Saturday, April 30, 2011

The tea garden that began a life's journey with tea

Peter G., in Amarillo, TX, sent this to share with all of you:

You ask when I first "met" tea. Well, when I was a youngin' in the mid- to late 1970s, my mom would take my bro and me to the Japanese Tea Garden in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. Inside was a tea house, where kimono-clad women would serve green tea, rice crackers, and fortune cookies.

(That's right — fortune cookies. It may seem incongruous now, but it didn't then, and now it turns out the Tea Garden served the first fortune cookies of which there is evidence in the U.S.)

At home in those days, I had no interest in the black tea that my parents' occasionally drank, but for some reason, I would drink the Tea Garden's green tea. Perhaps because of the fancy presentation ... or because it was the only beverage my mother ordered.

I remember the tea's wonderful green color and clean, subtle flavor, with a nutty aroma. (I'm pretty sure the green tea served was genmaicha. Or I at least drank genmaicha there a couple of time.)

The tea house was open on the sides, so you could look out onto the garden and the pond as you sipped your tea [see photo]. Even then, I realized that the garden was a special place. And my bro and I had a blast climbing the high-arched moon bridge, too.

Thirty years later, I am absolutely hooked on tea, and I'm convinced that my experiences at the Tea Garden got me started on the right foot.

Today, I am enjoying your green tea immensely. It really takes me back to those fond days. Thanks for the great tea, and for the memories!

You are most welcome, Peter. I'm glad that tea garden path eventually led you to us.

—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Update on our growers

Our growers are all fine. Their tea estates are located over 800 miles away from Sendai, in Kumamoto. In fact, other than Chiran (located another 100 miles or so to the south), the Kumamoto region is probably the farthest tea-growing region from the nuclear site.

Also, our artisanal growers use only locally made materials in the fields, so there is no risk at all of contamination through that route, either.

In addition, the disasters have not disrupted the growers' tea estate operations in any way.

If anything, there could be an increased demand for their tea, precisely because it is far enough from the Sendai region (whereas the well-known Shizuoka region is relatively close) to have escaped both contamination and infrastructure disruption. We do not, however, foresee any shortages just yet.

Thank you for your concern, everyone.

The water wheel at Asobo no Sato, in Minami Aso.

Another shot of beautiful Minamiaso ("South Aso").

—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

A temple founded by a mellow, tea-loving monk

Below are some photos of Enryakuji Temple, located on Mt. Hiei, near Kyoto.

The temple — actually a complex of many separate temples — was established by the Japanese monk Saicho, who is said to be one of the first to bring green tea to Japan, over a thousand years ago.

In fact, Mellow Monk takes its name from Saicho, reflecting our dedication to the same spirit of proselytizing the goodness of green tea.

Saicho promoted a special beverage that was largely unknown outside of its native China. We seek to promote special green tea crafted by grower-artisans who are largely unknown outside of their local markets in Kyushu.

Saicho set out on a long, difficult journey for his tea, but today, Mellow Monk does the legwork for you.

And now, on with the show.

—Mellow Monk


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Monday, April 11, 2011

Back in stock

An unexpected surge in tea-buying had left our stocks depleted, but we just received a nice big, fresh shipment, and all of our teas are now back in stock.

For those who were waiting, thank you very much for your patience.

—Mellow Monk


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Kumamoto Caste with blooming sakura

A friend in Kumamoto just sent us this photo of the beautiful cherry blossoms around Kumamoto Castle.

—Mellow Monk


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Thursday, April 07, 2011

Making mellow tea — a video

Brewing green tea is not just a task towards an end but a ritual in itself — a ritual for relaxing and getting in the mood to enjoy your green tea to its fullest. Here is a short little video (YouTube, Vimeo) to inspire you during your own green tea break.

—Mellow Monk


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