food to warm myself up. Usually, soba is just simple soba, not macha soba. Because I was in Uji, the shop made it Uji-ish. 

 "Tsukudani (small dish simmered in soy sauce and  mirin seasoning) " made from tea leaves was served with the noodles as garnishing. Please don't say that this doesn't look like appetizing. Actually, very tasty and very Uji-ish again! I’ve been to the city many times before, but whenever I visit, I always feel like something "Uji".

If you prefer something sweet, they serve matcha sweets too.including strawberry and matcha parfait.

One more thing. You'll find a huge tea jar at the station. This is not just a decoration, it's used as a postbox. When you visit Uji, why don't you post a card to your family or friends from the tea city?


Japanese Wellness Tea

The article I read says that the trend of health, well-being and wellness continues to be a major drive in the UK and US tea markets in 2019. Japan is no exception.

Recently, an Osaka-based Japanese tea shop has launched their new wellness tea brand.

There are about 60 different kinds of wellness teas. They are not infusion, which means all the teas have actual Japanese tea (Sencha, hojicha, genmaicha, wakocha, kukicha, or kukihojicha) and blend with some other herbs and botanical stuff like: 

hatomugi (Job's Tear's)
dokudami (Hourruynia cordata)...according to Wikipedia:-)
kinkan (kumquat)
kanzo (licorice)
amachazuru (five leaf ginseng)
yomogi (mugwojrt)
natsume (Jujube)
kuko (Gojiberry)
ukon (turmeric)

to name but few......

I believe some are very Japanese or Asian plants, and don't sound familiar or even appetizing either. But all of them have efficacy respectively and Japanese have been taking them for long.

You may call them as “functional teas” in English. Again, there are 60 different kinds of teas. I am sure you will find to suit you.


Goishicha - Japanese post fermented tea -

There are some dark tea (post-fermented tea) in Japan. One of them is “Goishicha” produced only in Otoyo town, Kochi prefecture.

The process of the tea requires a great deal of labor.
Pluck the tea leaves around July. Steam the leaves in a barrel for a couple of hours. Remove the twigs, cover them with straw mats and let them rest for a couple of days. Pickle them in a barrel another couple of days, which is lactic fermentation. Take the leaves out of the barrel and cut them into 3-4cm cubes. Place them on the mat for anther couple of days again to dry them under the sun…… It takes about 60 days after the leaves are plucked. Hard work, isn’t it?
Actually, this tea was about to disappear due to the decrease in consumption, and such a hard work. But thanks to local government support and the recent health-oriented trend, Goishicha has been drawing world’s attention again. And now, even the Goishicha tea bags are seen at some local super markets.

 It has a very distinctive sour flavor, so you either love it or hate it. If you are not sure about the sour taste, cold brew Goishicha is recommended.


Japanese Green Tea in 2019

What is the food trend in Japan this year?

A food expert says that “organic” and “healthy” are the key words. Especially, “Falafel” and “Japanese green tea”.

Falafel is new to many Japanese, and it will attract people who have been looking for something new.

Japanese green tea……
You may think Japanese have been drinking Japanese green tea……that’s not true.
People are talking about Starbucks tea menu items and bottled green tea stuff, but that’s it. Green tea consumption has declined.

However, there is a lay of hope. Last a couple of years, the number of specialty Japanese tea shop has been increasing, especially in Tokyo for some reasons. I believe one of the biggest reasons is thanks to the world trend. I mean the Japanese green tea is getting popular outside of Japan. We found out that people overseas drinks the tea that we didn’t usually do or think of.

The drinking style won’t be the same as before. Looking forward to seeing how the Japanese green tea will survive in line with the times.

nitro green tea

Kamairicha made by Mr Kajihara in Kumamoto

Japan usually has a lot of rain this time of year. We need it to some extent. However, the situations are getting much worse, much more ext...