Hello, thank you for supporting d:matcha Kyoto! This newsletter is filled with the monthly updates from our team. We hope you enjoy our stories from Wazuka Town, Kyoto Prefecture.
About farming (by Aka.H)
Rare tea leaves part②
I’ve been tea farming for six years and I often see unusual-shaped tea leaves. Today I would like to describe some tea leaves that I found according to personal preference.
This is today’s odd-looking leaf.
The leaf looks like two leaves combined. I came across this leaf when I was at the Gokou tea farm for summer maintenance. Summer maintenance is called Deep Cutting (or Chuugari). Every year the tea leaves grow taller which makes it harder to harvest and the branches become smaller so each sprout may not have enough nutrients. To avoid this situation, once every few years we cut down the branches after harvesting the first flush. After this maintenance, healthy strong tea sprouts. I think when the tree vigour is too strong, the main vein of the leaf splits in half which causes two leaves to combine. However I only saw this situation in Gokou farms so these rare shapes might only be in certain farms depending on the cultivar and nature.
Enjoy hot tea from charcoal（by Seiya.H)
For centuries people have been enjoying tea from boiling hot water in a kettle made out of steel. These days we use electricity like IH to boil water from kettles but the original way in Sado (or way of tea) we use charcoal and fire. We have containers called Furo and Ro depending on the season. After filling up the Furo or Ro with ash, we add charcoal inside.
In most casual tea ceremonies the host already has the kettle ready before the guest arrives. However in formal tea ceremonies, there is a certain procedure for adding charcoal into the ashes in front of the guests. This is called Sumi-demae (Sumi is charcoal).
When the guests arrive in the tea room, the host brings the charcoal in front of the guests and adds them to the ashes. The amount and sizes of the charcoal and how to put them in the fire have already been decided for centuries. The charcoals are already stacked neatly and the ashes are prepared neatly in a certain shape before the guests arrive.
Charcoal is one way of performing the host’s skill and art so guests are usually excited to admire the host and the charcoal art. In the beginning, the water in the kettle is cold even in the winter, but by the time the guests are about to enjoy tea, the kettle is filled with boiling hot water.
The trees used for charcoal were mostly in Fukushima, but after the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Disaster in 2012, it became extremely hard to create charcoal even in Japan. Especially charcoal for Sado needs to be straight in certain sizes so it is more rare.
Listening to the sound of charcoal burning in a quiet tea room is one way of enjoying a tea ceremony. If you go to Japanese cuisine restaurants they might have a hearth with ash and charcoal so that might be a chance to enjoy the burning sound.
All the utensils used for charcoal are also valuable and guests are willing to admire them also.
Matcha beauty recipe No.7（by Natsuki)
I would like to introduce a new matcha recipe that is simple and enjoyable
My seventh recipe will not be matcha but this time sencha lemonade that can be enjoyable during cold winter season♪”
Today’s sencha will be「Yabukita」
【Ingredients and materials】
・1:1 ratio of Lemon (Organic if possible) and Cane Sugar
・A jar that is already boiling disinfected
＜How to create＞
- Cut the lemon into thin round slices.
- Alternatively place the lemon and cane sugar into the jar and make sure the last lemon will cover the sugar.
- In three days the liquid will rise to the top of the jar so make sure to mix it every day.
- In about ten days you will see bubbles in the jar.
- If the lemon is soft enough then it is ready!
※This can be stored at normal temperature but I advice to ferment it in the refrigerator during summer season because lemon can create mold when too hot.
＜How to create sencha lemonade＞
- Add one tablespoon of syrup into the glass
- Add sencha that is already brewed from the teapot in to the glass with syrup
- Place the lemon after mixing the first two ingredients.
▶Lemon and sencha have a great combination plus they both have vitamin in its nutrients so I advise drinking this during winter.
d-matcha Cheese cake (by Ko.Y）
d-matcha’s standard popular cheesecake
Today I would like to describe different kinds of cheesecake
Like its name, baked cheesecake is baked in the oven. Often the ingredients include cream cheese, eggs, sugar and flour. Thick taste of cheese is enjoyable with a creamy but hard texture.
