Shizen Tea Blog

August 28, 2013


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How To Store Green Tea

For teas, it is very important that you store it in a proper way to enjoy the ever lasting best taste. If not stored properly, it may damage the teas and next time you will notice that the teas do not have the same taste or scent. 



The points that should be avoided are the following:

1. Humidity
Humidity stimulates oxidation of teas, as it will effect the leaf color, tea color, and the scent of the tea.

2. High Temperature
High Temperature stimulates the oxidation of Chlorophyll and Catechin, which effects the color of the teas.

3. Sun Light or any kind of light
Light stimulates the decomposition of Chlorophyll, which will also effect the color of the teas.

4. Oxygen
Oxygen stimulates the oxidation of Chlorophyll, Catechin, and Vitamin C, which will effect the taste.

5. Smell/fragrance of others
Tea has a strong deodorant efficacy so if you do not seal or close the package properly it will absorb many kind of smells and fragrance.


To avoid the above, please put your teas in a complete sealed environment and store at a cool dark place.
It will be the best to have it in a tea canister or put it in a aluminum package that has a seal. Also we recommend to put it in a refrigerator where it is isolated from strong scent produce and foods. For our ShiZen teas, it all comes with a aluminum package so you can simply seal it tightly and put it in a refrigerator with no worries. Also we do have tea canisters(its on special sale right now:)) too, that will do the job the best.

We really hope you enjoy your teas. If there is any questions please feel free to ask. Thank you:)

August 23, 2013


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Region Study: Shizuoka Tea

Japanese tea differs a lot by its regions. Of course all teas in Japan regardless of the region they all make wonderful teas. Depending on the region the taste and there character will vary so understanding the regions is also a very important factor for understanding Japanese teas.Today I would like to talk about the Shizuoka Prefecture. Shizuoka Prefecture is the largest tea plantation area in Japan, producing 40% of the teas that are made in Japan. It is considered one of the “Big Threes(1.Uji Kyoto, 2.Shizuoka, and 3.Sayama)” in Japan. Kyoto is the place with the longest tea history and Shizuoka would be the next.


Start of Shizuoka Teas
Shizuoka tea started in 1214, when Buddhist Monk, Shouichi Kokushi, came back from China bringing back the seeds of teas. They have planted in the region called the Honyama, also called Ashikubo. So Ashikubo-cha is a famous tea in Japan that is considered the start of Shizuoka Teas.


8 Major Regions
Shizuoka has 8 major tea regions, each having its own character and specialty. We will not go over every region but would like to go over some that I personally think should be remembered at this time.The “Makinohara Area”, this area is considered the largest tea plantation area in Japan. Where ever you go all you see is Teas Teas and Teas!



The “Honyama Area” is the region that the Shizuoka Tea has started. This region has steep hills and tea machines are difficult to maneuver on the hills so many farmers take care and pick the teas by hand. This is where our product ShiZen Pesticide-Free Green Tea Powder is coming from!Also the “Kawane Area” is the area that our ShiZen Organic Green Tea comes from, so please remember that!
Loved by the Shogun, Tokunaga
It is a famous story that Shogun Tokunaga loved the teas from Shizuoka(Ashikubo Tea). The green tea that was served to Shogun was not a regular sencha but tencha, the leaves that are used to make Matcha. In other words, tea leaves that are grown under the shade before its harvest. After he have retired from Shogun later in his life, he has moved to Shizuoka and enjoyed his time drinking teas.Yes, Shizuoka is a place that is filled with history of teas. As mentioned, this area is the place that produces 40% of the Japanese teas, where every you go you will always see a tea farm:) Next time we would like to go over Kagoshima. Kagoshima is a place that also makes amazing teas.
Thank you for reading!
August 19, 2013


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History Of Japanese Tea - Part 1 -

To understand the history and where your tea comes from is very important. Why? Because it makes it simply more fun and interesting when drinking the teas. If we go really deep into this topic it will be like a 100 page report so I would like to briefly go over the big picture and go over the main topics and events. I would like to break down the Japanese tea history into the following 3 parts:
1. Start of Japanese Tea
2. Start of Matcha Green Tea Powder
3. Development of Japanese Tea (Tea Ceremony)
Today we would like to start off from:
1.Start of Japanese Tea
The start of Japanese Tea was in the Heian period (AD794-1185). It was said that the Buddhist monks (Kukai, Saicho, and Eichu) who went to study to China brought back the tea seeds and the tea culture with them.
a) Eichu serves the tea to Emperor Saga
The very first record that was left was when the Buddhist Monk Eichu brought back the tea seed from China and served the Emperor Saga a cup of tea on AD815 . This is the official record that is considered the very first start of Japanese tea in Japan. So almost 1,200 years ago the tea that came from China started the tea history in Japan. 
b) Type of teas that was served to Emperor Saga
The tea that was served to Emperor Saga has two theories. 
One is the “Hei Cha”, a type of Chinese tea that is steamed and is harden and dried into a circular pattern. Since Emperor Saga admired the Chinese Culture and had tried to incorporate many cultures from China, at that time Hei Cha was popular in China so some think that it may have been this tea that was served. The other is a tea that was infused like Sencha, there were some poetry(Kanshi) that had some record that tea was infused, but unfortunately we have no record that can classify what kind of tea was used. 
c) Tea was made in the Imperial Court
Emperor Saga loved the teas and decided to make a tea gardens and do tea processing inside the Imperial Court. Also tea was served in the main events in the Imperial Court called the Kinomidokyo. This event was a Buddhist service where priests were invited inside the Imperial Court in the spring and fall to selectively read Daihannyakyo (Great Perfection of Wisdom Sutra) to pray for the peace and security of the nation. The tea that was served was called “Hiki Cha”, which was a sweetened tea.Tea at this time was served to the high society royal families, and we are not sure if it was served to the people in general public. After this occasion there was not much written records left about teas until Eisai’s period(AD1191), the Monk who brought Matcha style tea from China. 

