A blank canvas transforms simply with an artist's stroke. So, too, a plucked tea leaf. With expertise and mastery, such leaves may retain their vegetal nature and striking green hue. Or, they may evolve into complex black tea, their molecular changes proven by the reds, coppers, and browns of the cup. And while Japanese teas … Continue reading What Is Benifuki Tea?
The great thing—or the downfall, depending on perspective—about being a fan of tea is that you can justify buying lots and lots of tea ware! Sure, you only need one vessel that withstands hot water and you're adequately equipped, but there's tremendous appeal in having teapots in different styles, materials, and sizes. And we human … Continue reading This Teapot Needs No Handle
Continuing my informal guide to selecting tea—having gone through the caffeine/no-caffeine decision and having looked at low- and no-caffeine options (see New to Tea? Start Here)—we're now looking at the types of tea that come from one plant, Camellia sinensis. And asking whether you want white, green oolong, black, or fermented? And do you want … Continue reading New to Tea? Start Here (Part 2: White and Green Tea)
Mr. Takatomo Katagi comes from a long line of tea growers in Japan's Asamiya region of the Shiga Prefecture. The seventh-generation head of Katagi Kokaen tea garden, Mr. Katagi is building on his family's legacy. Some forty years ago, his father converted the garden to organic production. As Mr. Katagi explains, "Unlike vegetables, tea leaves … Continue reading Making Houjicha with Tea Grower and Tea Master Takatomo Katagi
Old Tree Bancha. Does that mean bancha made of leaves from ancient tea plants (good)? Or bancha that's been sitting around awhile (bad)? Actually, neither. I had never heard of this tea until Lisa of TeaHaus told me about it after touring Japan's tea gardens in Shiga Prefecture back in 2018, having been invited by … Continue reading Old Tree Bancha Tea Contains the WHOLE Tree!
You've heard of ice wine, right? That super concentrated dessert wine made from ripe grapes that were allowed to freeze while still on the vines and then quickly handpicked during the night so that they never thawed? Because the water within each grape freezes but the sugars don't, the grape dehydrates and you end up … Continue reading Frozen Black Tea—A Rarity Produced from Frostbitten Tea Leaves
Living in a country where "matcha" too often means sweetened matcha lattes, how amazing to read about a place in Japan that offers matcha gelato—in seven levels of bitterness! If it weren't for Japan being a pricy 13+ hour journey from Michigan, I'd be sampling gelato today! Because matcha gelato is really fantastic. Actually, matcha … Continue reading Matcha, and Embracing Tea’s Bitterness
Eating matcha cookies lowers stress! This is according to bona fide scientists. Yeah yeah we all know that tea can reduce stress, but did you get the cookies part?! When I'm stressed, I eat cookies. Lots of cookies. Especially my own made-from-scratch cookies. Usually with a cup of tea. But now I have scientific proof to … Continue reading Lower Your Stress: Eat Matcha Cookies
The NRDC claims that "up to 40 percent of the food in the United States is never eaten," which is staggering, especially when you consider how many people worldwide, including in the U.S., don't have enough to eat. We ought to emulate those cultures that avoid waste as much as possible, either by necessity—such as … Continue reading What Is Japanese Kuki Hojicha?
Love Japanese green teas? Or hate them? If you're simply not a fan of the vegetal nature of steamed Japanese green teas—perhaps deeming them seaweed-y or even swampy—you really ought to at least try hojicha (or houjicha). You will find that it is quite different! From the photo here, you can already see that these are … Continue reading What Is Japanese Hojicha?