2020/04/28

Wakocha Pioneer -- Mr Muramatsu --

The history of Japanese black tea dates back to 1870’s. The tea was one of the most important export items during Meiji period (1868-1912). Although Japan exported large quantities of the tea overseas, it gradually lost its competitiveness in terms of price and quality. The production sharply dropped, especially after the import restrictions were lifted in 1971. In the end, the industry was virtually destroyed in 1970’s.
 
By around 2000, Japanese black tea came to be found here and there again, and is now becoming more popular as “wakocha” and “jikocha”
 
Mr. Niroku Muramatsu, who just turned to 80 years old, is a pioneer who has revitalized the current black tea industry in Japan. Unfortunately, some of his tea factory and his house were burnt down a couple of months ago. But he’s pledged to rebuild his factory and continue to produce tea. His passion and love to tea will never fade.

Benifuki is one of the most popular cultivars for Japanese black. His tea has a beautiful copper color with an apply note and a pleasant astringency. Good with milk too.

Mr Muramatsu's Benifuki Black 2019

Tea together with “2 and 6” biscuits, which is named after his first name, Niroku (ni=2, roku=6 in Japanese).





He is also a pioneer of japanese Oolong Tea.

2020/04/25

Sakura Fragrance -Shizu7132 cultivar -

Although the cultivar, Shizu 7132, is not officially registered, it's well known among tea geeks for its unique aroma. 






The natural aroma  reminds us of Sakura leaf, attracting people. 



Unfortunately, I don't have it today, but it's perfect with Sakuramochi, Japanese rice cake sweets wrapped in a pickled sakura leaf.


2020/04/19

More Tea at Home - Kashiwa mochi -

A bowl of matcha and a seasonal sweets called "kashiwa mochi", which is the rice cake wrapped in oak leaves and filled with sweet bean paste. 



Traditionally, this sweets is eaten on May 5, the children's day in the hope of their happiness, health and family’s prosperity. But.....I couldn't wait till then:-)

2020/04/16

Wakocha from a small island TSUSHIMA

Wakocha (Japanese black tea) from a beautiful island, Tsushima in Nagasaki. 


Mr Oishi started tea production to create a new industry at the small island. Due to his dedication, the tea with an apply note and a pleasant bitterness has been attracting many tea lovers. 



infused tea leaves go back to its original shape

Now, his son, who shares the same spirit and passion to his home and tea with his father, works together for the community.

2020/04/11

Kogane midori cultivar Sencha

Believe it or not, this is sencha, steamed green tea, made from a special, mysterious and umami-rich cultivar known as Kogane Midori (lit: Golden Green). 


It's unique to Sato family, and can not grow anywhere else. Interestingly, the color of the new buds turn into gold by mutation when the buds are exposed to sunlight in spring. 

his tea field
Unfortunately, I have never been there. This is photo of the tea package 

As recommended, the first cup is brewed by water. 


Punchy and mind-blowing umami is condensed in such a tiny amount of tea. Fascinating! 

2020/04/10

Speak to myself.....

I saw the cloud, remembering the expression; Every cloud has a silver lining.

Unfortunately, what I see now is the sign of getting worse instead of a silver lining. To begin with, is there any silver lining to it ?? I don't know....

tea plucking 2019 spring

Anyway, tea season is almost there.... "Shincha (lit: new tea)" will be ready soon! Very looking forward to it while looking for a silver lining.




2020/04/03

Single Estate and Single Cultivar

The governor in my area requests us to stay at home unless it's essential including work , shopping for food and daily necessities. So I spend more time at home and drink more tea at home....with more sweets.

This is wakocha (Japanese black) made by Mr Kimura, Sashima, Ibaragi prefecture. His black tea is made from Chin-Shin oolong cultivar, which is very popular in Taiwan, but very rare in Japan. 






Like this, many wakocha are produced at single estate and from single cultivar. As of 2019, there are about 120 kinds of registered cultivar in Japan. Even the same cultivar, the taste are different from region to region, from tea maker to tea maker, and even from year to year like wine, which I think it's fun.


The reddish orange cup is refreshing with a flowery aroma and a bit of spiciness. Together with Swiss roll. 

2020/04/01

Sencha at Home

Sencha from Kurihara Tea Farm in Yame city, Fukuoka prefecture. It's well-known as one of the great tea-producing areas due to its soil, misty climate and a large temperature difference between day and night, and its misty climate. 


The green leaf with beautiful sheen.

I brewed it, I think, with a little lower than 70 degrees Celsius for a minute or so. 






 It has a perfect balance of umami and a pleasant astringency.





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...