Update from d:matcha’s tea fields: Two different key methods of pruning the tea fields by Aka.H
When you visit Wazuka Town, where we produce tea, you will be able to see many tea fields. In Wazuka Town, the tea leaves are primarily harvested using a portable harvesting machine that is used in pairs.
You may also notice that there are two different common shapes of tea fields, one that is more horizontal and one that takes on a more kamaboko-like shape. The difference between the two shapes depends heavily on the type of machine that is used. The R1500 has a more curved like shape, while the R3000 has a more horizontal shape. Of course each shape has its own advantages and disadvantages during farming.
The curved tea fields (R1500) have a large surface area, so a slight increase in yield can be expected. Since the edges of the tea field are also shorter, this makes it easier for farmers to navigate around the tea field, especially for the purpose of fertilisation. However, since the tea fields are shaped like an arc, this means farmers must calculate the surface area of harvestable tea leaves three-dimensionally, which makes the harvesting and selection of portions of the field to harvest more tiring.
With the horizontal tea fields (R3000), the shape is more horizontal so the sunlight the tea fields receive is uniformed. This means the young shoots are equally aligned and this makes it easier during activities such as the spraying of pesticide. The application of fertilization and tilling however, is slightly more tedious.
When you have the opportunity to come to Wazuka Town, I hope that this additional knowledge of the differences in the shapes of these tea fields makes your visit more exciting!
Seasonal Delivery Service. Different types of tea once every three months! by Chisei.T
At d:matcha we have a seasonal delivery service that is provided at a 20 percent discount and includes four different types of tea every three months. We have many different types of tea and the flavour profile of these tea changes drastically depending on different factors.
This includes the farm they were grown on, the year they were produced, and so on. During each delivery we also send articles providing information on the types of tea and the farm they were harvested from.
I am usually in charge of writing this information about the tea. Personally I think including information about how the tea was processed and harvested makes drinking the tea more enjoyable. This is why I include details about the challenges of the harvest (if any) or the processing methods. These are all details that we have experience with and that I would like to share with you.
I have been receiving compliments from customers lately on the information provided and this has definitely motivated me to write more interesting letters!
Limited matcha sweets at our Wazuka Town store by Natsuki
At the Wazuka Town main store, we have been focusing on developing sweets that are only available on the weekends! The store staff have been coming up with several ideas and offers of matcha sweets that you can enjoy according to the season.
Our menu from November to early December is the Hojicha Mont Blanc cake set. Our Matcha Mont Blanc cake is extremely popular online, but we wanted to create a different version using houjicha to compliment the experience.
A Christmas plate set using Toro-ri Matcha chocolate will be available on the menu from early December till late December: A moist matcha cake mixed with matcha granola and drizzled hot matcha chocolate!
As a staff member, I am very excited about the time I spend thinking about which matcha sweets to use next and making prototypes. The ingredients are the same matcha, but the flavour of the matcha is expandable based on how you decide to use it.
When you go sightseeing in Kyoto next time, please include "Enjoy matcha sweets at d: matcha Kyoto cafe & kitchen" in your travel plans. Let our weekend special surprise you :)
A single tree by Ryhan
Recently I have been reading “Nakagami, Japan: Buraku and the Writing of Ethnicity”, which looks at Nakagami Kenji’s approach to literature. Nakagami-sensei was a novelist who publicly identified himself as a burakumin, which is Japan’s long-suffering outcast group.
He was also the first burakumin to win the coveted Akutagawa Prize in 1976, as well the Mainichi and Geijutsu Literary Prizes in 1977. Nakagami-sensei ability to bridge the complexities he felt by expressing his experiences in a form that was accessible to everyone.
In the piece 岬 (Misaki) or “The Cape”, a Romantic Naturalism style is adopted. The main character’s experiences are illustrated through the way he views the natural surroundings and how he sets “a single tree” apart, unattached to other objects. I feel that this is rather illuminating considering the dark twists and turns the story takes.
As someone who works with nature, I also feel that this is an element we can all relate to. There are certain fixtures that serve as markers and remind us to slow down, especially when things may seem beyond our control. Although I hope that your days do not get as dark as The Cape’s main character!
