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Types of Japanese Tea

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In Japan, over 70% of people drink green tea daily, and 90% of people drink green tea more than once a week. As a result, the vast majority of tea produced in Japan are forms of green tea, with sencha being the most popular.  Within Japanese green tea, the subcultures distinguish themselves by region, terroir, cultivar, and processing methodology. Traditional Japanese tea continues to be produced in major tea growing regions such as Shizuoka, Fukuoka, Uji, and Mie; however, the growth of bottled tea—as well as an aging industry—threatens this breadth and volume of tea production. In particular, the rise of bottled tea has increased demand for...

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Mochi Pick-Up 🍡 & an Iced Tea Recipe

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Mochi! I am very excited to share the arrival of Tekuno's mochi program. As mentioned in my last letter, I have been testing mochi recipes throughout shelter-in-place; I have always wanted Tekuno to have a sweets program (here is an old mochi testing photo) but thought it might come later, once the retail shop was more established. Given we have so much time on our hands, now seems like the perfect time to try something new!A bit about the program: made by hand here in our Tekuno kitchen, the weekly selection will rotate regularly based on the freshest produce available...

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Kukicha: A Sip of Fresh Air

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Japanese teas are unique in that makers remove the leaf's stem as part of the crafting process; in comparison, high quality Chinese and Taiwanese teas will leave the stem and brew it as part of the tea. The reason is purely for aesthetics, as Japanese tea grading considers not only flavor but also appearance—the highest quality teas appear a uniform, deep green. In the final stages of steaming, rolling, and drying the leaves, the tea stems are removed and sorted out using static electricity (here is a video showing that process). Rather than discarding the stems, tea producers blend them into their own tea, often mixing different leaf...

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Beginning adventures 🧗🏻‍♀️

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Tasting gyokuro in Shizuoka, Japan Dear Friend, We begin our exploration of Japanese tea with a brief discussion of the types of tea grown in Japan. The vast majority—as much as 90%—of tea grown and consumed in Japan is green tea. This includes a subgenre of green teas that comprises 20 different "types," differing by region and processing style. In fact, the term for tea, お茶・ocha, almost always refers to green tea—more specifically, matcha. To refer to oolong or black tea, one must explicitly name it (ウーロン・ooron for oolongs, and 和紅茶・wakoucha for black tea).The most common types of Japanese green tea you may are already be...

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Spring turns to summer 🌸

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Arashiyama, Japan. 2014 Spring nears its end as quickly as it comes, making way for warm summer breezes, cold fingers balancing ice cold drinks, and the nostalgia of childhood summer vacations. In Japanese, there is a phrase: "行く春" or fading of spring, and I cannot think of a sentiment that better captures this moment.As shelter-in-place continues for another month, I have been reflecting on the moments we have shared together over tea and what the future may look like.⁠The email that I had prepared for in March was titled, "You're invited: our retail shop opening!" While the timing was unfortunate, I...

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