February 2020 Newsletter
- d:matcha tea fields（by Hiroki.A )
Do you have an image of a tea field? Someone once answered that when they visualise tea trees, the shape of the fields remind them of a beautiful half moon in the night sky. While this may be a good answer, the truth is that this half moon shape is not the natural shape of the fields. Such a beautiful scenery was carefully crafted by the farmers themselves. At d:matcha we also trim our tea fields in anticipation of the harvesting season. In Autumn the branches are pruned and trimmed in preparation for Spring; in which we only harvest the fresh leaves that grow up from the branches that were previously trimmed. Are you able to imagine what the tea trees looked like before the pruning?
In summer, the tea trees thrive and can grow up to a 30cm in height due to the optimum conditions of the season. The leaves of these new branches also grow up to 10cm in width. Tea trees that grow well in Summer are more likely to produce tea that has strong characteristics and flavour. Trimming off a substantial amount of branches in Autumn, is essential for encouraging the growth of newer branches that are likely to be thicker and richer in amino acids. This in turn also boosts the quality of newer tea leaves exponentially.
In Spring, these minerals and nutrients gathered in the branches are distributed to the growing leaves growing at the top. This is the reason why the baby leaves of tea trees that have been trimmed are slightly fatter and possess a rich umami taste. Therefore, trimming the branches significantly helps to stimulate the growth of newer branches, and in turn also allow for a faster and more efficient distribution of minerals and nutrients to the new leaves.
- d:matcha products（by Natsuki.S）
I went on a trip to Paris recently and made the time to visit the numerous chocolate shops in the city. While several of these shops were extremely fancy, I was excited and happy to be able to taste all the delicious chocolate on sale! For the last three years the team at d:matcha has also been selling chocolate with a rich matcha taste. However, as we look to continuously reinvent ourselves and our products, we have now introduced new matcha chocolate sets that are "24 % premium matcha chocolate". Chocolate with a 24% of matcha means that it will be the similar to enjoying a cup of matcha with each piece. The experience will be similar to eating a cup of matcha and we sincerely hope parisians will love it as much as we do in Japan!
-about d:matcha（by Daiki.T）
In Jan. 2020 I visited Bordeaux and Burgundy in France, sites famously known for the premium wine they produce.
I have always felt that Japanese green tea is very similar to wine due to several factors. One such example is “terroir”, in which the taste of the product differs depending on the soil, weather, and landscape. Since then, I benchmarked the wine industry in France as an example structure Japanese green tea could follow, as there are currently no clear definitions or a grading system in place for customers. During my visit to Bordeaux and Burgundy I also noticed two differences between each locations, which I would like to talk about more.
In Burgundy, one single variety (cultivar) known as Pinot Noir is commonly produced. The quality of the wine is classified according to the the sections of the vineyard it was produced form. This criteria is strictly defined and is also heavily dependant on the availability of detailed information (section, village, vineyard) related to the origin of the vineyard. With that said, wine produced from a specific vineyard is likely to be more expensive and adhere to a far stricter criteria during its production process. I was able to enjoy six different wines in Gevrey Chambertin. The wines were graded according to their vineyard, vintage, and the classification. The delicate difference in the taste was so special.
As for Bordeaux, while the grading criteria is similar to other regions (Bordeaux > Medoc > Margaux ), one additional factor is that Chateau (wine producers) are also each given their own ratings. This is likely due to the fact that the Chateau usually blend several varieties of wine originally such as Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot to each produce their own unique taste.
WIth this experience, I feel that it is even more important to define the criteria of production via the location and treatment process of the leaves. This will easily provide customers with additional background information of the products. Moving forward, we will work towards providing such background information of each tea we harvest at d:matcha (ex. the amount of production, the characteristics of the soil….)