If you connect with me on social media, you'd know I've recently just returned from a trip to Japan for my daughter's wedding. An absolutely perfect time filled with emotions as you watch your beautiful grown-up offspring officially tie the knot. Apart from being a personal trip, my Japanese connections have also taken me to visit some of the most original tea plantations in Japan.
Trip to the Japanese Greens it was astounding to watch and be among the beautifully tailored plantations in the Wazuka region, south of Kyoto, where some of the best Japanese Sencha and Matcha come from. The farms are still small and family owned, and they choose to keep it that way, in order to maintain the exclusive high quality of their boutique level teas. I had the privilege of meeting and chatting with the farmers and watched how they harvested the teas with their hand held machines, that ensured only the youngest leaves are picked and blown into a collection bag without damaging the leaves.
Then we also had the privilege of experiencing a traditional Japanese Tea ceremony. It was lovely to be the guest instead of the host, as I do when conducting my Tea ceremonies at Tiny Tea Shop.
Check out September's post on Green Teas if you wish to learn more about the difference between China Greens and Japanese Sencha and Matcha. Notice how the Japanese tea plantations are pruned and shaped. Just like everything Japanese, they pride in training and precision. Not unlike their skills and traditions in the art of bonsai, gardening, flower arrangement, cloud pruning, martial arts, ceramics and tea ceremony. The list is endless.
Keeping everything controlled and concise partly because of the less availability of suitable terrains, as opposed to expansive tea terrains in large countries like India and China. Also, by controlling their compactness, it ensures that the tea plants can be precisely monitored to produce the exact quality of harvest. Japanese tea farmers and drinkers are discerning hence very precise in the standard of teas that they want. The history of teas trace way back to the Shogun and Samurai days.
On a quick note, I was also greatly surprised with the popularity of Japanese Hojicha. What is Hojicha? It's the roasted twigs and stems of the Sencha. As such it's non-caffeinated. Tastes divine, and it's a favourite brew in our household as an evening relaxing drink to wind down from the day. Like everything else Japanese, it's roasted green flavour fills your tastebuds with delight into relaxation. Complements well with all sorts of foods and cheeses too. Plus like matcha, works amazing when used in desserts and cakes. More on Hojicha in future blogs.
I'm very happy to say that Tiny Tea Shop now stocks a very small range of exceptionally high quality Japanese Sencha and Matcha that come from farms and farmers that I know live up to the quality that is the best. They are in the higher price range, but we also stock some excellent Japanese Sencha and Hojicha that are affordable. Chat with me if you're ever in the shop, or email me if you wish to order or have any queries.
Till next time, don't forget to check your tea pantry for needed refills. Click onto our Online Store or message me with your orders if the tea you want isn't yet on the online store.
This month also sees us into the countdown toward Christmas. What better than the gift of love through beautiful teas for the special people in your life who love teas! Stay posted for upcoming Christmas Specials.