The charm of having tea in the morning by Azusa.U
For this month’s newsletter I would like to share with you some of my favourite proverbs on tea. These proverbs are also often related to the act of drinking tea in the morning.
- 朝茶は七里帰っても飲め | "Drink morning tea before leaving home" - This loosely translates to that you should have a cup of tea in the morning, especially if you are planning to travel a considerable distance for your day’s activities.
- 朝茶は福が増す | "Morning tea increases fortune"
- 朝茶はその日の難逃れ | "Morning tea escapes the day"
- 朝茶に別れるな | "Don't break up with morning tea"
- 一杯茶飲めば坊主にあう | "If you drink a cup of tea, you will meet a Buddhist priest."
The reason there are so many proverbs on morning tea is because there are also a lot of benefits when it comes to drinking warm sencha in the morning!
First of all, the caffeine found in warm sencha will help tackle any drowsiness by the awakening action of caffeine. A warm drink will also help to activate your gastrointestinal tract, especially if it is the first thing you drink in the morning. In addition, caffeine has the property of melting at high temperatures. If you want to increase your intake of caffeine, you can brew tea at a higher temperature so that you can take caffeine firmly even with the same tea leaves.
If you have the time, I would also recommend brewing the same batch of tea leaves twice. There is a difference in taste and aroma between the first and second brews, and I think you will feel the rush of the morning slow down when enjoying the taste of tea.
Pairing tea with chocolate by Seiya.H
I have recently been tasked with producing green tea chocolate at d:matcha so I decided to do my own research on tea and chocolate.
When eating chocolate, there is often a sticky texture left in your mouth after eating. This is an effect from the cacao butter, which is the main ingredient of chocolate. Cacao butter is hard to absorb and can be oily. In this case a drink that can help to reset your flavour palate is highly recommended. To quote chocolatier Pierre Malcony who once said: “Water or Japanese green tea is the best beverage to go with chocolate.”
While milk and coffee are often chosen to go with chocolate, green tea is a lesser known choice. Black tea is also popular but like milk or coffee, these beverages run the risk of ruining the flavour of the cacao. Green tea on the other hand, has the ability to draw out the key flavour points of the cacao, while retaining the bitterness of its own flavour profile. In green tea, the tannins can also help to decompose the oiliness of the cacao butter.
Furthermore, depending on the type of chocolate I would also recommend different types of tea for the product to be paired with. Bitter chocolate is better paired with houjicha or oolong tea. The refreshing texture of both types of tea compliment this type of chocolate better. For milk chocolate or sweeter variants of chocolate, a deep-steamed sencha or black tea is recommended. Lastly, white chocolate is best enjoyed with matcha. I myself like to enjoy chocolate with cold matcha during the summer.
Since childhood I have been interested in creating sweets, and am delighted that I now have the opportunity to do so. I hope to learn more about different combinations of tea and chocolate to bring you the best products. Ultimately I would also recommend trying different combinations of tea with chocolate to find which one you like best!
(Part three) Establishing d:matcha: Boston and Matcha at Babson University~ by Misato.T
While Daiki was studying overbroad at Babson University in Boston, there was a class where classmates get together as a group and do market research depending on the type of business selected. Each group needed to sell an item and compete with other groups depending on the price or popularity.
We had already conceptualised a tea business plan so Daiki tried his best to persuade his group members to focus on matcha. His team included students from India, Mexico, and the United States. We focused on sweets that took on a more Western approach and we came up with three products: ① Matcha coconut drink, ② Matcha pound cake and ③ Matcha Ice cream. I was in charge of making ② and ③ at home.
Matcha may be a well known drink in Japan but for people who don’t know matcha, they may not have a good grasp of the flavour profile or texture. ② and ③ were examples of making matcha more accessible to them in the form of a dessert, but as someone who is Japanese and spent more of my life living in Japan, this was completely new! Even beverage wise for ①, I was first shocked to think matcha would be mixed with another ingredient.
Matcha is a bitter beverage and to those living outside of Japan, they may be unfamiliar with the drink. Some healthy-minded people outside of Japan enjoy matcha without sugar but not many. I have often assumed Japanese people were more resistant to bitter food and drinks.
When we did market research, Matcha ice cream was most popular and coconut drink was least popular. This international and potential experience is the reason why I think I was able to think of many d:matcha sweets early on.