Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Mellow Monk on Now Serving Tea

Mellow Monk is the featured entry today on the wonderful website Now Serving Tea.


The Monk's site and Now Serving Tea are both dedicated to maximizing tea happiness.


—Mellow Monk

 

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Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Monk presents a new tea — Crimson Grove, black tea made from green tea varietals

As previously sneak-previewed, Mellow Monk has added a new tea to our lineup — Crimson Grove, a black tea (kocha, or "crimson tea").


What makes Crimson Grove special, however, is that it's made from leaves from green tea varietals — and that the leaves are only lightly fermented after harvest.


Crimson Grove's deeply dark leaves yield a caramel-brown brew with a light sweetness combined with a smoky lusciousness, with overtones of nutmeg. This unexpectedly delicious combination must be tasted to be believed.


And once you taste it, we are sure you will want to keep tasting it over and over again.



What was known in Asia as "crimson tea" — from the color of the brew — was dubbed "black tea" by the British from the color of the leaves.


—Mellow Monk

 

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Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Green tea wedding

A chakonshiki is a traditional Japanese wedding ceremony that incorporates elements of the tea ceremony.


If the happy couple is not already familiar with the tea ceremony, they must practice with a tea master for months ahead of the event.


Deciding on a chakonshiki is thus a serious commitment (as is marriage itself), but surely the results are worth it.



The four elements required for the tea ceremony — wakei seijaku [和敬清寂] (harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility) — are all in place.


—Mellow Monk

 

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Monday, November 22, 2010

Friday, November 19, 2010

Green tea soup and matcha crispy rice treats

Green tea is a truly versatile ingredient in the kitchen.


For instance, for dinner you could have a lovely green tea soup, followed by matcha brown butter crispy rice treats for dessert.


The soup recipe calls for 8 tea bags of genmaicha, but instead you can simply brew a largish-sized pot of loose-leaf genmaicha.


And instead of black cod, you could substitute any white fish — or even chicken for that matter. Experimenting is an important part of cooking, and we would love to hear about any variations you come up with.





—Mellow Monk

 

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Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Aso Shrine in autumn

An acquaintance in Aso sent us this recent photo of ancient Aso Jinja, which is less than a mile from one of our main grower–artisan's tea fields, in the shadow of the majestic volcano that gives the region its name.



No mere historical relic, the shrine is a vibrant part of the local community.


—Mellow Monk

 

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Monday, November 15, 2010

A customer's amazing tea ware collection

Mellow Monk customer Jean-Frédéric of France sent us this photo of his wonderful collection of chadougu.


Jean-Frédéric says the tea ware was made by Yamada So [second from the top], grandson of the late Yamada Jozan III, a Tokoname-yaki potter and a former Living National Treasure.

All these items are made by yakishime, wood-fired in an anagama kiln.



A truly lovely, mellow space for enjoying tea — and your tea time — to its fullest. But let us remember that the key to a fulfilling, invigorating green tea break is your attitude going in, not your equipment.


—Mellow Monk

 

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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Aso sunflower

A relation sent in this just-taken photograph of a sunflower against a blue sky in Aso.





—Mellow Monk

 

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Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Our garden's harvest

I am posting this a little late, but here is a shot of an August harvest from our humble little garden.



Tomatoes, apples, and pears — oh my! (And bell peppers, too.)


—Mellow Monk

 

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Sunday, November 07, 2010

World's most incredible tea pourer

If you aspire to be the world's best pourer of tea, you first have to best this young man.


And as they say, do not try this at home:





—Mellow Monk

 

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Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Flavors of West Japan: part 6 (last): Mellow Monk tea growers in action

We finally arrive at the last segment of the Channel 4 documentary "Flavors of West Japan." This is the segment that features Mellow Monk tea growers, the Nagatas, who were chosen to represent all of Kyushu.


While husband Koji tends the tea fields, his lovely wife Miho shows us how to brew green tea properly.


We are also treated to sights of Mt. Aso and the surrounding hillside, which the narrator describes as resembling the European Alps. See for yourself:





This video is also available YouTube. You can also check out previous segments of the documentary.


—Mellow Monk

 

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