Otherwise known as No-Bake Cheesecake because this cheesecake is created without baking. Cream cheese, yoghurt and sugar is often used. Mostly they have a light and refreshing taste. Rare cheesecake can be enjoyed by using gelatin in the cake for smooth texture and without gelatin it will taste softer.
First you whip the white egg like a melange and mix with the dough. Soufflé Cheesecake has an extremely light taste and smooth texture. Soufflé means blow in French, however this cheesecake was first created in Japan. This is why Soufflé Cheesecake is otherwise known as Japanese Cotton Cheesecake.
New York Cheesecake
New York Cheesecake looks similar to Baked Cheesecake. One huge difference is that this cheesecake is baked by a tray that is filled with hot water. This helps with a heavy texture compared to other cheesecakes. The history of New York Cheesecake is that when Jewish came to New York everyone tried to improve their cheesecake which now is called New York Cheesecake.
Burnt Basque Cheesecake
This type of cheesecake is often enjoyed in Spain and France. The ingredients are almost the same as Baked Cheesecake. The surface is a little bit burnt but there is a thick texture on the inside.
Which kind of cheesecake do you think is d:matcha’s cheesecake?
d:matcha Establishment part⑯～Cultral exchange program of d:matcha and Stanford MBA students（１）～（by Misato.T)
In December 2016, MBA students from Stanford University came to Japan for a school trip to visit Japanese companies. During this trip the students were able to experience tea from d:matcha and this was the first time students out of Japan interacted with our company.
Our CEO’s scholarship fund was also his classmate's and he organized a program so that the students can enjoy our program in Kyoto. It was an honour because this field trip to Kyoto included visiting famous companies like Nintendo.
At this point d:matcha didn’t own a cafe and we had an online shop only. While living in Kyoto City, we were still looking for a store of our own. For this event we rented a restaurant hall on the second floor in Kyoto City. This day students enjoyed tasting different tea cultivars.
↑Presentation on establishing d:matcha
↑Drinking comparison of sencha
↑Trying to whisk matcha
Everyone was amazed with the different taste of delicious tea and were very excited to hear stories from venture companies like us. We are very delighted that students that are outgoing for creating a stronger world like Stanford University students are supporting and understanding our way of business. Our business model helped in giving a huge potential to the world.
This is how d:matcha and Stanford students were able to interact almost every year. Foreign MBA programs include many intern programs to communicate and work with companies to find their own future dreams.
One of the students who listened to our presentation in 2016 strongly recommended d:matcha for the summer intern program. Thanks to that we were able to do an inter program during the summer of 2017 and welcomed intern students every year even in 2022.
Japanese Vacational House Rental Project（by Daiki.T）
Right in the middle of our tea farm there is an old house and we are trying to renovate it into a rental vacation house.
We are trying to reuse most of what was left in the original house. Reusing the materials helps us learn the history of Japanese houses.
（Picture on left shows the original house before renovating）
（Picture on right is the house still in renovation）
I was suprised by how simple the materials were. The frame was made from wood, the foundation was from stone, the roof from tiles and the wall was made out of bamboo and straw mixed and dried with dirt. We had to remove the broken parts but what was left clean we can reuse and we are planning to return what we didn’ t use back to nature.
（Wooden pillars and walls from dirt）
（Here you can see the wall framed with bamboo and straw）
The broken wall will return to the yard of the house. Shards from tiles will return on top of the foundation below the floor because tiles can absorb moisture. The rest of the tiles are going to the yard to make a path to the entrance of the house.
（The original tiles are packed below the floor）
（Stone, log, the foundation of the log）
The foundation was also very simple which is shown on the picture on top (Stone and log). This structure prevents the building from being destroyed due to earthquakes. Japan is famous for the amount of earthquakes so these kinds of structures are very important.
Since I was born and grew up in Tokyo, there are still many things I haven’t experienced and learned in the countryside of Japan. I’m however astonished by the eco-friendly structure and cyclical circumstances.
I would like to combine the Japanese cultural tradition and technology wisely to improve our business and living.