Staying at Home, Whipping Up Matcha

Being totally averse to grocery store runs in general, I've found that this continuing stay-at-home order has given me an ironclad excuse to not do any grocery shopping. Literally, at all. Okay, well, there was the time that my daughter stood in line for 2+ hours (!!) to get into the store so I did … Continue reading Staying at Home, Whipping Up Matcha

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

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

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!

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

Why Are Matcha and Gyokuro So Expensive?

Although "matcha" is appearing on grocery shelves everywhere, why is the real thing so extremely expensive? Because most of what you see isn't actually matcha, and no, those cookies weren't made with matcha! Let's see why, as we continue our virtual tour of Japan's tea industry in Shiga Prefecture, along with Lisa, owner of TeaHaus … Continue reading Why Are Matcha and Gyokuro So Expensive?

Tea in Early Japan: A Poetic Beginning

I need only write the word and you will picture entire countries and cultures. Consider samovar or Earl Grey. Or matcha. Although it's not clear exactly when the first tea gardens were established in Japan, by the early 800s Japanese poets were extolling the merits of tea. This "Song of Tea for the Governor of Izumo" by … Continue reading Tea in Early Japan: A Poetic Beginning

Matcha and Its Charms

A young adult friend of mine was recently bemoaning the current generation of hipsters that is commandeering and mainstreaming so many things—those previously non-mainstream items or lifestyle choices that she and her friends have valued for a long time. She feels a bit put-out when the hipsters take credit for "discovering" something that she has known about "forever." … Continue reading Matcha and Its Charms