Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Experiments don’t go well sometimes

I started to think that my cold sencha recipe is not very practical as I prepare the tea. It takes time and consume a lot of tea leaf, and I wanted improve them. So, every time when I prepare the tea at home or lately, in the office, I tried different mixtures.

This is the original recipe that I’m talking about.
  Tea leaves: 12g
  Lukewarm water: 50C/122F, 50ml/1.8oz
  Cold water: 200ml/7oz
  Ice cube: adequate dose

  Brew it with lukewarm water for 10sec to unfold the leaves and to help faster infusing. Then add cold water with ice and brew it for 10 minutes.

Sometimes, I casually do experiments whenever I’m curious about tea. But, I notice that the conditions are not totally consistent through my tests or I get different results from what I expected. Then I realize how stupid I am, hahaha. This is the fourth revision of this article. This time again, even after doing many tests, I could not get satisfying results or reach an organized idea. Today, I just write about the two points that I learned from the series of tests I did.

First point is that you can shorten the brewing time to 5 minutes and cut down the leaf to 9 grams. Of course, the tea lose the richness that original recipe can offer but this mixture can still bring the full-sweetness that you can’t get with ordinary preparation. The tea is extremely mellow.





Tea leaves




Brew it 10sec with 50ml of lukewarm water (50C)


200ml of Iced water

10 min

5 min




The second point is that my cold sencha recipe is not always beneficial. When I tried my recipe with kabusecha, I found a significant difference from ordinary preparation. It is definitely worth to try. But, when I tried it with deep-steamed sencha, I didn’t find obvious advantage using my recipe. The tastes are different but the tea brewed in ordinary way is also excellent, which is bitter and refreshing. There might not be big advantage using the recipe that need a lot of time and leaves. My recipe is a method to bring out abundant umami, so it works better with tea that has a lot of umami, such as kabusecha and fine sencha.

If you are suffering from hot summer, try cold sencha!

My original recipe that I’m referring in this post:

Common way of preparing iced sencha is something like this:

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Ocobo, a café at Kakuozan

There is a café called Ocobo at Kakuozan, Nagoya, which I’ve always wanted to visit. The other day, I finally had the chance. When I got there a few customers are calmly enjoying their tea. The cafe only has 10 seats at the bar. A man was preparing tea and he seemed to be the only person working there at that time. He is probably the master of the café. He told me to wait a little, while I was watching the confectioneries in the showcase for to-go. The master has been trained at a confectionery shop in Kyoto, so I wanted to try their sweets. While waiting, I looked around. On the shelves, there are cute cups and small teapots are displayed. I heard nice sound of the master whisking matcha. On the wall, there are some magazines and books with picture of a temple in Kyoto. I noticed that one of the customer was reading the magazine from the wall. The café was filled with a tranquility. 

In the meantime, the master finished serving the tea and came to me. I was about buying some sweets to take them home, but at the last moment, I changed my mind and decided to have tea and the sweets there. I seated at the bar and had a sencha tea set. 

The sencha was very clear and refreshing. It didn’t have much bitterness and any unpleasant flavor. The aroma like roasted chestnuts filled in my mouth. It was quite nice. The sweets that I tried was a little different from what I’ve expected. But, good ingredients seemed to be used.   

I definitely want to come back when I will be around Kakuozan. I want to try some other of their tea and sweets. Their matcha sorbet sounds good.

Ocobo (Japanese) >>>

Thursday, August 8, 2013

How to wipe the tea bowl (video)

You rinse the tea bowl before and after making matcha in a tea ceremony. There is a certain way of wiping the wet tea bowl using a special linen cloth called chakin.  The manner varies depending on school traditions. For instance, I have taught that you wipe the bowl with three and half strokes, but some books say three strokes.

Wiping the bowl is a little complicated. You don’t have to be perfect if it is difficult for you. The idea that we clean the bowl before making tea is one of the gestures to show your respect to the guests. The tea bowl is already cleaned in the preparation room before the ceremony begins. However, you dare to clean it in front of the guests once again. I think that it represents the whole concept of the tea that you’re serving. It is something special and purified with your hospitality. As far as, you politely clean the bowl from the heart, it will be fine. Don’t worry the details too much. Good luck with your tea gathering and enjoy!!

I’m sorry if you have difficulty checking the details on this video because of the bad camera angle. My arm seems to gets in the way of my demonstration.

Please refer the previous post for the proper way of folding chakin.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

How to fold chakin (video)

A special linen cloth is used to wipe the tea bowl in a tea ceremony. It is called chakin which is about 30*15cm (12*6in) large. Before the ceremony begins in the preparation room, you nicely fold a damped chakin. Then it is ready to be taken into the tea room with other utensils.

I have introduced how to prepare matcha in the past entry. One of the readers told me that he wants to know how to wipe the tea bowl properly. The manner depends on school traditions. On this video, I’ll introduce the way that I learned at my tea school. I’ll show you how to fold chakin today, and how to wipe the bowl in the next entry.

Chakin linen cloth is available on our shop. Click this picture to jump to the shop.