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 part①
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.
Heart shaped leaves
This is a photo of Okumidori which was taken during October at Yubune. I found this leaf while pruning and I decided to take a photo of this odd-looking leaf.
This leaf is in the shape of a heart. I believe this is caused by pests. While the leaves are growing, the pests must have damaged the central pulse. The remaining pulse on the side must have tried to grow into the shape of a fan. The tea leaves can change into different shapes due to illness, pests and stress but leaves turning into this beautiful shape is pretty rare. We usually get annoyed with these pests but by coincidence this artistic leaf lets us forget our stress.
Eating tea leaves（by Seiya.H)
Most of us dispense sencha tea leaves after drinking but I always eat the tea leaves. The reason why is that tea leaves still have nutrients including vitamins inside and I think it is a waste not to eat them. They are tasty also so I would like to share a recipe using used tea leaves.
・Used tea leaves（Optional amount）
・Raw kale leaf
・Chia seeds are additional
- When adding the ingredients, please make sure the frozen food comes on the top of the container
- Add about 70 percent of water due to the size of the juice mixer.
- In a few minutes it will turn into a healthy green smoothie!
There are other ways to enjoy tea leaves, some people enjoy by eating used gyokuro tea leaves with ponzu-soy sauce and tencha can be used as a topping instead of parsley or rosemary.
The recipe on top is just one way of enjoying tea leaves but I hope everyone would try their own original recipe to enjoy healthy delicious tea leaves.
Lemon and tea leaves have vitamins, seeds like chia-seeds have protein inside, banana helps the well balanced sweetness and is enjoyable with no additional sugar.
Matcha beauty recipe No.6（by Natsuki)
I would like to introduce a new matcha recipe that is simple and enjoyable
My sixth recipe will be matcha fermented granola that is very simple!
This time I will be using Yabukita matcha first flush
50 grams of oatmeal
20 grams of almonds
Moderate amount of nuts
1 tablespoon of olive oil
1 tablespoon of maple syrup
1 tablespoon of sweet sake
1 tablespoon of salt koji
2 tablespoons of matcha
Heat the oven up to 130 degrees Celsius
Mix all the ingredients in one bowl
Spread a baking sheet on a baking board and spread all the mixed ingredients and bake for 30 minutes.
Take it out of the oven, flip it over and cool it down.
- Store it in a storage container.
▶The granola will turn out better when baked longer so an additional few minutes might help.
▶Dry fruits are optional because they add sourness. I like adding apples during autumn.
▶I didn’t add any sugar but the sweetness comes from sweet sake. Cane sugar is recommended for anyone who wants a stronger taste.
d-matcha Mont-blanc tiramisu (by Ko.Y）
We have an autumn limited edition D-matcha dessert. Our mont-blanc tiramisu with autumn-leaf shaped Nerikiri (Colourful white bean paste) on top.
The true name for Nerikiri is called Nerikiri-Ame but we abbreviate it to Nerikiri. It is known to have been first used from the Edo-period (1603~1868). Nerikiri is also known as edible art so its beauty and art is very important.
There are three different types of Nerikiri
First we mix white bean paste with gyuhi (rice cake made from glutinous rice or glutinous flour). It is easy to adjust the shape when kneaded well. We add food colouring later on.
Kansai: Nerikiri with Yam
After steaming the white bean paste mix well with strained yam. This is also easy to create into shape and also has a soft texture with yam like aroma.
Konashi was first created in Kyoto and often used in Sado tea ceremonies. First mix the white bean paste with flour and rice cake powder and steam. While it is hot, mix well with sugar. It has a moist, heavy texture and the dough itself is harder compared to other Nerikiri. Konashi is easy to use for mold cutting.
Establishing d:matcha part 15～ Can abilities nurtured from large companies be usable in venture companies?～（by Misato.T)
↑After graduating university, I worked at a bank in Ohtemachi, Tokyo which is a financial district.
↑d:matcha in Wazuka, the climate and the atmosphere is completely different from cities.
The CEO was the only staff member that had experience at small or medium sized enterprises when establishing d:matcha. The rest of the staff (excluding farmers) were from Recruit(the biggest HR company in Japan) and I was from a bank company which are both known as large companies and it was our first time working at small, medium or venture companies.
One huge difference between large companies and venture companies is whether business contents are routine or not. Large companies already have rules, instructions and manuals beforehand. First we must obey the direction and we will be evaluated according to our performance. And, most big companies tend to dislike failure and mistakes.
Venture companies however do not have the manual to obey. Usually there is just a rough theme that is called Gain a profit and keep developing your skills. In order to succeed, we need to
- Think on our own and suggest
- Take action
- Reflect on our action
- Move on to improvement
Since it's a small number of staff, we need to do most of the process on our own. There is no way we can spend money on market research and plan with a hired consultant because there is no budget for human resources and money. All we can trust on is our own sensation, intuition and judgement on how to make our guests happy and make a profit.
It's their first time doing a small retail business. We were so used to the style of large companies so we didn’t know what to do at first and suffered in thinking and planning on our own and were afraid of failure.
However, there are good abilities that we’ve earned from large companies. I for example was lucky to earn skills in finding out risks for quality and management. My experience in sales jobs also helped with communicating with customers. Both of these skills I earned when working at a banking company. When working at restaurant companies, we were able to learn from the company's business cases. What helped us out most was our mind to work hard along with many other staff in a competitive society.
In conclusion, abilities nurtured from large companies don't help out much in venture companies. Still, the experience of working with many people, getting used to general business helped us out on the outlook and point of view from a different angle. If I’m going to advise myself when d:matcha was just established, I would tell myself not to fear mistakes and keep trying new policies. I still remember at first it was very difficult to have a creative mind because I needed to get used to daily store business and new tasks. I must say it took me at least two years to get used to the venture company style.
Structure of the new store（by Daiki.T）
Our construction for our new store next month is moving at a high rate.
It is very exciting to see the construction coming into shape every day. Our new store is surrounded by our own tea and rice farms and is located so everyone can enjoy the view from our cafe. We already have a plan to locate huge windows on the farm side that helps enjoy the view both on the first and second floor.
The new store’s location is in Yubune district which is famous for sugi(ceder) trees that are often used in wood construction. We’ve designed the building so that the construction is easy to see the sugi wood including the beams and ceiling. Many architects and carpenters helped us out with this new design and plan. For example, we have pillars thin but strong by having three joints from the ceiling.
（Unique pillar structure）
（Huge windows for the farm view）
The southern side of the building is planned for solar panels. We want to reuse our electricity from nature as much as possible. Pheasants are the symbol for Wazuka which you can meet, including foxes. There are also deers but they are not welcome because they eat our tea leaves…
It is very exciting to imagine what we can do that is viewable from our window like flower gardening and making soba.
（The view from outside where solar pannels are planned）
（Wild pheasants and foxes welcome you all!）
Next to our new building used to be a sewing factory. The building had very heavy sewing machines on the second floor. There were also unused fabric cloth so the local ladies helped us recycle by changing them into curtains.
（Old fabric cutting machine）
（Curtains made from old fabric cloth）