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)
The aftermath of pesticide free second flush harvesting
Every year we only harvested tea from the first flush for pesticide free farms. Instead of harvesting, we cut all the branches deeply to maintain the health and quality of tea and to avoid the pests. For the first time, this year we decided to harvest tencha from the second flush to improve our production. I have been checking on the trees after harvesting the leaves.
In conclusion the process turned out well. We tried harvesting Goko which is a cultivar strong against illness and pests. The trees were originally planted at a hill with enough sunlight so this practice area was comparable and grown well. Most tea trees are harvested twice during spring and summer then pruned to the branches. After being pruned, the new treetops will grow until late autumn when the air gets cold. These branches are necessary for next spring because they will be the base for the new sprouts. If we are not going to harvest the second flush, after harvesting the first flush, we cut down the leaves so deep that there are no leaves left on the trees. This time we didn’t cut too deep to prepare for the second flush. The amount of branches and its sprouts increased so we might be able to harvest more tea next spring. Tea harvest is like a negative correlation (the more tea we can harvest the less quality or the opposite) so we might need to create a schedule more decent than last year depending on the quantity. Also, shortening the growth period during summer to autumn can change the amount of carbon assimilation which will downgrade the quality of the first flush tea for the following year. We still are not sure how the quality and amount will change depending on harvesting the second flush or not, but trying to harvest second flush pesticide free tea might be helpful for foreign needs so I think it is worth experimenting.
Pesticide free Gokou after harvesting the second flush
Tea according to your lifestyle（by Azusa.U)
When you are taking a short break, would you like to enjoy a cup of tea? Today I would like to share several teas depending on the type of break.
When people drink tea while working and studying, caffeine can help awaken the brain and it makes it easier to focus. Caffeine can also support stamina, speed, muscle work and other aerobic and anaerobic exercise performances. It is effective to intake two to three milligrams of caffeine per kilogram according to your body weight.
Theanine is best fit for relaxing. Gyokuro and shaded tea (Kabusecha) are full of Theanine. Both of these teas contain a lot of caffeine but thanks to Theanine it moderates the awakening effect of caffeine. When you want to take a rest please make sure to enjoy tea with cold brew because hot water can dissolve the caffeine easily.
Caffeine during nighttime makes it harder to sleep so we recommend cold brew tea or roasted tea. Theanine in sencha also helps produce more EEG alpha waves which supports relaxing.
Cold brew tea helps relieve stress and sleep. However please be careful not to drink sencha with hot water before sleeping because theanine’s ability weakens when mixed with caffeine and epigallocatechin gallate.
Roasted tea has pyrazine which helps when you want to calm down. Since it doesn’t contain caffeine like sencha, you can enjoy it with hot water. It warms up your body and helps with sleep.
All of these teas are produced from the same tree but harvested and processed differently. This changes the component for each type of tea. Please try many types of tea according to your lifestyle.
I like to drink matcha during the morning. It is more exciting to enjoy with your favorite utensils.
Weed-cutting at the young tree farm（by Seiya.H)
Starting this March, we planted over a thousand one-year-old baby tea trees in Wazuka. They were about 15 centimeters tall and contained no more than ten leaves.
I go to cut the weeds in the young-tree-farm at least once a month. Throughout the six months, the trees have grown at least 50 centimeters, but the weeds have grown taller than the trees in less than a month. It is shocking to see the field covered with weeds so much the trees are hidden. We must remove the weeds in order for the trees to grow healthy and strong so when I go to the young-tree-farm I cut down the weeds all day.
One important thing I learned about weeds is that we should not remove the weeds. Removing the weeds along with its roots causes more weeds to grow around the original place of the root. So we need to use a sickle to cut the weeds at the surface. This slows down the growing speed of weeds and helps the trees absorb necessary nutrients.
Cutting down weeds sounds endless but I am very excited to harvest these leaves in a few years. In order to do that, I need to keep working on getting rid of weeds and I will keep updating the young trees once in a while.
Komakage and Houshun are the two cultivars planted new.
Matcha beauty recipe No.5（by Natsuki)
I would like to introduce a new matcha recipe that is simple and enjoyable
My fifth recipe will be vegan matcha energy bar to help your stamina!
【Ingredients for 6 energy bars】
・1 tablespoon of Yabukita matcha first flush
・100 grams of oatmeal
・few goji berries
・30 grams of almond
・20 grams of walnut
・20 grams of pumpkin seeds
・2 tablespoons of maple syrup
・1 tablespoon of coconut flakes
1.Mash the banana with the food processor like a purée
2.Mix the rest of the ingredients (except for coconut flakes) into the food processor.
3.Lay a kitchen paper on the mold and spread the mixed ingredients into the mold and spread it out equally and flat.
4.Bake for 30 minutes in the oven at 180 degrees Celsius.
5.Cut the energy bar into bite size pieces after cooling down out of the oven.
6.Sprinkle coconut flakes and enjoy!
When heated matcha loses its shiny green color but you can still enjoy the aroma.
I need to eat something healthy to avoid stomach ache and it is difficult during business trips because most meals are at restaurants. So I always bring something made by myself like these energy bars.
Please try this at home and you can add your favorite nuts for originality!
d-matcha Snowball cookies (by Ko.Y）
Our snowball cookies are made from rice.
Rice powder is made from freshly washed white rice and pulverized by a special machine. I like to use rice powder as a healthy ingredient because the nutrients inside both rice and rice powder are the same. They both contain protein, carbohydrate, fat, inorganic, vitamin B1 and vitamin E.
Using rice made in Japan is very safe because they don’t add additives. Japanese people‘s diet mainly focus on rice but it is decreasing every year, but I think rice powder is the hero to self-sufficiency due to its nutrients.
The cookies have a malty taste and you can enjoy the tea aroma before biting it.
Please try our five flavors, matcha, roasted tea, black tea, yuzu and brown rice tea.
Establishing d:matcha part 13~ Finding a new home（by Misato.T)
Before opening the cafe, all the non-farmer staff including myself moved in to Wazuka. Searching for a new home was one big problem.
Unlike the city, Wazuka barely has any real estate companies and it is a town without apartments and rental houses.
Wazuka is full of unoccupied houses but that doesn’t mean all homes are usable without repairing and some owners absolutely refuse to lend to new-comers.
These days Wazuka has a system called the Empty House Bank, This helps with the contract of people who want to live in houses and for people who want to own the houses. However they didn’t have that system at that time so we had to ask an acquaintance to find a house.
My husband and I were able to live on the upper floor of the cafe but finding another home for the other staff was extremely hard. What was really shocking was we were finally able to find a residence but the owner rebelled two weeks before moving in. We don’t know why but most owners become anxious to rent their properties to strangers.
We ended up with two families (four adults and one baby) living upstairs. Four of the staff in the same atmosphere both work and private was not easy and it took six months to finally find a new house.
I wondered at the time why there are so many unoccupied homes that are out of bounds. At the end all us staff needed to clean the new home we found before using.
Wazuka is starting to be more open to newcomers but there are many homes that new residents need to repair and clean before moving in.
Business trip to Singapore（by Daiki.T)
Last month I went to Singapore for a business trip. My business trip overseas is in France in 2020 January.
Most of our customers outside of Japan are from the United States but Singapore is the most from Asia. Singapore and Japan have only an one hour time lag and I can take the night flight from Kansai-Airport so to me it is not a huge difference as going to Tokyo.
I was astonished at the commodity prices and the sufficiency of Japanese goods. Last time I visited Singapore was in 2016. The snacks from Japan were expensive in my opinion but due to the yen becoming cheaper and deflation in Japan, the price stabilised along with Singapore’s growth. Famous Japanese sweets brands like Chateraise and Letao deliver frozen sweets to Singapore and are popular along with a good price. Chaterasile contains over 30 stores in Singapore.
I went to Don Donki in Singapore and I was surprised at the lineup. Don Donki in Japan is a type of store that focuses on cheap prices (Kind of like Walmart and Target in the United States). In Singapore they sell good Japanese food at a bargain price. It was more like a high quality Japanese supermarket. It looks like the founders led the Singapore business to success and popularity supports the land price thanks to Don Donki.
I was very happy to visit Singapore once more and this gave me more hints and motivation for my next business.
（marina bay sands）