Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Tokoname-ware Festival

Where do you think it is?

It is a motorboat race track!

This is just an aside.  The races of the four; motorboat, hose, bicycle and motorcycle are only the races that you can legally gamble in Japan.

Konnichiwa, it’s Kohei who would have a bad luck on boat-race gamble and even he has never tried it (^^;; Chikin!  Well, there was a Tokoname-ware Festival held at Tokoname boat race track on Aug 20 &21.  I visited there to see a teapot artist who I’m asking to make original teapots for our shop.  I had a meeting with him and talked about the design for our teapots.  After the meeting I enjoyed the festival.  There were many craftsmen gathered with their works, and I could see a lot of unique teapots and could actually talk to the artists.  Each artist has their own thought on tea brewing and their teapots.  I was so excited about it.  I also enjoyed festival food and fireworks.  My favorite is chocolate coated banana on stick.

I’d like to come back next year again, or maybe to get-rich-quick^^  Jah!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Namacha Sparkling

Bottled tea manufacturers try to release new products on each season.   There is one product that has caught my eyes this summer.


Konnnichiwa, it’s Kohei, who is looking forward to optical fiber networks for his home(^^)  Namacha is a popular bottled green tea produced by Kirin.  This summer I found Namacha The Sparkling!  Tea and sparkling??  I thought it was very weird combination.  It says it has a yuzu (Japanese lemon) aroma.  Alright, I’ll see.  I opened the bottle.  I smelled it.  I didn’t find green tea aroma there but the citrus.  I took a sip of it.  It was very refreshing.  You will find modest sweetness and citrus flavor.  It gives a mild flavor.  It is more like a plane soda so you can drink a lot of it like water.  It’s going to be great for a hot summer day. 

But well, where is green tea?  I didn’t realize the flavor of green tea.  So, I took some more sips and carefully tasted it.  Hum…, you could notice the flavor of bubs and fresh leaves of green tea.  But, it is slightly different from the common flavor of green tea.     It is very modest so I would not have noticed it if I was not told it is a green tea sparkling.


I think it is very interesting drink but it would not be my favorite drink.  I appreciate and enjoy that tea manufacturers try to produce new products!  As I’m watching the photo, I think I need to get my hair cut (^^;;  Jah!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Looking at the hue and shape to tell good leaves

Can you tell good tea and bad tea just by their appearance?  The other day, I attended another tea workshop and practiced three different tea tastings for sencha.  


Konnichiwa, it’s me(^^)     Today, I will introduce one of them.  It is telling the quality by their appearance.  The five different dry-leaf samples are placed on black square trays.  You can have a look at them, grab for the weight, feel its texture and smell them.  So you use all senses except the taste and tell rate their quality.

Do you know any index to tell good leaves?  Which do you think is better, heavy or light?  How about the shape?  Do you have any idea if thin or thick leaves are good?  Please look at the photo below.  They are placed in order from 1 to 5, 1 is good and 5 is bad.

Probably, the photo may not be so clear, but now, can you tell some differences?   I’ll give you the answer and these answers are as follows:

Profound brilliant green
Reddish, blackish or whitish green
Less broken pieces and twigs
Coarse and uneven
Many broken pieces and twigs
shiny and Smooth
rough and chalky surface
Green and sweet aroma

Why are thin leaves good?  Young and soft leaves are better for Japanese tea.  They are easily and tightly curled than old stiff leaves.  So, good leaves are usually thinner.

I think the easiest indexes for you will be the “hue” and “shape”.  Bad leaves are reddish or blackish.  They are coarse and thick and include many broken pieces and twigs.  On the other hand, good leaves have profound color.  The pieces are thin and even.  Now look at the photo again.  Can you tell the differences?

When you have a chance to compare dry leaves, please look at their “hue” and “shape”.  They will be a guide to tell its quality.  Jah!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Color of Cups

Which tea you think looking delicious?


Konnichiwa, it’s me(^^)ノ  As you look at the picture above, they are all of the same tea but placed in different cups.   So, they all have the same taste.  But you might get a different impression by seeing them in different cups.  I think the color of the cups affects your total impression of the tea.

It is said that red stimulates your appetite, or warm color makes food look delicious.  It is also said that opposite colors accentuates the others.  However, the reason why a bunch of spinach is tied with a blue tape is to make the green color of spinach to be a lot more attractive.  So the idea seems not to be that consistent.  I have heard about many theories about color.  Now I wonder its effect to green tea.  So, I prepared green tea in different cups and took a picture.

I personally find the white cup "E" looking best.  White cups help show the natural color and adds to the impression that it looks delicious.  I wanted to find which is better for green tea, warm or cold colored cup.  Since the cups are in different shapes, I cannot fully determine how it truly affects them.  What I can only say is that I prefer a brighter colored cup.  Which one looks delicious to you?

The color of the cup is very important but don’t be so particular of the color too much.  It is just one of many elements for a good cup.  Design, shape, weight, texture, heat transfer, durableness, and usability are also important.  Jah!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Switching Tea School

Our tea master is an elderly lady and she is going to retire from teaching The Way of Tea.   I’m sad to leave her but I guess that’s the way it is.   We looked for a new school and now we are learning The Way of Tea from a new master. 

Konnichiwa, it’s me(^^)  We invited the previous master home for lunch.  We made pizza for her.  We had a good chat and great time.  I asked her if I can take a picture for my blog.  She said “okay then” and took a piece of pizza and had a bite of it.  I shoot the moment.  She is very endearing.  We are going to miss her.  Jah!

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Kano_shojuan café

Do you have any nice café for Japanese tea in your city?   We do not have many around my neighborhood, but the other day I found one in Matsuzakaya department store in Nagoya.  The café is called kano-shojuan.  They are actually a confectionary chain shops.  This is one of their cafés. 

Konnichiwa, it’s me(^^)ノ I ordered an iced sencha tea set.  The set came on a tray and you brew the tea yourself.  The waitress gave me a quick instruction on how to prepare it.

First, pour the cold water into the cup to measure the right amount.

Pour it into the teapot.  The sencha leaves has already been in the pot.

Add one cube of ice, and wait for seven minutes.  When I heard the instruction, I thought seven minutes was pretty long, but actually it was not.  Seven minutes has passed in a fraction of a second over chatting at a nice café.

The tea was so smooth.  I think this type of slow brewing tea is the best for your quality time with your significant others.  Why don’t you give iced sencha brewing a try?  Jah!

Kano_shojuan webpage (Japanese) >>>