Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Our blog has moved!


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Friday, July 27, 2012

Why Tea Changes Its Flavor Depending On Water Temperature?

What temperature do you use to brew your teas? Do you have a preferable water temperature for your favorite teas? Today, I'd like to share what exactly happens to your tea when you change the water temperature.

There are 3 kinds of major components related to the flavor of tea - Caffeine, Tannin, and Amino Acid. Caffeine has bitterness, Tannin has astringency, and Amino Acid has sweetness or Umami. Each component has different resolution rate depending on water temperature. See the chart below.
As you see, Caffeine and Tannin dramatically change their resolution rate depending on water temperature. The higher the water temperature is, the quicker the components are extracted. In other words, they were not extracted well into low-temperature water.
On the other hand, Amino Acid doesn't change its dissolution rate regardless of water temperature. Even into the 104F water, more than 60% of Amino Acid are extracted in 4 minutes.

This is why many tea companies recommend to use low-temperature water for Sen Cha or Gyokuro which have nice sweet flavor. If you use high temperature for these teas, bitterness and astringency overpower the sweetness, and you cannot enjoy their authentic flavor.

Also, this is why you need to steep longer when you use low-temperature water. With 104F water,  bitterness and astringency are not extracted well even after 4 minutes, but sweetness/Umami is extracted according to the steeping duration. By steeping long time with low-temperature water, your tea will be full-body sweetness/Umami.

Hope this information will be of help to you.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Cold Green Tea Mission

Hooray! Finally summer is here in Seattle.  Driving with the windows down and radio up, I like to feel the heat of the glaring sun and a cool breeze touching my skin-- I like the contrast.  Summer is so short here.  I must enjoy this as much as possible before never-ending troops of grey clouds coming in with undetermined rain.

Okinawa, where I grew up, gets unbelievably HOT in summer.  It belongs to sub-tropical climate, and it means hot and HUMID!  It feels like you're covered with a wet heavy blanket all the time. Vending machine is a savior.  You must constantly drink something to hydrate yourself.

In Japan, cold tea is commonly enjoyed during summer. I used to help my mother to prepare cold green tea when we had visitors.  My mother had a very beautiful set of glassware and I looked forward to using her tea set every summer.  It was all about the presentation to me. As a little girl, I enjoyed placing a beautiful delicate glass on a matching coaster, Japanese traditional sweets on a pretty plate, and a tiny bamboo fork aside. Then, I set everything on a tray and took careful steps to bring it to the guest.  Wiping sweat off the forehead with a handkerchief, the guest greeted and thanked me for my hard work.  Watching the guest enjoying the cold green tea so deliciously was my happy moment. "My mission is done."

When I think of summer, this is one of my favorite childhood memories.

It is very easy to make cold green tea and you can use the loose leaf or teabags you already have.  Brew it very dark first and immediately add iced water. This is the key point of making delicious cold green tea. Choose from our wide selections.  Enjoy!

Friday, May 11, 2012

We Value FB Fans!!

Sugimoto America values Facebook fans. 15% discount coupon for your next online purchase is exclusively offered to you once you become a fan.

Don't forget to be a fan before you place a next order!


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

The Rare Hand-rolled Japanese Green Tea - Temomi Shin Cha

At our tea factory in Shizuoka, one of the most premium seasonal green teas, "Temomi Shin Cha" , was just produced. We want to share the photos of making Temomi Shin Cha with you.  

Temomi Shin Cha is one of the most premium and rare Japanese green teas. The word “Temomi” means hand-rolled. From the meticulous picking of the best young tea leaves to the final process of kneading the leaves to fine needles, the whole practice is done by the hands of elite Temomi masters.

Making Temomi Shin Cha requires a considerable amount of time from practitioners of great skill and experience. A method used in Japan centuries ago, the Temomi technique is vanishing due to the adoption of today’s machines to mass-produce tea.