It is very interesting that Chinese and Japanese tea comes from the same root, but you can see now there is a big difference between them. Next time, we would like to talk about how the Matcha has started. Yes, how the powdered type teas started:) If there is any questions please feel free to ask anytime.
Thank you!
August 06, 2013


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Our farmers: Mr. Taruwaki

Usually in Japan, organic green tea is considered a little bitter than normal Japanese green tea. However, our organic green tea has a natural tea sweetness and a vegetative flavor that may taste even better than those normal Japanese green tea. That difference comes from simply the quality difference of the tea leaf, and the difference of tea leaf comes from the difference of the tea farms and farmers.Today I would like to give a simple introduction about our farmer, Mr. Taruwaki, that makes our teas difference from others.He is now over 60 years old and have been making teas for over 40 years. He has started organic plantation around 25 years ago and took him 5 years to make the very first small batch of organic green tea. It took another 5 years to go completely organic on this plantation.

Mr. Taruwaki’s tea farm is located in the remote Kawane region of Shizuoka Prefecture, which takes over 4-5 hours of driving from Tokyo. Due to its high elevation(2,000 feet), you will need to drive up the zig zag mountain roads to get to this place. This region is committed to pesticide-free plantation and not only teas but also other plantations such as vegetables are pesticide-free too.

Mr. Taruwaki’s farm is pesticide-free and does not even use organic pesticides. He had gone through many trial and errors with organic pesticides but came to a conclusion that it is the best not to use any pesticides at all. The key was to build a habitat on the farm in which not only pests can live but also insects that feed on the pests can thrive. Easy to say but it took him many many years to get reach to this conclusion and build this habitat!!  He makes his own organic fertilizer from scratch with rice bran, fish scrap, kelp, crab shells, and chicken feces. Also for water, Mr. Taruwaki brings spring water all the way from a nearby mountain due to its rich minerals.

Despite all the work he puts in, Mr. Taruwaki says he can’t do it just on his own. He can do this because of the perfect environment in which his farm is located. His farm is located at the elevation of approximately 2,000 feet.  Mr. Taruwaki says teas grown organically on farms located higher than this elevation would be bitter, and it would be difficult to harvest at profitable quantity. Anything below this elevation, he says, it would be hard to maintain the perfect eco-system that would enable pesticide-free farming.It is the combination of the elevation, climate, soil, water, along with the farmers’ attention to details and hard work, that makes tea farming in this remote area of Japan sustainable, both ecologically and economically. This is what makes our teas different from others.For more details please check our page, “Our Farmers”.
We hope this will help you get an better understand about our teas:) Thank you!

Check out Mr.Taruwaki’s Green Tea Powder

July 30, 2013


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Ways of enjoying powdered green tea

I am a big fan of loose leaf tea but of course, the most teas I drink are the powdered teas. The great part of powdered teas are there convenience and the incredible versatility. It can be made into Lattes or just simple nice teas and can be carried around anywhere. For that reason, I always change the ways I make my teas depending on the situation (time, place, mood, etc.). Today I would like to introduce my personal top three.


1. Thermos Green Teas at Office

One of the most convenient way to carry your teas around are the Thermos. I always use the thermos to bring my teas to my office. Especially in summer, I put organic green tea powder and water and just shake, then add ice to keep the teas nice and cold. Also sometimes I add a little Matcha (Especially the Sakura Komachi) with the teas to make the flavor more deeper…You should really try this:) This is really good.

*Check here to see details

 In addition to the pleasant taste, you can get plenty of antioxidants while working, and  also take in some caffeine to boost your concentration.


2. Authentic Matcha Style at Home

At home when I have time, I make my green teas by the Authentic Matcha Style using the bamboo whisk and the Matcha bowl. Although this is not Matcha, this green tea powder gives a thick foam on top providing a milky texture. This tastes totally different from the ordinary tea style where you mix with a spoon. Also Sakura Komachi (Matcha blended with Cherry Blossom Leaf) will be great too when made by the Authentic Matcha style.


3. Sakura Komachi (Matcha blended with Cherry Blossom Leaf) Soda at Home
This is one of the most refreshing modern type matcha teas I ever drank! Just add Sakura Komachi (1/3rd teaspoon)  and a little water to make the Matcha paste. Then add sparkling water and some ice, and you will have a truly refreshing Matcha green tea. *Please add sweetener based on your preference. As for this Sakura Komachi Soda, I was inspired by the Japanese tea cafe in Japan called Nana Green Tea. They had the green tea soda on the menu, which was very sweet…Since I’m a person who do not really prefer sweetened tea, I decided to make it myself..and came up with this tea.
This will be it! This is so far my top 3 ways to enjoy the teas. Please take a look at “LEARN” for more ways to drink green teas.There is many more ways to enjoy your teas, so please experiment as you like and if you come up with some other great ways to drink teas, please do share! We would like to learn from you too. There is no limit with what you can do with powder:) I will post again about making teas when I discover something new. Thank you and have a great day!!
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