Here in California and along the Pacific Northwest, wildfires continue to rage, consuming everything in sight and leaving the air heavy with smoke. Over the weekend, Typhoon Haishen passed through Japan, disrupting travel and shipments (including September's shipment of matcha, which is luckily unharmed). It can sometimes feel as if the world is ending, and yet, we awake with new ideas and perspectives each day. Life continues on.
Today is Chōyō no Sekku, an auspicious day in Japan because of the date's doubles 9s (9/9). Freshly cut chrysanthemums—an autumn flower—are displayed in homes and worn on clothing as a symbol of good fortune. The day also symbolizes the changing of the seasons and beginning of autumn.
Ikebana arrangement, Mayu Arai
On to tea things. I began carrying these hand-lacquered Kotodo tea tins mostly out of my own need, as I was having trouble keeping green tea fresh. I have found that oolongs, black teas and herbals can hold their aroma and flavor when left out on your counter; green teas, on the other hand, simply cannot. Leave a tablespoon of green tea uncovered overnight and you will find that it entirely loses its aroma and sweetness.
Green teas are also very sensitive to light and heat. I have a small shelf (away from my oven/stove) that I store my many tea tins. These tea tins make for good, long-term storage and travel well too. I would suggest the 100g tin for green teas and the 200g tin for storing large leaf teas such as oolongs or hōjicha. They can also be used for storing matcha in the fridge.
Another method I recommend is to purchase your green teas in small quantities and drink it soon! Unlike wine or roasted teas (oolongs, blacks), green teas do not age and are best drunk fresh.
New Youtube Video
As part of our endeavors while we are virtual, I would like to present our first Youtube video: a How to Make Ceremonial Matcha. I also included tips about caring for your matcha. I hope to create more videos that share information that I would explain during a tea tasting. I hope you enjoy!
Have you tried Matcha, Seihō 2020 yet? It has a sweet aroma and smooth texture, with a balance of freshness and a strong amount of umami, but not so much that one wants to save it for special occasions. And for those new to this newsletter, please read about our matcha sourcing philosophy here.
If you have any questions about our teas, please email firstname.lastname@example.org—I would love to help. (We also have a new website design that hopefully is easier to navigate!)
Stay safe and well,
"Each flower is small and lovely, but in their sheer and silent abundance the roses become an immutable force, as though the work of the wild roses was to make sure that all of us, who come wandering over the sand, may be, for a while, struck to the heart and saturated with a simple joy. Let the mind be teased by such stretches of the imagination, by such balance."
—Mary Oliver, Owls and Other Fantasies: Poems and Essays