May 2020 Newsletter

- d:matcha's tea fields(by Hiroki.A

An update from the fields.

Due to the record warm winter we experienced in Wazuka this year, we were expecting and also preparing for an early harvest, but the season has unexpectedly been delayed. In the second half of April we’ve been experiencing several days of heavy rain, which has caused a drop in temperature. Nonetheless each of the varieties have sprung up one after another. While there has yet to be any serious frost damage to the young green tea shoots, experiencing unusually cold weather during this time of the year is slightly troubling.

Furthermore, this drop in temperature and potential mild frost damage will inevitably bring about some physical changes to shoots. One change is what is known in botany as the “rosette”. A rosette, which is the circular arrangement of a plants’ leaves, is one of the defence methods for plants to withstand the cold air. The internodes (point between two successive nodes) are shortened and the growth of the leaves are suppressed. This in turn causes the leaves to become slightly thicker and harden before the color and taste of the leaves can be fully absorbed. Needless to say, this is not ideal for quality Japanese tea.

(^ Rosette-like sprouts due to chilling and mild frost damage)

Therefore when harvesting such shoots, it is necessary to delay the harvesting time and harvest from a higher point than usual. Rosette-type sprouts will resume growing freely as the days get warmer. By delaying the harvesting period and shortening by the harvesting depth, it is then possible to avoid harvesting the hardened sprouts due to the rosette.

- d:matcha tiramisu (by Natsuki.S)

The other day d:matcha’s tiramisu, was featured in Nankai Candy's Yama-chan's new morning program "Do you have a bad Saturday !?" We received such an amazing response that we have since been making tiramisu almost every day! As long as I seem to be making tiramisu, I also receive orders for it! m (_ _) m. To help my colleagues out, I will also be joining the tiramisu team, and try to manufacture 120 cups of tiramisu at a time! At first I was overwhelmed by unfamiliar work because usually at home, I only make sweets twice a year... okay maybe once a year, but now I'm getting used to it. I will try to make for everyone delicious tiramisu ✌︎ ('ω'✌︎)

We are also in the process of producing a new tiramisu flavour ⭐︎ Please look forward to its completion ♫ !!

- d:matcha's Sencha factory(by Chisei.T)

From this year onwards, we will be moving the production of sencha to our own factory! Up till last year, while we were able to adjust factors such as the degree and temperature of the steaming process, as well as make other adjustments on our own, the remainder of the production had to be left up to consignment processing. During the last five years I have also been studying more on the tea processing methods at night, and this has motivated me to conduct new various experiments every year. I'm looking forward to the tea season this year.

The Sencha factory has since been cleaned, repaired, and our equipment has been transferred over. I will be sharing more information on the processing process of Japanese green tea on my blog and youtube, so please look out for it!

- One of the stories of tea famers meal(by Saki.N)

The tea season has arrived! This time, I would like to share a little more on the various method on how we can use tencha. Tencha is the ingredient for matcha, before it is grounded. As I was born and raised in Kyoto, I often make my own takoyaki at home.

In general green seaweed is often used as a garnish for takoyaki, but my family has always replaced this with Tencha! It smells a little like tea, so please give it a try if you have a chance.

- about Organic Farming? (by Ryhan)

The demand in organically produced food and organic farming has skyrocketed within the last few years. Changes in food trends and climates has contributed to this surge in demand. Working directly in the farming industry however, has vastly changed my understanding of the definition and processes of producing organic products. There is often a misconception that products need to obtain the proper certification, or be adorned with the ideal labels for them to be accepted by the public at large as ‘organic’. The truth however, is that the certification process in itself is tedious and costly. Farmers who may be producing organic and pesticide free products may not always have the access to the funds or means needed to attain the necessary certification.

At d:matcha, we are extremely fortunate to have the ability and time to further invest in the organic farming of our tea fields. To involve our customers in this process, we also launched an Adopt-A-Tea-Tree programme. The cost of each adoption will go towards the maintenance of the tea fields, as well as the post-production process. Admittedly, we ourselves are still in the process of obtaining the certification for ourselves but you have my word that the farming is kept as organic as possible.

With that being said, as a consumer, one of the best way to learn more on whether your products are organically produced would be to take the time to research on the farms, and where the products originate from. And of course, once the situation permits take the time to visit the farmers themselves!

- about d:matcha web(by Misato.T)

Usually many customers come to visit us in Wazuka during the second half of April, but due to the unpredictable crisis, this year has been unusually quiet. Despite feeling a little lonely, I still think this will be a fun season for customers to enjoy new tea as the first tea harvest of the year approaches. This is why I have decided to focus on posting more videos online. This allows me to share with you new content on the new green tea shoots, as well as the new harvest via my website and Youtube!

I personally don’t have any knowledge of coding websites myself, so I have been struggling a bit as I stare at my computer. Nevertheless, I will improve the site, so please check it out! Also let me know if there any mistakes as I would be happy to correct them ♪

- about d:matcha(by Daiki.T)

Due to the impact of the Covid-19, it has been extremely difficult for us to conduct sales activities in store, as we were previously doing. Despite this situation, d:matcha is fully committed to tackling these new challenges through various online activities. We will be focusing on sharing our production process, as well as improving our relationship with our customers around the world. Furthermore, because we are in the countryside, I feel extremely grateful and I know that I am lucky to still able to continue working despite the situation.

First, we focused on expanding our the availability of our online products. Up until now, our tiramisu was only sold over the counter, but from February onwards we added it to our shipping list. To further promote the product, we were lucky to have it featured on the nationally broadcasted tv programme "What are you going to do on Saturday night?" in April. 

Secondly, I would also like to share with you more on the effort it takes on the field and processing to create these products. We have been documenting our day-to-day work in detail and will be updating you with news every day on our social media channels such as YouTube and Instagram. I am also looking forward to testing other initiatives that the team has been planning for a while, such as d:matcha Tea Business School, Cooking School, and Online Consultations.

As April to May is the time of when new tea sprouts appear, and it was also previously the time when the number of visitors was at its the highest. This year, however, has given me the opportunity (and challenge) to test new products and broaden the range of services available online. At the same time, I am thinking of ways Wazuka can offer better quality products once the crisis has passed.

I hope you are keeping safe wherever you may be!

May 2020 Newsletter - d:matcha Kyoto