Tea Master Class with Mr. Taninaka at Midori-En

お店の中の様子

前回日本に里帰りした際にTaro’sの嬉野緑茶を仕入れさせて頂いている佐世保のみどり園さんにごあいさつ。今回は玉露について少し教えてもらおうと寄らせてもらったところ、ご主人谷中さんのご好意により1時間強、お茶に関してみっちりいろいろ教えてもらいました。

Upon my trip to Japan, I visited Midori-en the shop I buy my Ureshino Green Tea from.  Mr Taninaka passionately taught me a lot about tea for over an hour. 

玉露。みどり園で扱っているのは八女の星野村の玉露。7g程度のたっぷり小さじ一杯の茶葉でわずかお猪口2杯分を入れます。湯をしっかり50-60度まで冷ましていれて2分。飲んでみて驚愕しました。今まで玉露という単語だけは知っていたが、それだけだったということを思い知らされた。脳天を直撃する旨味、甘味。それは飲み物というジャンルのものではなく、嗜好品を禁じられていた時代、位の高い僧侶が酒煙草がわりにハマっていたものという聞きかじった知識が舌で納得できました。

Gyokuro, many people, including me, probably heard of the word as the top of the top quality teas, but never knew what it really tastes like.  The Gyokuro sold at Midori-En is from the Hoshino Village of the famous Yame area in Fukuoka Pref.  They grow it and cover up the tea trees for several days prior to harvesting and this increases the amino acids in the leaves and creates a very sweet flavour.  (Actually our premium Ureshino Greent Tea also uses the same kabuse method.)  Mr. Taninaka measures approx 7g of tea, lowers the temp of the hot water way down to 50-60 degrees and brews it for 2 minutes with very small amount of water enough for two small sake cups.  The result is a umami and strong flavour that strikes your senses.  The shock is very similar to drinking a great espresso for the first time.    It makes me understand that no wonder high priests cherished Gyokuro when they were not allowed to drink alcohol or smoke.  It is strong, highly addictive, a delicacy that gives you a kickin’ “fix”. 

抹茶を氷とシェイクして無糖、カロリーゼロのアイス抹茶。濃厚かつさわやかな味です。

This is Mr Taninaka shaking maccha (powdered green tea) in a cocktail shaker with ice.  It is a refreshing but powerful drink, zero sugar, zero calories. 

谷中さんに学んだ結果Taro’sではお茶の入れ方を若干変えています。さらに一番茶の本当の実力を試すには玉露風にお湯の量を減らすと本当に濃厚で美味しいお茶が入ります。試して見たいお客様は嬉野緑茶を注文の際、一番茶を玉露風にお願いしますとお申し付けください。

As a result of learning from Mr. Taninaka, we have changed the way of brewing our tea at Taro’s.  The biggest difference will be that it will be stronger than previous.  If you liked the previous weaker brews, let us know.  Also, in order to fully enjoy the power of our premium Ureshino sencha, we can brew it with a much smaller amount of water to create a very strong brew close to that of the Gyokuro.  Ask for “Gyokuro type brew” if you want to try it.

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