January 2023 Newsletter
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)
Unusual tea leaves in tea farms part 3
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.
Red tea leaves？
This photo was taken during a very cold winter. What do you think happened to these tea leaves that turned into a scarlet red color?
This is called red burn and why this occurs is because they are dehydrated. But it is extremely rare for the ground to freeze during the winter season. Red burn occurs during low temperatures below five degrees celsius. When it is too cold, tea tree roots lose power to absorb water from its soil which causes the tea leaves to dehydrate. This situation is contradicting because the soil should have enough water but the leaves can’t obtain water during the freezing season.
Flower in the tea rooms（by Seiya.H)
In sado (or the way of tea) Hosts decorate a few flowers in his or her own tea room to welcome the guests. Chabana (Flower for tea) is a different name.
Unlike ikebana (Japanese style flower arrangement), chabana focuses on not outstanding but decorated in the room as if blooming in the wild. We must not forget that tea is the main hospitality instead of flowers so we need to choose flowers without fragrance.
Most of the time during the winter season we use camellia as the main flower. Basic rules for camellia is that you must use one bud and two or three leaves behind the bud. We cut down the rest of the buds and leaves with scissors. One more rule is that we can only use buds that are not completely bloomed (picture down below) so when you can use the camelia is extremely important.
I think chabana is one of the most difficult techniques in sado but I think flowers are necessary in this world to enjoy a natural atmosphere.
Please take a look at the flowers when entering a tea room. Now is the chance to admire beautiful camelia.
The balance is important when it comes to the size of the flower container so some people adjust branches or other flowers on the back.
Matcha beauty recipe No.8（by Natsuki)
I would like to introduce a new matcha recipe that is simple and enjoyable
My eighth recipe will be using sweet matcha and sweet red bean that is popular during the winter season, Zenzai or red bean soup.
・Sweet red bean
・1 tablespoon of Yabukita matcha first flush
- Whisk one hot bowl of matcha
Add grilled rice cake and red bean in the matcha
▶It is better to use sweet red bean so that even children can enjoy matcha
When I return to my home town, we always enjoy the rice cake pounding event and enjoy brand new pounded rice cake. We try and think of many ideas to enjoy rice cake. This was one way I found out that is enjoyable for children also, we heated the red bean on the stove.
My family enjoyed the balance of bitter matcha and sweet red bean. Please try this out with leftover rice cake!
d-matcha Straberry Mousse cake (by Ko.Y）
Mousse cake is known to be created in the 17th century but became famous during the 20th century when shock freezers were invented.
Thanks to the shock freezers we were able to create and store high quality moose cakes. You were able to enjoy mousse cake anywhere.
Japan tried hard to create their own mousse cake during the 20th century
Mousse cake was originally enjoyed by peers because you can enjoy the cake quietly (no crunchy loud noises) and the volume inside is huge so you can be full easily.
Mousse means whip cream in French and this contains whip cream or white egg with fruit sauce and chocolate. Then it is frozen afterwards.
Mousse cake was not a dessert but can also be added with meat, vegetables or fish as an appetizer.
What is the difference between Mousse and Bavaros
Mousse is French and means bubble or whip cream. It has a soft and smooth texture and is also used in meals.
Bravaros is also French and this is only used in sweets. This is more like a jelly like texture and mixed with eggs, milk, sugar and gelatin and frozen while in a mold. Bravaros means pudding in French.
d:matcha Establishment part⑯～Cultral exchange program of d:matcha and Stanford MBA students（2）～（by Misato.T)
Ruth was our first intern student from Stanford University and she is from Africa.
Ruth originally worked for the world bank before entering Stanford MBA and she decided to choose d:matcha for her summer internship.
Ruth was extremely friendly and energetic in a good way, she got along with the staff member rapidly. There were many cultural differences which gave us a lot of information (including time management and common sense) . She gives us a smile every time she goes to our tea farm and takes so many photos and posts them on her SNS.
I still remember the time when Ruth told me I need to take a break since I’m overworking and she forced me to go hiking on Harayama (a mountain in Wazuka, we own a tea farm there also) on my birthday.
Ruth and I always talked about why Japan and Africa both are the same with women doing most of the chores around the house. She said it is unfair about the inequality of gender and that women need to work hard on their career while cleaning the house and taking care of their children.
Ghana is where Ruth is originally from and is full of nature and primary industry resources. Ruth chose d:matcha for her internship because she was wondering what she can do to start a business in her home country and learn from us techniques and skills. We understood Ruth was very serious about her dreams and wondering what she could do.
So I told Ruth that she is so talented and has so many advantages, abilities and careers that are usable when starting a business, and that what is important is what you want to do instead of what you can do. What we can ask ourselves is that what you can put in effort and what you are doing that is enjoyable.
The truth is Ruth wasn’t the only student from Stanford that I had these kinds of conversations with. Stanford students are extremely smart and full of knowledge and skills but only a few of them have a clear mind of what their dreams are. Most students who come to d:matcha try to find a hint in what they want to do for their future.
Ruth stayed in d:matcha for about ten days and she gave us advice that we should focus more on tours for international customers thanks to our business model and sightseeing. She even introduced us to Airbnb which is one of the Stanford alumni works.
By coincidence Airbnb just started a new program at that time to interact with Japan, so Ruth asked Airbnb to add d:matcha as one of their hosts for experience in Japan. We became the second earliest host in Kyoto. Soon d:matcha’s tea farm tour became extremely popular! We could not have done so much if Ruth hadn't chosen d:matcha for her internship so we are extremely thankful to her.
This is the url of the blog Ruth wrote during her internship.↓
New store is finally open!（by Daiki.T）
In Dec. 2022, we opened our store. I planned the structure so that the operation in the cafe is easier. Our first store (in 2017)was originally a supermarket so its structure was not the best benefit to our business (manufacturing and selling tea and sweets, shipping and using the building as a cafe). Six years ago I had no idea that I was going to start a new style of business but I thought now was the right time to move up a step. One thing I like about our new store is that we placed huge windows on the southern part of the building so during sunny days the room is so warm you don’t need a heater during winter season.
（The wall is created by sugi wood）
（The tea farm in front of us is white with frost)
What I want to improve on is introducing our behind the sceans and stories by showing the tea farms and the sweets room that is viewable from the seats. Wazuka originally did not have many restaurants or cafes so at first there were customers that came to our store because there was no other place to enjoy lunch and dessert. We could not use our full attention to the customers who aimed to d:matcha especially during busy seasons like May because happily there were more and more customers who just visited Wazuka.
（The window that shows the confectionary room from the store）
（The store itself is bigger than last time so many arrangements can be displayed）
Our next goal is to try out reservations only and take orders by smartphones only. This will help with smooth efficiency and encourage guests with the service we fully want to put in effort.
2023 will be the year where both national and international guests can enjoy the nature of Yubune in d:matcha!
（An atmosphere that is swarmed with the natural tea fields）