We were glad to be offered the opportunity to join the Tea Showcase session hosted by Tea-Bone Zen Mind, sampling a variety of teas from the Ureshino, western part of Kyushu, Japan. Through this Tea Sampling, we were amazed how each tea can be matched to different types of dishes!
Served with Pan-Fired and Steamed Tea by Eitaro Fujioka, Kusano Seichaen Inc.
The tea was well-paired to the food chosen, namely the Smoked Bacon and Scottish Garlic Herb Cheese. Along with the lukewarm tea served, there was also the Cold Brew version, which the steamed tea was brewed and rested for 24 hours before serving. The Cold Brew tea goes exceptionally well with the cheese, breaking through the conventional method of pairing wine to cheese.
Served with Steamed Tea by Makoto Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Seichaen Co., Ltd.
The second tea of the showcase was also steamed, however with a mild bitterly taste with light finishing, which is just the match for buttery or creamy food like cream-based pasta, as well as Sashimi. The tea served was attuned to the Cold Rice Noodle, which was later revealed that it was prepared with the same tea leaves! The tea leaves were a great alternative, apart from usual spices chosen such as basil leaves, which can sometimes be overwhelming.
Served with Roasted Tea (Hojicha) by Makoto Yamaguchi, Yamaguchi Seichaen Co., Ltd.
A brilliant fusion dish with Hojicha added to this Bak Kut Teh, bringing the broth a notch higher. Each ingredient added was also carefully thought-out, from the smokiness of the Mushroom to the sweetness of the Pumpkin slice, which all contributed to the harmony between the Bak Kut Teh and Hojicha served. The tea itself despite the colour, tasted very soft along with a smoky finish, normally goes with food that is heavier or fried, such as Tonkatsu or Tempura dishes, soothing and diffusing the cloyed feeling after eating.
Served with Steamed Tea by Kenichiro Nagao, Nagao Seicha Co., Ltd.
The last tea of the showcase was broken down into different stages. Such as the tea alone, with Lychee added, following by the French Syrup, then the Rum. It was fascinating to learn how tea can be enjoyed differently depending on the combinations of complement. The lychee adds natural sweetness to the tea, while the French Syrup brings out the flavour of the tea. Like many of the combination of tea and liquor in cocktails, this steamed tea along with rum was a congruous match!
The preparation of Japanese tea follows a strict and precise routine. The temperature of the water should not be boiling hot before adding to the teapot, which will then be left to rest, all while timing is taken. The tea is then served partially and in a rotary pattern to each cup. This is to ensure that every cup is evenly served with different layers of the brew, even to the last drop. As these last drops of the brew are extremely important in Japanese tea while containing the most Umami flavour.
Pan-Fired and Steamed Tea by Taichiro Tanaka, Tanaka Seichadonya
(This Steamed Tea was relatively mild as compared to the previous and more pleasant in terms of the fragrance which we believe would suit local palate more.)
Apart from the preparation, the serving of the tea are also well-thought of, attentive to the smallest detail such as the matching brewing pot to the pottery cup chosen. The pottery are also being used natively and were carefully selected to pair with each tea, with consideration on the different aspect of each tea.
Whilst the preparation of the tea sampling, we had a conversation and gained a better understanding towards tea appreciation. It was revealed that the tea leaves harvesting starts as early as possible, to have the intense flavour packed within this small amount of tea leaves. Early picking also result in less bitterness and preserving the softness of young tea leaves. The harvest and portion has also been tailored to suit the local palate and match our choice of food.
Pan-Fired and Steamed Tea by Kazuhisa Tokunaga, Tokunaga Seicha Co. Ltd.
Tea leaves are also grown under shade when nearing the harvest, to retain the moisture and its natural green shade. This harvest method also gives the tea produced a thicker and richer sensation, as the top layer of oil of the tea leaves is retained. One of the secret process added was the curling of tea leaves. The tea-leaves then have curled body and shorter length as compared to typical tea leaves. These distinguished attributes help to better diffuse the Umami taste better.
Superior quality tea leaves produce tea with strong refreshing Umami flavour, implicating a greenness taste. A misconception of Umami flavour that it only comes from Seafood or Poultry, and also commonly linked with the flavour Salty, however this greenness taste cultivate is highly prized among quality Japanese tea which is often absent in mass-produced tea available elsewhere. Each tea leaf is hand-picked, and only an average of only 10kg are harvested daily.
Thank you for reading, we hope you have learned something from our post! If you have like what you read, please follow us on Instagram and like us on Facebook to check out our daily updates. We love you and are greatly appreciative of your support throughout our food hunting journey!
Contact for Consultation
Once again, we would like to thank Tea-Bone Zen Mind for the tea experience opportunity.
For consultation or tea sampling appointment, please contact them through:
Tel: +65 6334 4212
Fax: +65 6333 4540
98 Emerald Hill Road, Singapore 229374
Mon – Sat: 11am till 7pm
Sun & PH: Closed