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torakris

Japanese foods-- ocha

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I love the tea I've had at a Japanese restaurant in the D.C. area. I don't know much about ocha, but it has a flavor that reminds me of the little toasted things in Ochazuke. From the link you posted, I am guessing that the tea is Genmaicha, and the little toasted things are Genmai. Thanks - I've been wondering for years! It is quite different from the varieties my mother used.

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Gyukuru is the most amazing tea I've ever tasted. It is a seasonal item, and limited quantities are produced every year. In the past only the royal family had access to it. Very costly.

A small cup is enough. The first time I had it, my friend served me a tiny cup and I thought "how stingy", but the one tiny cup was incredibly potent and the flavour explosive. The initial taste was not tea-like at all, more like seaweed and a smokey yet fresh green aroma. The second cup was lighter in taste and still richer and more complex than ordinary green tea.


Edited by tonkichi (log)

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mugicha is my staple through out the summer, though I am not a big green tea drinker (I have none in my house) I love getting a cup at someone's house or some place of business.

Last week I took my car in for inspection (need to be done every other year) and I was sitting in this old run down auto shop office, the smell of grease everywhere, when a cup of steaming green tea was set in front of me.

Only in Japan! :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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When my husband first tried Mugicha, he was convinced that it was liquefied shredded wheat. I was pleasantly surprised over the weekend when I noticed that he poured himself a glass - knowing full well what it was. . . It seems to have finally grown on him. :smile:

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I wish I read this thread earlier! I received some gyokuro tea as a souviner yesterday and decided to try it last night. I followed the directions that came with the tea but I must have misread because I used the regular amount of water. So the tea was really weak and not at all special. I'll try it again tonight properly- thanks for the link!

I didn't like mugicha at first either, but it's grown on me. My favourite (hot) tea is genmai-cha, and I also love soba-cha (not really a tea, I think it's just roasted buckwheat) and houji-cha.

But cold green tea is the best!


My eGullet foodblog: Spring in Tokyo

My regular blog: Blue Lotus

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I just ran a cross a black bean tea here today.

Anyone every try this?

any other bean teas?


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I couldn't decide whether to post this here or in the beverage forum, but here I am...

I was having a discussion about tea yesterday and someone mentioned a particular way of brewing tea. The leaves are first steeped for about 30 seconds but that steeping is thrown out. Then the leaves are steeped again and this second steeping is the one that is served.

I vaguely remember my co-workers making tea this way in Japan, but only with one type of tea. I think it was kukicha--can anyone confirm this? Or is it another type of tea? Hojicha perhaps?

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the chinese do this with tea also. my assumption (educated guess) is this first batch of water is to "open" the tea leaves and allow the flavors to come out nicely. it also heats up the pot. it could also get rid of some impurities on the surface of the tea. i don't think it would hurt to do this with every tea, except of course green tea powder :blink: .

also, a good rule of thumb when drinking expensive teas is to boil the water and then let it cool for a minute or two...you don't want to "shock" the leaves. most good tea places use the water only at certain (again, uneducated) temperatures for certain amounts of time on the leaves.

there's a really nice book out there called "the art of tea" (i just looked on amazon and there are about 300 books with this in the title, so i could be wrong :wacko: ). anyway, it just shows me how much i need to study tea!

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I know the double brewing is usually done with kukicha, sencha and genmaicha, though I am not sure about bancha or hojicha (I have never seen it done for these two).

Usually the first "brew" last 30 to 60 seconds, is drained out and then new water added for a very short time about 10 seconds in the case of kukicha and for genmai cha it is recommended to pour into the cup as soon as you have finished adding the water.

For those that are unfamiliar with it, kukicha is known as "twig tea" as it is made from the twigs taken from the prunings of the tea plant, these are roasted to bring out their flavor and then added to a small amount of greeen tea leaves.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I know the double brewing is usually done with kukicha, sencha and genmaicha, though I am not sure about bancha or hojicha (I have never seen it done for these two).

Thanks! There was another woman in the conversation who lived in Japan for 20+ years, and she doubted my double brewing story so I needed to come up with the varieties. I've never seen genmaicha double brewed, though. My co-worker always served it straight--could it be out of laziness (not necessarily laziness, but perhaps lack of time)?

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the chinese do this with tea also. my assumption (educated guess) is this first batch of water is to "open" the tea leaves and allow the flavors to come out nicely. it also heats up the pot. it could also get rid of some impurities on the surface of the tea. i don't think it would hurt to do this with every tea, except of course green tea powder :blink: .

Actually, the conversation was initially about Chinese tea. One person was reading the instructions for brewing the tea our tai chi group sells (Po Lei) and expressed her surprise about the double brewing method. She had never heard of it before so I told my Japanese tea anecdote to explain that it wasn't an uncommon brewing method. Your explanation for why it's done makes a lot of sense. I'll pass it on to them, too. It sounds like it might also apply to the number of brewings. Subsequent brewings allow different flavours and aromas to shine through :unsure: ?

