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

Matcha, and Embracing Tea’s Bitterness

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

What Is Japanese Kuki Hojicha?

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?

What Is Japanese 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?

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!

Two Books to Get You Hooked on Japanese Tea

If you haven't experienced Japanese tea—the real stuff, not in a teabag—you are missing out! And don't think that all green teas are alike. If you've had a green tea from China, it won't be anything like one from Japan, and if you've had one type of Japanese tea, it will probably be very different … Continue reading Two Books to Get You Hooked on Japanese Tea

Centuries-old tea plants yield first-class tea—but only for those who live nearby

Continuing on our tour of Japan's tea gardens with Lisa of TeaHaus and Eat More Tea, we pass through beautiful mountains . . . to the Mandokoro tea garden, with tea plants that are 300—and maybe even 400—years old! This region (in Shiga Prefecture) has many small gardens that supply the garden owners and their families with … Continue reading Centuries-old tea plants yield first-class tea—but only for those who live nearby

Eh? Nani? Kore wa nan desu ka? Why does this anime have a stick floating in the tea?

Konnichiwa! This is Alissa, otaku extraodinaire, here with a guest blog! As an avid anime fan, and as tea is big in Japan and commonly appears in anime, I often see something like this: (Above picture is from the anime Natsume Yuujinchou.) So of course when this tea blog started, I asked if Lisa or Jill knew … Continue reading Eh? Nani? Kore wa nan desu ka? Why does this anime have a stick floating in the tea?

Pottery and Tea in Shigaraki, Japan

Wide-eyed animal pottery (whether cute or sorta creepy is up to you) and ancient kilns and lush tea gardens? You are now in Japan's Shigaraki region! We continue to follow along with Lisa, owner of TeaHaus and Eat More Tea, on her recent tour of Japan's tea industry. Having looked at the Tsuchiyama tea garden … Continue reading Pottery and Tea in Shigaraki, Japan

One Japanese Tea Garden, Many Teas

Matcha and Japan. Although these seem synonymous, around three-quarters of the tea produced in Japan is actually sencha. And while matcha and gyokuro are highly prized by the Japanese (see earlier post to see why these teas are so valued—and pricy!), the country's everyday tea is sencha. However, this doesn't mean that sencha is a low-end … Continue reading One Japanese Tea Garden, Many Teas