Publicado el

Morimotos visit of Portugal

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

A dream became true: together with our main Japanese tea producer, Haruyo and Shigeru Morimoto, we conducted a tea tasting in the Casa de Chá (Teahouse) in Leça da Palmeira/Porto. This emblematic building of the Portuguese architect Álvaro Siza Vieira is build right on top of the rocky beach and makes you feel being part of the wild sea outside. As the architecture reminds very much of traditional Japanese tea houses, it is the perfect place to enjoy Japanese teas.

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We served a nice selection of the organic teas from Morimotos, starting with the comforting Bancha Yangicha (a tea with a natural low caffeine content). The extremely green colour and fresh tast of the Sencha with Matcha was a surprise for most of the guests, which have never seen such a really green tea. Than we prepared a surprise tea from a neighbor of the Morimoto: Kamairicha Kadocha limited edition. When last year we visited the Morimotos we went together to the neighbor to learn how to produce not steamed teas (Kamairicha). Contrasting to this complex tea with a full body  the next tea Shiraore represents the lightness of Japanese green teas. Shiraore is shaded tea (Kabuse) from the very first harvest. The very delicate and green little stems are selected together with the very fine leaves for this exceptional fresh tea.

IMG_6027 1200

The preparation of the GO EN in traditional ceramic teapots (Kyusu) was definitely on of the highlights of the tea tasting. These very simple, but at the same time very artistic, Kyusus do not to have stainless steel strainers and therefore do not alter the delicate flavours of the sensitive high quality teas like the GO EN. The GO EN is a type of Tamaryokucha (slightly curled tea produced the traditional, «old style» way), which was shaded for a long period and therefore has deep flavours with a lot of Umami. On top of such a high quality tea you can just serve a Matcha to complete a Japanese tea tasting. For the very first time we served the new Morimoto Matcha Gyokujou – a very fine Matcha quality with creamy texture. The base for this Matcha are the shaded leaves form the Okumidori tea plants, which give this Matcha a nice sweetness.

 IMG_6034 1200Morimoto Matcha was also used by the team of the restaurante Boa Nova of Chef Rui Paula, which after the tea tasting treated us with beautiful and tasty delicacies. Of course at this time we had to include some wines to accompany the dishes, but in the end we went back to have a refreshing Mizudashi (cold green tea).

A great honor for all of us was the participation of the Japanese Ambassador in Portugal, Hiroshi Azuma, and his secretary, Manabu Kanaya. It seems that both enjoyed the teas of the Morimotos, which made us all very happy.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The next morning we visited our little tea plantation together. We were lucky as the rain stopped right when we arrived at the farm. We had a good walk around and Haruyo and Shigeru Morimoto had a closer look at the older plants, which they had already seen one and a half years ago. Both had a good impression on the development and gave us some advices also for the plants we have just planted recently.

 

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

With us all stays the dream of  one day making good tea together here in Portugal… still we need some patience as the plants have to grow…. good things take their time

Publicado el

Visiting Shutaro Hayashi in Kirishima and having a wonderful tea tasting

We have to get up early in the morning. Saying good bye to the Morimotos is not easy, but they will stay in our hearts as they are.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Together with Tobias we drive the two hours to Kirishima, where we meet Shutaro Hayashi, the producer of our new Tennen Gyokuro. He receives us at the little tasting room in his families tea shop. He is the fifth generation of the family tea business and the first, who studied tea making. With great concentration he starts preparing teas for us.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

We taste several Senchas, he produces of the different tea bush varieties. His family does not make blends, but sells the different qualities separately. They send the teas for the final heating to a specialized company. In contrast to almost all other tea producers they leave out this last production process for the very first tea of the year (Shincha). It has a wonderful fresh taste and vibrant smell of the freshly picked tealeaves, but is not as stable as other teas. Therefore the Hayashis just sell it just for one month.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After several very elegant and complex green teas, Shutaro san prepares a very delicious and creamy Matcha from a friend with a teagarden nearby and in the end surprises us with a black tea (Koucha) produced by him from the Benifuki tea bushes, which has a wonderful flowery nose.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

After having lunch together we visit the teagarden, which has a big field with 100 year old Zairaishu plants, which in contrast to modern plants where grown out of seeds. These tea bushes are more robust and therefore get much older. As all the plants are a bit different they grow not homogeneously. It is not so easy to decide when to pick the leaves, as some plants are more and others less developed. The great diversity of different leave than is processed together to tea, which has a very own character.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On our way through the tea fields we meet a goat, which Shutaro san has bought with the idea to defend the weeds. As the goat also like the young tea leaves, he next wants to see if sheep could do the job. He is a smart guy, continuing the tradition of his family, but also trying to find his own new way.

Than we drive to Miyazaki, where we have to say good bye to Tobias, who will stay some more days with the Morimotos to help finish the first picking and to prepare the shipment of the teas. Dirk and me have a simple, but very delicious dinner. Tomorrow we will leave to Jeju Island in Korea. We are a bit sad to leave Japan, but we keep so many good memories of inspiring moments, which fore sure will stay with us for a long time.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Publicado el

Sakura jima volcano island and Sushi dinner with Morimotos

Finally we stayed the night on the little volcanic island Sakura jima close to Kagoshima. In the morning we wake up from the noise of rain. The still active volcano is hiding in the clouds and it’s not easy to distinguish between clouds and smoke. We decide to drive around the island and enjoy beautiful views on the Sakura volcano.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The islands vegetation in the far South of Japan is subtropical and after the rain the air is crystal clear… we see really beautiful details of Japanese daily life.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

Already back on the mainland we see trees along the road with something that at first sight seem to be white flowers. The closer look reveals that it is white plastic bags. Wondering what this could be, we stop to see that the women are selling. It is medlar, which we know very well from Portugal (nespras), but we never have seen them that beautiful as in Portugal they have almost always black spots and are a bit rotten. Here they are almost looking like apricots as the plastic bags protect them from rain and getting damaged. On top of that, they are really tasty. I am touched, of how carefully Japanese handle food.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Slowly we drive back to the Morimotos, which are welcoming us very warm. We are so happy to see them again. As today it was raining, they didn’t pick tea and therefore have time to go out with us for a sushi dinner. There is coming a lot of Sashimi, even more Nigiri and Maki Rolls and steamed fish. It is delicious and the whole Morimoto family and some of Haruyos Karaoke friends, which help at the teapicking, enjoys the delicious food in this relaxed atmosphere.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA