Thursday, November 27, 2014

To Advance Your Tea Ceremony

Next phase

The three important elements for tea ceremony are space, utensils and manners. I have introduced them before ( I would like to introduce one more thing to add in the utensils and the manners. It is going to enrich and advance your tea ceremony and take your tea ceremony to the next phase.

What is special about a tea ceremony?

What is the difference between just making tea and serving tea in a ceremony? You might have noticed it when you watch my previous videos. The five things that the host does during the ceremony are; 1. Bring the implements into the room, 2. Purify the implements, 3. Make the tea, 4. Clean and put the utensils together, 5. Leave the room with implements. Probably, you have no trouble bringing the implements into the room or making tea, but it might be difficult for you to imagine how and why you purify the implements. I think that it is one of the special things about tea ceremony and it makes a difference from just making tea.

Purifying implements

Before the ceremony begins, the implements are all cleaned. However, we dare clean them in front of the guests during the ceremony. We wipe the tea container and tea scoop with a piece of cloth. It is a 27cm (11in) silk, called fukusa. We rinse the tea whisk with hot water in the tea bowl. These steps make the tea which is going to be served special. Some people say that the host even purify his mind as well as he does it.

Just try it

If you want to serve tea with utmost hospitality for your guests, try to purify the utensils before making tea. If you don’t have fukusa, it’ll be okay to use any kind of cloth as far as it’s clean. As I mentioned before, you don’t have to worry about the detailed gestures. Just imitate how others do. What counts is your hospitality. Fold fukusa nicely and gently wipe the items. You guests will definitely notice and appreciate your solicitous consideration in preparing tea. It makes your tea so special and blessed. Purifying items will advance your tea ceremony. 

Fukusa is available on our shop >>>

This is the video I’ve mentioned. You can see purifying the tea container and scoop at 0:57.

If you want to do it properly, refer the following videos.
- Procedure of Tea Ceremony
- How to fold FUKUSA silk cloth
- How to purify NATSUME tea caddy
- How to purify CHASHAKU tea scoop

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Every Day Matcha made easy! (video)

Matcha is too much of a bother!?

Lately, I hear many questions and opinions about preparing matcha casually. “Is there any way to prepare matcha easily?” “A hand-held electric frother might help.” “Making paste with a little bit of water can prevent getting lumps?” It seems people are looking for an easy way. Some people might also think the traditional matcha making has a lot of manners so it’s too much of a bother. In fact, I used to prepare matcha rarely because I find it kind of troublesome. However, now I have matcha almost every day without feeling troubled. I think it is easy as making instant coffee.

Don’t store in freezer nor sift it

The traditional way is easy enough. You won’t need to look for any alternative way such as using the electric mixer or the two-step method. Think about it. It’s basically just mixing matcha powder and hot water. How simple is that? The bother that I can think of are something like storing it in the freezer or sifting before brewing. Then, I would say “Don’t store it in the freezer nor sift it”. I don’t actually do them each time when I prepare.

My way of daily matcha

Today, I’m going to introduce how I prepare matcha at home. I’ll be glad if it could become some kind of hint for somebody by sharing it here. Of course, I’m not doing everything properly. What we need to do is just mix matcha, and other than that we would like to make it as simple as possible.  There are three points.
1. Not sifting matcha every time
It is the best to sift matcha just before you brew. When I serve it for guests, I’ll sift brand new tea, but for daily tea I believe that being simple is more appealing. I sift matcha once before putting it in the container. I use the same tea without sifting later on, instead I handle the container gently. No shaking nor placing it on the table with impact.
2. Not storing matcha in the fridge
I keep matcha on the shelf with the utensils. I usually consume one package (20g) in about two weeks. If you don’t consume that much in two weeks, keep the amount for two weeks in the container, and store the rest in the freezer. You only do storing and sifting once in two weeks.
3. Store minimal utensils at an accessible place
What you need is a tea bowl, bamboo whisk, tea scoop and matcha. Secure an accessible space in the kitchen for them. You don’t have to store matcha in the refrigerator or freezer.

Making matcha can become very easy if minimal utensils and the tea are available. My method is not the absolute answer, you can try anything to simplify your preparation.

Please check the video for details. 
If you don’t see English subtitle, please check the setting on your YouTube.


New package!

We made some changes on the package of matcha, Shosen. The tea is the same but different packaging. We wanted to put more air (nitrogen) in the pouch for less risk of lumping. It requires a larger box. That is why we made the change.

It is available on our shop >>>