Minazuki - Japanese seasonal sweets -

Shincha of kabusecha with a seasonal Japanese sweets "minazuki”, which is named after an old Japanese name of June. The shape represents ice cube, and red beans on the top means "to drive away evil spirits". People (especially Kyoto and its neighborhood) eat minazuki on the last day of the mid-year, which is June 30, in hope that they will live healthy and happily for the rest of the year after throwing away bad luck of the first half of the year. Must-eat, especially this year!


Tea is Jumping!??

Japanese black infused from glossy and big leaves has a beautiful ruby color with round and savory note. Made by Mr Kajihara in Ashikita, Kumamoto prefecture. Benifuki cultivar's tea can be bitter and even harsh, but his tea doesn't go bitter at all even if I keep the leaves in a glass. Rather, more complexity comes out as the tea brews. 

I always enjoy seeing leaves circulating in a pot / glass when brewing, which, what many Japanese black tea people call, “jumping”. 

When tea finishes "jumping", it’s ready!  Together with steamed sweet potato. 


Stem Tea -By product -

“Kukicha”, or steam tea, is also known as “Bocha”, which is by-product of Japanese green tea. Among those, kukicha of gyokuro or high-quality sencha is often called “Karigane” too, especially Kyoto area, and “Shiraore” in other areas. Complicating, isn’t it?

This is “karigane” made of gyokuro stem, so it has a lot of umami, but much reasonable compare to gyokuro tea itself, which is good. Together with “amanatto”, or bean sweets.


Koyurugi Japanese Black 2020 First Flush -Flower Moon-

This organic tea, picked and processed a day after a full moon this spring, is made by a tour guide-turned-tea grower in Kanagawa. He used to organize tour to India and Sri Lanka for tea people including tea shop owners. Now, he grows green and black by himself using tons of knowledge and experiments through his previous job. 

Like the Darjeeling production, this is made by hard wither and light oxidation, which brings out very flowery and green note. A frog on the package shows that this farm is sustainable enough even for frogs to enjoy living there. Happy tea for us and nature.



Green or Yellow?

Tea leaves grown in flat area are a bit livelier and thicker than those in mountain area, and good for Fukamushi-sencha (deep steamed green tea). The longer leaves are steamed, the finer tea become, which give deeper green color and richer taste. If you ask "What color is sencha?", some would says "yellow", the other would do "green" depending on what sencha they have been drinking.

Now , it's rainy season and getting muggy. I brew fukamushi-sencha with hot water to get refresh me, and this refreshing taste  goes with sweet dumpling wrapped with bamboo leaf.


Shincha of Kabusecha in Kumamoto

2020 Shincha of Kabusecha (New covered tea) by Mr Sakaguchi in Kumamoto

His glossy dark green shincha has a round and gentle umami together with freshness. The second infusion is richer and has more savory taste and satisfying aftertaste.

Kabusecha is sometimes called kabuse or nettogyokuro (lit; hot water gyokuro) too. It’s a kind of sencha with covered for shorter period than gyokuro, and often described as “tea between gyokuro and sencha”. That means it has both umami of gyokuro and freshness of sencha. When you brew it with lower temperature water, you will get more umami to help you relax. When you want to feel more refreshing, brew it with hotter water (around 80 ) for a shorter time to bring out more astringency. Kabuse is versatile :).

I brewed it to get some umami this time. I also found some downy hair floating on the tea . 

This is not dust, but it’s called “moji”, which is the sign of high quality tea made from the youngest and the best sprouts . Moji tells it's a good one. Together with edamame J

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...