Thank you for your continued support! We're extremely grateful to have you as part of our tea-loving family. Here are some of the updates from Wazuka as told by the team. We hope that you and your loved ones are safe together, wherever you may be.
An update from d:matcha's tea fields（by Aka)
This month I would like to share with you more on the second harvest of the year, which usually takes place in summer. Usually if you search “bancha” on Google, most of the results will show either the first harvest of the year or the harvest that takes place from April till May. The summer harvest however, is different.
Personally, I define the first harvest of the year by the portions of the leaf that are harvested. In other words, the apical and axillary buds that mature that spring after the tea trees come out of their winter dormancy. These leaves also sprout from last year’s branches.
On the other hand, the second harvest revolves around apical and axillary buds that sprout from this year’s branches. These buds tend to appear after the first tea has been harvested, thus the leaves grow from the base of the new branches.The depth of the cut of the first harvest also determines the yield and quality of the second harvest.
The order of growth of various buds is different, and the buds of the first tea> the adventitious buds of the base of the first tea> the adventitious buds of the previous year, and the lower buds do not move when the upper ones are growing. Therefore, the depth of the bancha determines the aspect of the type of bud of the second bancha. If the height of the bancha after the first tea is halfway or uneven, various buds will grow sparsely, which may reduce the yield and quality.
Season Sweets（by Natsuki)
"I would like to produce a matcha ice cream for matcha lovers!” And thus this summer, d:matcha’s matcha ice cream cake was born.
Prior to the completion of the cake, there were so many different prototypes produced and all of us had a hard time deciding on which variation was the best. Initially using matcha alone made the taste too monotonous, so we decided to try adding a layer of berry sauce in the centre. We were worried however that the taste would differ too much from our original goal, which was to make a matcha ice cream cake by tea farmers. We then decided to focus on matcha alone, and to showcase the versatility of matcha in different forms.
Our end product is: matcha cream, matcha chocolate, matcha condensed milk, and matcha ice cream. The composition was carefully tailored so that one could enjoy the full matcha experience from start to finish. We also hope that we conveyed the authentic taste of matcha produced in Wazuka Town.
As each cake is handmade, it took us a lot of time and effort but even so we have completed it with all our hearts to please everyone who loves matcha. Please fall in love with the new matcha sweets presented by the tea farmers this summer ♪
The charm of mizudashi sencha（by Chisei.T)
Did you know that the taste of tea leaves differs greatly depending on the temperature of the water they are brewed with? Tea that is brewed at a lower temperature is significantly less bitter and a more full bodied taste.
In the figure on the right: the horizontal axis represents the temperature of the water, while the vertical axis represents the extraction rate of the tea’s chemical components. The blue line represents amino acids (theanine/umami), the red line represents caffeine (bitterness), and lastly the green linen represents catechins (astringency).
As you can see, when brewed with water of a lower temperature the umami taste is significantly higher. Whereas when brewed with water of higher temperature, all three different components of the tea are extracted at the same time.
At d:matcha we blended different types of tea so that one can enjoy the depth and aroma of the tea leaves. Let’s quench our thirst with mizudashi sencha this summer!
Enjoying tea in the summer（by Ryhan)
While summer in Japan is famous for its festivals and fireworks, this time I would like to share with you an interesting piece of haiku (regarding the season) that I found. Written by late Keiro Ishikawa sensei, the piece goes as such: 土用太郎一日熱きちゃでとほす. When translated it means “Drying off with hot tea all day long on doyotaro”.
In the Japanese old calendar, doyo was the term used to mark the 18 days that followed the first day of each season. For summer especially, these days were the hottest time of the year. Subsequently the term for the start of midsummer was referred to as doyotaro.
