What Is Benifuki Tea?

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?

January 2021 Update: Coronavirus Impact on the Tea Industry

The pandemic has passed its one-year anniversary as many of us still hunker down, venturing into public places only when necessary. Unprecedented numbers of us are working from home, and in lieu of gathering round the office coffeepot, are making our own beverages. And discovering that we want the indulgence of high quality and taste. … Continue reading January 2021 Update: Coronavirus Impact on the Tea Industry

This Teapot Needs No Handle

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

New to Tea? Start Here (Part 2: White and Green Tea)

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)

May Update: Coronavirus Impact on the Tea Industry

As we navigate new social norms, hoping to prevent infection spikes, and as economies look to recover, it's time to revisit the tea industry. There's both good and bad news, although for India, there's far more bad than good news, even now. Japan In Uji, Kyoto Prefecture, although the tea festival that kicks off the … Continue reading May Update: Coronavirus Impact on the Tea Industry

Wagashi, A Beautiful Accompaniment to Tea

Wagashi are theoretically traditional Japanese confections but in practice they are as much art as food. Made for centuries, they were popularized during Japan's Edo period (1603–1868), when tea was coming into the country from China—and sugar was arriving from the Portuguese and Dutch. Because sweets pair well with bitter matcha, and the beauty of wagashi … Continue reading Wagashi, A Beautiful Accompaniment to Tea

Making Houjicha with Tea Grower and Tea Master Takatomo Katagi

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

Frozen Black Tea—A Rarity Produced from Frostbitten Tea Leaves

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

Lower Your Stress: Eat Matcha Cookies

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

Sencha with Matcha—A Sensational Match!

Sencha is currently the mainstay of Japanese tea—in 2015, 68% of the tea produced in Japan was sencha (Zavadckyte 2017:30)! Yet its popularity is measured in decades rather than centuries. Although developed back in 1738, in what is now Kyoto Prefecture, by tea maker Nagatani Soen, sencha wasn't commonly consumed until after World War II  when … Continue reading Sencha with Matcha—A Sensational Match!