Here at Sugimoto America, we undertake the responsibility of preserving this traditional art to provide you this precious tea.
  • The flavor is thick, dense, and intense, but without an edge 
  • An amazing aftertaste like none other 
  • The tea takes an elegant clear-green hue 
  • Because of its profound flavor, Temomi Shin Cha is consumed in small amounts, very much akin to enjoying a rich and strong flavored espresso
Here's the photos of making Temomi Shin Cha 2012.
Temomi Masters
Farmers picking the green tea buds

Crucial steaming process

Temomi Masters carefully and gently drying the tea leaves

Temomi master rolling the leaves into very fine rolls 
like needles without breaking them.

Traditionally Temomi masters leave a circle in the center. 
It symbolizes the tea leaves is at the final drying phase.

Temomi Shin Cha of 2012 Completed

Due to its rarity and exclusiveness, the availability is limited. 
To purchase this premier tea, please go to our online store. 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Today's Picture of Our Tea Field

Harvest for Shin Cha (new tea) will take place soon and we want to share the current picture our tea filed.

We are very excited to see the tea trees are putting out their new buds covering the whole tea field with beautiful green.  You can see the transformation from the pictures.




Tea leaves cannot be picked when they are wet because it will affect the steaming process and eventually the flavor of green tea. Within a couple of days if the weather is good and the tea leaves are ready for the harvest, our farmers will start picking the very first buds. 

Your Shin Cha is coming to you soon!

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Seasonal Green Tea Limited Offer

Here it comes!  Shin Cha season is here again!

Just like the last year, we are now accepting the pre-orders of  the seasonal green tea "Shin Cha 2012".

We offer three kinds of Shin Cha: Temomi Shin Cha, Hashiri Shin Cha, and Hachiju Hachiya Shin Cha.
Please go to our Shin Cha page to learn details.
Due to its exclusiveness, availability is limited.
Reserve you Shin Cha at our online store!


Below is the current view of our tea field.
Buds are slowly growing and waiting to come out.  Because of the cold spring, the harvest could be delayed a little. Soon the field will be covered with vibrant green.  Stay tuned with our updates photos!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

My Little Armor - Benifuki Powder

One sunny day in Seattle, which doesn't happen often, I went out for a short walk.
Warm breeze, lots of sunlight, birds chirping... it was indeed a pleasant walk.  Until....
 Yes, my body started having allergic reaction.

By the time I returned home, my eyes were itchy, bloody red and swollen. I looked like a different person.
I didn't know what my body was particularly reacting to, but I knew the moment Spring has arrived.

So I took one stick of Benifuki Powder mixed in 4oz hot water.  I just lied down in sofa feeling so tired after the parade of sneezing.  Then, after a little while, all my symptoms were somewhat relieved.

It does not totally alleviate itchiness and congestion, but I can tell it always works for me.

Benifuki is another type of green tea cultivar developed by the National Institute of Vegetable and Tea Science of Japan (NIVTS) in 1993. Benifuki gained attention for its high content of O-methylated Catechin and effectiveness against allergy symptoms. It has become a very poplar item in Japan especially during the hay fever season.

If you want to go more natural other than taking synthetic drug to fight against allergies, try Benifuki Powder.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

What Comes Out of Faucet in Shizuoka

“Did you know green tea comes out of faucets at school in Shizuoka?” 

Kyohei said when we were just chatting about our childhood in Japan. “Sure. Sure.” I cynically responded because I thought Kyohei was just joking.

OMG, he was NOT joking!
Look at these photos. Kids are enjoying green tea from the faucets whenever they want.

Shizuoka prefecture is worldly known as the “Green Tea Capital”; I wouldn’t be surprised if people of Shizuoka drink green tea like water, but this?! Really?
Green Tea Haven, Green Tea Mecca, Green Tea Capital… whatever it is; Shizuoka knocked my socks off!

Schools are also encouraging students to gargle with green tea. I thought this is an awesome idea and wish we could do the same in the states. The numerous studies show green tea gargling prevents cold and flu, even cavities. Kyohei, now 30’s, who grew up in Shizuoka drinking tons of green tea, never had cavities in his life. He told me even his parents and siblings rarely see a dentist.

By the way, February is National Children’s Dental Health Month.  Moms, shall we start packing a bottle of green tea in our kid’s lunch bag? :-)

If you want to read one of the recent studies of green tea effects, go to: