Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Dear Temomi Lovers,

On April 23, our Temomi artisans gathered at our factory in early morning and started making 2010 Temomi Shincha with great care. As I posted, Shizuoka was hit by big chill at the end of March, and it largely affected the growth of young tea leaves. Even on that day, some tea plants hadn't matured yet, so the artisans had to observe each tea plant and make a careful selection of leaves. After the hand-pick harvest, steaming, kneading, and drying process took a place. All of the processes were done only by hands, and of course, no machinery were used.

My mother, Kazue Sugimoto, has 15-year experience as Temomi technician. In 1995, she started making Temomi Cha just for her enjoyment, but now she recognized importance to preserve this traditional craft art for the next generation. She is very pleased to have this opportunity to present Temomi Shincha to American tea lovers.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Japanese Sweets (Wagashi) and Tea Tasting

Under the support of Takumi Ono of junglecity.com and Viv of SeattleBonVivant, we had a small Japanese sweets (Wagashi) and tea tasting on April 3. Wagashi and green tea are traditionally enjoyed together in Japan, and it's one of the beautiful and proud cultures of Japan.

For this event, one of the best wagashi makers in Seattle, TOKARA, provided her beautiful and delicious wagashi. She makes traditional style wagashi and surprisingly brings many of her ingredients all the way from Japan. See the photo above. Her work is just like art. Not only how it looks like, its taste is very traditional.

I made a presentation about Japanese green tea. Now many people recognize health benefits of green tea, but I think not so many people preciously understand what Japanese green tea is. Japanese green tea is different from other teas in many ways. Especially, how to prepare tea and how to store tea is big matter if you would like to fully enjoy Japanese tea. As Japanese tea adviser, it is my preasure to have this kind of educational opportunity. If you are interested in having this kind of event at your home, store, or restaurant, just contact us.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Big Chill Hit to Shizuoka

From the beginning of this week, Shizuoka prefecture, where our teas come from, has been very cold. And on March 30, the temperature of the tea fields dropped to below freezing, and buds were largely affected by it. This doesn't influence tea quality, but the harvest date might be slightly delayed.

Recently, my father, Tea Maestro Sugimoto, has visited to his tea farmers very often. He makes sure that each tea plant grows their buds with energy and talks with his farmers about this year's harvest. Tea farmers are diligently taking care of their tea fields. Soon, tea fields will change their color to brilliant green.

In Japan, there are many tea producing regions. Well-known regions are Kagoshima, Fukuoka, Mie, Kyoto, and Shizuoka. Just like a wine, every regions have different taste characteristics, and each region is equally respected by people. Shincha harvest will begin from South region of Japan. So, Kagoshima is usually the first; the last year, they began the harvest from the end of March. And Fukuoka, Mie, Kyoto and Shizuoka are following.