Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
If there's anything we can do to help, please let us know.
Monday, August 29, 2005
Here are some pictures of a spring in Aso, Japan, only a few miles from the tea estate of the Nagata Family, our growers. The sign in the picture reads "Teno no Meisui" (手野の名水), or "Famous Water of Teno." (Teno is the name of a district of Aso.)
It doesn't look like much, but the spring water that issues out of the crack in the mountain there is truly delicious. And it's free. Of course, commercial operations aren't allowed to hook up a siphon, but individuals can come with their own containers and take some of this delicious water home.
The water here tastes better than any water I've ever had. Some of the bottled water available nowadays isn't bad, either, and green tea brewed with this kind of water will taste so much better than if it's brewed with water right out of the tap.
If you've been brewing your Mellow Monk green tea with tap water, try this test: Brew your tea with bottled water (or even filtered tap water) for, say, one week. Then, try a cup or pot of tea brewed with tap water again. I think you'll taste and smell the difference.
After all, water is the life blood of green tea!
Saturday, August 27, 2005
Friday, August 26, 2005
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Instructions for Brewing Green Tea with the Tea Filters
- Pull open the top of the filter pouch.
- Place your Mellow Monk green tea inside.
- Holding the filter with both hands, insert the tips of your thumbs into the outside flap just above the narrow horizontal strip.
- Push in the top corners and turn the flap portion inside-out, so that the flap covers the top opening and now lies on the other side of the filter.
- Tear either end of the narrow horizontal strip on the outside of the filter. (This strip is for pulling the filter out of the teacup or teapot once the tea is finished brewing. If you are brewing tea in a teapot, you can skip this step and drop the entire tea filter, strip and all, into the pot.)
- Place the tea filter into hot water, leaving the end of the narrow strip hanging over the side of your cup.
- When the tea is finished brewing, remove the filter by holding it by the narrow strip.
- Enjoy your tea!
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
(A quesadilla is the same concept as a burrito but with the tortilla folded in half and fried in a pan until the exterior's crisp and the interior is warm.)
Here's the recipe:
You need: half a block of tofu, 3 eggs, two flour tortillas.
- Cut a half-block of tofu into small, roughly quarter- to half-inch cubes, and beat the three eggs in a bowl.
- Fry the tofu cubes for 2-3 minutes in a frying pan on medium heat.
- Add the egg batter to the pan.
- Stirring frequently, cook until you end up with ... what looks like scrambled eggs with a bunch of cubed tofu in it.
- Move the eggs and tofu temporarily to a plate or bowl.
- Fold the two tortillas in half and place edge-to-edge (so you can fry both at the same time).
- Fry until crispy, then flip over and repeat.
- If you like, add salt & pepper, hot sauce, or salsa, etc. (usually inside the quesadilla, but some prefer outside).
- Wash it down with a mug of freshly brewed Mellow Monk iced green tea. (See brewing instructions near the bottom of this page.)
Feeds: 2 normal human beings (or) 1 Mellow Monk
Who says Mellow Monk can't post recipes to his blog? (Replies a heckler: "Only people who've tried one of the recipes"! [rimshot])
As the saying goes, what will they think up next?
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The reason why the Nagata family, our tea supplier, doesn't use nitrogen flushing is twofold: it's an expensive proposition for a small, family-run farm. And it's not necessary in the first place, because of the speed with which Mellow Monk tea is processed after harvest, packaged, and shipped to the consumer. Here is some of what I wrote in my response:
I honestly doubt that the absence of nitrogen flushing (which didn't exist in the first 2,000 years of tea history) is too much of a detriment to our tea. After all, our tea is vacuum sealed on site and doesn't sit in warehouses as it makes its way from one broker to another. We buy it right from the grower, and so our customers get our tea a lot more quickly after harvest than is the case with most other green tea retailers, I believe.
Nitrogen flushing might make more sense for a large-scale operation in which the tea sits in warehouses for months. But that isn't our operation at all. Great tea bought straight from the source -- that is our secret for freshness!
Sunday, August 14, 2005
You don't need to click any special buttons while ordering to get free shipping. Shipping is automatically deducted when the order total exceeds $25.
Friday, August 12, 2005
"Awa Odori" (阿波踊り) literally means "Awa Dance," "Awa" being the old name for the Tokushima region. This festival is held every year as part of the celebrations of Obon, one of the most important Japanese holidays of the year. The holiday began as a Buddhist ceremony to honor the spirits of deceased ancestors, but, being one of the few holidays in old Japan when most Japanese were excused from work and school, it gradually evolved into a long holiday weekend for family reunions.
Obon is celebrated at different times of the year in different parts of Japan. In Aso, where Mellow Monk gets its tea, the Obon celebration is going on this weekend.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Incidentally, in the Japan of yore, all sorts of magical powers were ascribed to foxes and other animals deemed crafty. Nowadays such beliefs have all but faded away and exist only in animated films or as the sort of statement that gets an old grandpa laughed at by his grandkids. ("Don't go out at night, or a fox will deceive you!" "Oh, grandpa, give me a break." Or maybe the kid should say, "Grandpa, that's a real mayutsubamono."
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
Thursday, August 04, 2005
(Below is a photo of a real rickshaw taken by famous Swiss photographer Werner Bischof.)
(Before you get too interested in the film, I should warn you that no English-subtitled or dubbed version is available in the U.S. But with more and more obscure films being released on DVD, hopefully the day is not far off when it will be.)
In the film, a poor rickshaw driver, Matsugoro (Mifune), called Matsu for short, befriends a rich customer who is taken by Matsugoro’s plain-speaking, affable personality and his optimistic outlook on his own standing in life and on things in general. Matsu is even invited to the rich man’s home, which in those days was unheard of. (When was the last time you invited your taxi driver to dinner?)
Soon, however, the man falls ill and dies. But Matsu remains friends with his widow, Yoshiko, and their son. To the son, Toshio, he’s like a father, attending school events and visiting often to encourage him and make sure he doesn’t grow up feeling abandoned. He gushes praise on Toshio for every accomplishment. (There’s a comical scene where Matsu stops his rickshaw, with a customer on board, to help Toshio fly a kite, while the enraged customer jumps up and down in the distant background.) Yoshiko deeply appreciates everything that Matsu does for her son.
Yoshiko, by the way, is classy, warm, and beautiful. But she can’t forget her late husband, whose picture she prays to daily. And she’s oblivious to the romantic feelings that Matsu eventually develops for her. Can you see where this is going?
Yes it’s corny, but it’s still a good movie. It’s got Toshiro Mifune, in his prime, in an over-the-top performance as fun-loving, hard-fighting, life-loving rickshaw driver who is also tragically resigned to his own fate. What more can you ask for in a film?
Tuesday, August 02, 2005
P.S. My previous posting was the 100th posting on the Mellow Monk Green Tea Blog.