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There is a book called "The Chinese Art of Tea" by John Blofeld on gongfu-cha or sennin-cha. Sennin-cha is a much more convivial form of tea ceremony.


"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

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I was at the supermarket yesterday and I stopped to pick up some genmaicha teabags :shock: and I started looking at all the different teas and every different pack that I saw that listed instructions had the double brewing method.

I have to admit I am a coffee drinker and rarely brew teas at home but from now on I am going to pay more attention when I go out! :biggrin: I know my MIL doesn't double brew but that is just laziness on her part.


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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i'll have to take a look at some of these books.

my mom sometimes imports tea and sells it in her shop in honolulu, so she knows much more about it than i do. when she sent me a care package with tea in it she wrote little notes on the different teas that were so cute...

"new green tea: a tea spoon full, boil water, cool down (fold a couple of times), not too long in water, when tea still green, after taste sweet, good drinking daily"

(english is not her mother tongue!)

so, you don't have to double boil all teas, like the new green teas...but she has shown me other varieties which do need that treatment.

anyway, this is an interesting thread. is there anyone else out there who knows something about tea who could give us some other tidbits?

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I am enjoying a wonderful cup of genmai-cha this morning! :biggrin:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I don't smoke, but I'm a heavy green-tea drinker.

I drink kuki-cha (literally "stalk" tea). It's very refreshing.

I buy it regularly from I-chi-ka-wa-en (市川園).

http://www.ichikawaen.co.jp/

(Sorry, entirely in Japanese.)

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my favorite noodle shop always serves this wonderful soba-cha, a tea made out of buckwheat groats. I picked some up today, this particular type is made with Tartar buckwheat and contains 100 times more rutin than normal soba.

I wasn't even sure what rutin was :blink: but I found this:

http://dreampharm.com/zrutin.asp

The product I purchased looks like this:

i5355.jpg


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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1) Husband and I like kukicha best of all the green teas. We used to like a horribly expensive type called "karigane". Then we had kids...

2)Mugicha. Anybody got any great ideas about what to do with the discarded mugi if you make your mugicha from loose roasted barley, and not teabags? 6 liters worth of mugicha per day in summer produces an awful lot of soggy wet barley.

3) Just to throw a spanner in the works...I heard that a green tea version of chai was popular in the US, so when I was back in New Zealand, I just had to try it. I liked the Healtheries version, which is gingery, and posted packs to all my friends in Japan as a novelty. It took off like a house on fire! They all wanted more (and have never been terribly interested in other herb or specialty teas).

...so...unable to buy the Healtheries tea online, I ordered a green tea chai from the US. It was totally different -- intended to be drunk with milk, an Indian type green tea base, and heavily spiced with cinnamon. It wasn't as popular, probably because the tea flavor was less evident, and because cinnamon is much less used than ginger here.

Anybody ever seen flavored green teas here in Japan of the type popular in western countries in recent years?

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1) Husband and I like kukicha best of all the green teas. We used to like a horribly expensive type called "karigane". Then we had kids...

2)Mugicha. Anybody got any great ideas about what to do with the discarded mugi if you make your mugicha from loose roasted barley, and not teabags? 6 liters worth of mugicha per day in summer produces an awful lot of soggy wet barley.

1) The kukicha brand I drink is はつくら (Hatsukura), which is 480 yen per 100 grams. Most of our guests mistake it for 1,000+ yen, regular-type green tea.

2) I'm surprised that you still use that type. I used to hate teabags, but I started to use them after I learned that I could get the same flavor and taste from teabags simply by boiling the water first and then putting a teabag. Do you have any special reasons why you stick to that type?


Edited by Hiroyuki (log)

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Would it be too entirely off-topic to describe the tea ceremony from beginning to end?

Soba

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Would it be too entirely off-topic to describe the tea ceremony from beginning to end?

Soba

I would if I really knew more about it. :biggrin:

Look here for a step by step explanaition:

http://www.welcome.to/chanoyu


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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3) Just to throw a spanner in the works...I heard that a green tea version of chai was popular in the US, so when I was back in New Zealand, I just had to try it. I liked the Healtheries version, which is gingery, and posted packs to all my friends in Japan as a novelty. It took off like a house on fire! They all wanted more (and have never been terribly interested in other herb or specialty teas).

...so...unable to buy the Healtheries tea online, I ordered a green tea chai from the US. It was totally different -- intended to be drunk with milk, an Indian type green tea base, and heavily spiced with cinnamon. It wasn't as popular, probably because the tea flavor was less evident, and because cinnamon is much less used than ginger here.

Anybody ever seen flavored green teas here in Japan of the type popular in western countries in recent years?

I am not really a huge tea drinker, especially hot teas and green teas, I enjoy drinking them but never make them....

I have never looked for flavored green teas but I will keep my eyes open.

At least you got your neighbors hooked on something good, I have my whole neighborhood begging for Nestea (pre-sweetened, lemon flavor) powdered mix. Our last trip to Costco and we came back with 7 (5lb) canisters of it... :shock:


Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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