Filtering by Tag: green tea

A Visit To A Tea Farm In Uji, Kyoto

Added on by the ikebana shop.

The city of Uji, Kyoto is known to be the birth place of Japanese tea.  This small clump of trees is an area called “Oh-Fuku-Dani 大福谷” where the first tea leaves were successfully planted way back in 1271.  Tea farmers have since moved tea-planting to other areas so now it has cedar trees.

This is the birth place of Nagatani So-en (1680-1778), the man who revolutionized (back in 1738!) Japanese green tea processing into how it is now. 

Tea culture runs deep here, as evidenced even by the mailbox, which is shaped like a tea urn!

The city is surrounded by lush, green hills and the Uji River runs through it, making it a perfect setting to grow tea.

This is a field for sencha, tea, grown in full daylight.

Here is how gyokuro and tencha (the leaves used to make matcha) are grown, shaded for about a month before harvest.

Most tea leaves are already machine-picked.  However, the highest grade teas are still hand-picked.  After picking, the tea leaves are rolled/kneaded, steamed and then dried. They end up in boxes like this.

Here is the lady who vacuum packs our tea for us! Thank you for your hard work! :-)

Tea-tasting and a refresher course in the proper way of preparing matcha!

I also tried a hand in making matcha!  The stone mill is cranked counter-clockwise, one revolution per 3 seconds.  Too fast and the tea is not milled properly, resulting in a bitter tea; too slow and the powder gets stuck in the grooves of the mill. It takes about 30 minutes to grind enough matcha for one bowl.  Modern farms still use the same stone mill with machines doing the turning.

The taste of freshly ground matcha is in a league of its own! 

We hope you continue to enjoy Japanese green tea!

Cold Brew Sencha Green Tea

Added on by the ikebana shop.

In the heat of the summer, sometimes we just prefer a cold cup of tea.  So we tried cold-brewing some sencha green tea.  It's really easy.  It's basically just putting the tea in cold water and letting it sit in your refrigerator overnight!

We used 3 tablespoons (that's like 6 scoops of the wooden spoon you see in the photo) of sencha green tea leaves and 2 litres of water.  We used a large teabag so that it doesn't get messy in the pitcher later. 

The teabag has a flap that you can fold over so that the contents don't spill out later.  (They're good to use for spices in your soup or stew as well!)

Then we added water into the pitcher and left it in the refrigerator overnight (about 8 hours).  Unlike when brewing green tea with hot water where steeping time is important, you don't need to worry too much about an extra hour or so!  There is no precise recipe for a cold brew. :-)

One sleep later...volia!  

Extra tip: Using a pair of chopsticks, shake the teabag up a bit to release more flavour and colour!

The flavour of cold-brewed sencha green tea is a bit subtler and smoother.   Cold-brewing also results in less caffeine in your tea.  Very refreshing for hot days!

You can use gyokuro tea leaves too!

By the way, if you are wondering where you can get those teabags... We have them right here at the shop! :-)   Or purchase online here.

We also have premium grade Japanese green tea, of course!

Matcha Affogato-Style

Added on by the ikebana shop.

Here is a simple-to-make indulgence for lovers of green tea on hot summer days!

Affogato al caffè is, of course, the Italian treat where a shot of espresso is poured over a scoop of vanilla ice cream.  The name literally means "drowned in coffee" in Italian!

Now, let's substitute the espresso with thick matcha...

Make koicha (thick matcha) by using only half the amount of water you'd normally use when preparing your matcha drink.  If you need to start somewhere, try 1 teaspoon matcha with 35 ml hot water (80℃).  This concoction is good for about 3 servings...but it depends on how "drowned" you want your ice cream to be!  :-)

Pour some of the koicha over one (or two?) scoops of vanilla ice cream.

That's it!  Enjoy!