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Showing posts from April, 2014

Kyoto Tea Auction 2014

The Kyoto tea auction was held on April 26th.  It seems that the quality is really good overall thanks to a favorable weather.

An average price per kg is 14,832 yen (about 1,100 yen higher than last year). And, the highest price is hand-made tea produced in Wazuka town, and is as high as 140,041 yen per kg!!  The auction peaks around the beginning of May and will last until around July.

Matcha Ice Cream at a Banquet

When a state guest visits Japan, a banquet at the Imperial Court hosted by their Imperial Majesties is held. Usually, French cuisine is served maybe using lots of Japanese ingredients. And for dessert, “Mt.Fuji-shaped ice cream” seems to be the regular menu, which I didn’t know that. Vanilla ice cream is used around the top of the mountain and Matcha ice cream is done around the bottom of it. 
I would….maybe, I should say I “will” never ever be invited to the banquet at the Imperial Court and I will not have a chance to taste it, but it has to be good. Because U.S. President Barack Obama, who recently visited Japan as a state guest , was quoted as saying that he really enjoyed Matcha ice cream. 

Tea Nouveau!!

If you like Japanese tea, you may have tried “Sencha”, which is the most popular Japanese green tea. Have you tried “Shincha” too?  They sound confusing, don't they?
Actually, they are the same kind tea.Shinchais the "springSencha” made from first flush.
"Sen" for Senchameans ‘to extract essence’,  while “Shin” forShinchameans ‘new’ or ‘fresh’. 
Sushi is mainly made of fresh fish. The traditional dishes place an importance on season. Even wine, many Japanese are so excited with Beaujolais nouveau, which is fresh. Yes, Japanese love something  fresh and seasonal. 
Made from fresh and young buds,Shinchahas more fresh and greenish aroma. Now, the long-awaited “tea nouveau” season has just begun!

Hoga Sengen in 2014 –Tea is budding-

In my area, sakura season is about to over now. And now,  it is time for TEA!! 
On April 7th, the Kyoto tea authority announced “hoga sengen (budding announcement)”. The announcement is annually issued when about 70% of new buds of “Yabukita” variety (the most common variety 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. 
For sure, tea front line is now moving north throughout Japan. And this is just FYR......, the announcement of this year was issued two days later than usual. Please wait a little bit longer :-) 


Bancha is often translated into “coarse tea”,  but “local tea” sits right with me. Bancha refers to the one which is drunk at the local area. So, the tea called bancha differs from region to region. 
The other day, I had batabata-cha, a local tea of Toyama prefecture, for the first time. Some call the tea as “a Japanese Pu-erh” due to its process. Unlike Sencha or other Japanese green tea, batabata-cha is a fermented dark tea.

We can make the tea with a teapot like we do for black or green teas, but most of the time, it is prepared in different way, which is to whip it with a tea whisk. In Japanese, we say “batabata” when we are “in a bustle” and “hurry-scurry”. Since the action of whipping the tea with a whisk is like “hurry-scurry”, the tea is called batabata-cha
It has very very distinctive flavor like traditional Chinese medicine. It is unusual, but I enjoyed it. There are still so many Japanese teas that I haven’t tried yet.