Growing up in Southeast Asia, a warm cup of black tea was something I always craved at the end of a long day. Even if the weather had been scorching hot or if I had spent most of daylight on my feet. When I chanced upon this piece of poetry, needless to say, it deeply resonated with me. I found it comforting that despite the geographically differences, there are still some habits or quirks if you’d like, that can be found anywhere. Some may have interpreted this practice as a way of preparing oneself for even more stifling summer days ahead.
Drinking tea with a kyusu or from a PET bottle（by Azusa.U)
Last month, the mayor of Wazuka Town visited our store and he shared something very interesting with us! Let me tell you what it is.
While Wazuka Town may be the main production area for Uji Tea, there are significant differences between drinking green tea from a PET bottle and from a kyusu.
First of all, the nutritional components of both variations are extremely different. Tea brewed in kyusu has approximately 1.4 times more polyphenols and 2.5 times more catechins.
Secondly, tea brewed in a kyusu are usually tea leaves that were harvested only in spring. The tea sold in PET bottles however, may sometimes be derived from tea that was harvested in autumn. Drinking tea with a kyusu thus allows you to enjoy tea more intimately. Whichever way you choose to enjoy your tea, I hope it relaxes and warms your heart.
The noodles threads that bind（by Seiya.H)
We have started producing our own handmade noodles with tea and I have been chosen to head the manufacturing process! By coincidence, my father also enjoys making noodles back in my hometown in Boston, America.
He first started making his own noodles seven years ago. The goal then was to make delicious ramen noodles without the use of egg so that even those with allergies could enjoy this treasured dish. Even till today, he is challenging himself and trying to produce new types of noodles. I still remember helping him from time to time, and now I have the opportunity to make my own noodles for d:matcha.
The noodles we are producing at d:matcha are made primarily from brown rice flour and tea. Variations include tantan noodles, matcha soba, and even pasta. With each bite the scent of tea envelopes your mouth, making it a truly unique experience.
Despite being physically separated from my family, I feel like we are still tied together with an invisible thread (noodles in my case). My dream is to continue improving the quality of the noodles and expanding the range of tea noodles unique to d:matcha!
Farming by the seasons - part two（by Misato.T)
In this part I will be writing briefly about the difficulties farmers face depending on the season. Although tea can be harvested three times a year, the busiest season for tea farmers in Wazuka Town is spring.
During this season, tea farmers process tea leaves harvested at the same time. By the time this is completed, the sun would have set or it may even be past midnight as farmers would have to clean their factories.
Furthermore, as tea farmers are constantly on the lookout for the best time to harvest, they tend to work every day without a break. Labour shortages also mean seasonal workers are occasionally invited to stay in Wazuka Town to provide assistance.
After the spring harvest, the next two harvests are the summer and autumn harvests. In winter however, the amount of work required on the tea farms is significantly lower. For this reason tea farmers switch to producing shimenawa as a source of income.
This drastic change in workload based on the season makes this a difficult problem for some tea farmers, although it is an extremely important point that one should think about!
Tea Farmers of Wazuka Town（by Daiki.T)
Recently, we invited our regular customers to drink and compare the different sencha produced by five young Wazuka Town tea farmers. All of the sencha were of the yabukita cultivar.
Back in February, we first gathered and decided to come up with this idea to bring the different variations of yabukita to life. As tea farmers, we are well aware that the taste of the tea changes depending on the location, soil, etc; the biggest variable however is the farmer themselves.
Since then we have been working with other young tea farmers in Wazuka Town and actively purchasing tea produced by them. This unique approach also allowed each farmer to decide on the unit price and quantity of the produce they’d like to sell themselves.
The difference between the tea was far greater than I had imagined it to be. Yabukita is known for its elegant flavour profile, and this trait was greatly reflected in each of the respective farmer’s farming style. All the brews had an easy-to-understand aroma, poignant umami, and extremely natural taste. This session was also the first time I could truly feel the difference soil and terrain had onn tea produced.
While tea may be perceived as a luxury item, I would like to continue to come up with a variety of ways in which our customers can enjoy tea casually and wholeheartedly.