To enjoy matcha the way Sen no Rikyu made it almost 500 years ago, you would need to whisk it with a bamboo chasen (whisk), intricately carved by hand from one piece of aged bamboo.
When I was young and living in Nagoya, drinking literally gallons of Japanese green tea, I didn’t know there was a difference in green teas and the word cultivar certainly wasn’t in my vocabulary. It wasn’t until later in my tea-drinking life that this topic became almost an obsession.
OMG! Green tea has way too much caffeine in it! I’m not drinking that.
As the escalating temperatures remind us that summer is around the corner, I’m beginning to prep my house for the dreaded humid season in Japan. And what better way to guard against stink and mildew than tea leaves!
When you scan the grocery tea isles in the West, one thing that stands out is the growing trend in flavored green teas.
I’m sure you would agree that a drink tastes better when it’s served in an appropriate cup or glass. Would you even think of drinking Dom Perignon from a plastic cup?!
As the season changes here in Japan, you never quite know whether to bring an umbrella or pull out the sunscreen. But one thing is for sure... it’s time to prepare the tea plants for the winter. That means giving them the last cut of the season, trimming them back so the new leaves in spring will yield nicely.
I’m a Tea Hunter living in Kyushu.
Holly introduced me to Japanese green tea ten years ago, almost to this day. It was a sencha, and such was the uniqueness of the mouthfeel and sequence of flavours that I have been intrigued by it ever since...
It’s typhoon time in Japan, which I actually don’t mind, because it gives us some relief from the suffocating heat! So for the next several weeks, green tea addicts over here will be toggling between putting on the kettle and getting their cold brew on.
Everyone loves an acronym, so at Chiki Tea, we decided to get in on the game too: WATT. It’s a helpful way for beginners to remember the vital points of making potentially fussy Japanese green tea.
Cold brew tea is as common to the Japanese as Pimms is to the English and Lemonade is to us Yanks. Everyone here has green tea cold brew in the fridge. It provides a never-ending constant stream of refreshment during the most challenging season weather-wise.
I was going to write a bit more about Shincha, literally “new tea”, but the weather has been very unusual this year, making harvesting times quite unpredictable, especially in Kyushu.
If you are concerned about the freshness of your Matcha, transfer it to an über airtight container, used only for Matcha.
I have bashed the tea bag for years. “Let your leaves dance,” I say…but I may have just met my match.
Houjicha (also spelled hojicha – but when you say it, stretch the oooo!) is roasted green tea. It needs hot water to help the leaves release the flavors, similar to Chinese oolongs which have been pan fired as part of the processing.
You are probably well aware that gyokuro sits atop the Japanese green tea hierarchical tree, right there next to matcha. Certainly the shading time, pre-harvest, is more or less the same (about four weeks), which means this is another tea packed with nutrients, antioxidants, and super powers typically associated with high-quality green tea.
News from the frontline! Innovating with Sencha...
One of the many rewards of running a foreign tea shop out here, deep in the Kyushu countryside, is that farmers get wind , and bring us their tea to try.
WILD GEESE in your green tea? Alex walks you through the lowdown on whether you should be calling it Shiraore or Karigane...
Holly takes an exclusive tour around a tea auction in Oita and uncovers a couple of Japanese green tea GEMS!
Master Kitagawa showed us how to boost the Matcha flavour in your ICE CREAM!
We're off to Kitakyushu! Thank you Nakatsu, it's been a blast, and we hope to see you all in Kitakyushu when the new store opens!
Just recently, Holly visited the tea auction in Oita city and found the Shiraore she's been on a long search for!
If your leaves have been sitting around for a while, why not give them a boost with some carefully selected fresh tea...
Check out our five minute featurette courtesy of Fukuoka TV (RKB)!
How to survive the hottest summer with iced Matcha drinks
All about Shincha, and earthquakes!
The importance of purified water in making green tea.
Key pointers for getting that perfect matcha froth.
Sharing with you the reason I founded Chiki Tea.
The story of how we began our cafe business.
A quick guide to the confusing world of Matcha grades.
How the rapidly growing market for convenient ready-to-drink green tea is leading loose-leaf tea consumption into decline.