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Double Sakura Surprise - Chado Newsletter March 2024

Double Sakura Surprise - Chado Newsletter March 2024

Cherry Blossom Time.

It's that time of the year again.

Cherry blossom time in Vancouver. As anyone that has read these newsletters even once in a while knows, we are suckers for Cherry Blossom, and every chance we get, we post pictures of them.

Apparently, there are 43,000 cherry trees in Vancouver, but we will keep quiet about that because if the government finds out, it will start taxing them.

Vancouver is getting to be a busy place; the traffic is bad, and everything is expensive. Luckily, near our office, we have a bit of a sanctuary called Queen Elizabeth Park. The park includes the highest point of land in Vancouver and is 125m above sea level – it is the place to catch great views of the city.

One tree in particular is a shining example of a cherry tree; the picture below shows it as it is now in late March, so it has not even really started yet. Cherry blossom is not supposed to last a long time, but for some reason this tree seems to keep its blossom for way longer than it should and keeps sharing its beauty all the way into May.

We recently learned that you can take a cutting from, say, a pear tree and attach it to an apple tree, and the tree will produce both fruits—we are sure people in the know have known this for thousands of years, but it was news to us. It only works for certain types of pears and apples. However, it is apparently very easy to graft, say, a Granny Smith apple cutting onto a Fuji tree, and both types of apples will grow.

We have always wondered about that tree in QE Park and how it keeps the blossoms for so long. Our new theory is that the tree is made up of multiple varieties, all growing on the same trunk.

Tea cultivars are created similarly to the grafting of different varieties of apples.

There is one tea plant for all the teas; the different variants, or cultivars, have been developed over time by producing new plants with the seeds, cuttings, and pollination of different plants. The cultivars are created by farmers or tea scientists and registered at the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries of Japan (MAFF). That site has some interesting sections and is worth a look. The cultivar names like Samidori, Yabukita and Kirari 31 - sometimes make their way into the names of the tea we carry.

News Alert – We went back to QE Park to try and take a better picture of the tree; because the park is big, we always tend to go the same way, so we always have the same view of the tree. This time, we wanted to get a bit closer and from a different angle to get a good view of the tree – it turns out it is not one tree but multiple trees! From the angle we usually look at it, it looks like one big one, but it is actually two of them – they still manage to bloom for a long time, but perhaps the theory above is just not right.

It is tax time here in Canada, and there are endless 'public service announcements' about scams from people purporting to be from the Canada Revenue Agency. They do not mention cherry trees pretending to be bigger than they are; we think we need to let them know.

Sakura Days Vancouver

Anyone near Vancouver in mid-April can see many beautiful cherry blossoms and Japanese things at the Annual Sakura Days festival at Van Dusen Gardens. We will be there to say hello; if you come, please introduce yourself.

Two old favorites are back for Spring.

We do not carry many teas that have added ingredients, but we do have a couple of old favorites back for the spring this year.

Sakura Sencha Green Tea with Cherry Blossom Petals

This Sencha is harvested in Kagoshima prefecture.

Medium steamed Sencha with Cherry blossom petals.

Medium steaming is called Chumushi, light steaming is called Asamushi, and deep steaming is called Fukamushi. These terms refer to how long the tea is steamed after harvesting. Fukamushi is the most popular currently and tends to produce a more green liquor. This tea is Chumushi, and that level of steaming works very well with the petals, which are added at the end of the whole production process.

This tea has a nice umami-rich Sencha flavor with a slight scent of cherry blossom petals.

With the first infusion of this tea, the umami taste is very satisfying, with the underlying cherry. A very clean and refreshing second infusion is possible. The third infusion is mild and gentle—still good and tasty!


Yuzu Kuki Matcha Tea

This tea is bursting with spring flavors.

Very nice Japanese blend tea of stem green tea, yuzu peel and Matcha powder.

Yuzu is a very fragrant citrus fruit cultivated in Japan. Dried yuzu peels and Matcha powder are added to Kukicha stems green tea. A touch of citrus aroma and taste of nicely blended authentic Japanese teas. The powdered green tea leaves of the matcha add a vibrant color to the finished tea.

Marries out the delicate taste of the yuzu with the quality of the Japanese Matcha.


To make tea that tastes great, we need good tea, good water (soft is preferred), a good ratio of tea to water, and the correct temperature.

Brewing temperature is important in the brewing as green tea contains many flavors and aromatic components, and extracting the right ones - for example, the sweet versus the bitter- depends on the temperature.

Typically, the tea we drink here at Chado and the teas we carry should be brewed at between 60 and 90 degrees. Each tea has a particular brew temperature, and we specify the temperature we recommend on the individual product pages on the site.

A kettle boils water; boiling water is too hot for most Japanese teas.

The Japanese have a special vessel called a Yuzamashi, which is a pot about the same size as a Japanese teapot or kyusu. Boiling water is poured into the Yuzamashi and allowed to cool, aided by its wide-open top, and then the cooler water is transferred to the tea in the kyusu.

We figured we knew how to brew tea at the right temperature because we drink a lot of tea.

We were very taken aback last week when one of the crew decided to splash out on a $10 temperature probe from Amazon.

It is just a thermometer that ‘instantly’ shows the temperature of whatever you stick the probe into.

When tea was being brewed, the buyer of this device decided to poke the water with it.

Well, that little experiment came as a shock for most of us. According to the new wonder device (we are sure it must have AI in it somewhere; it seems everything has now), it showed us that we were getting the temperature wrong every time.

We actually have a couple of kettles at the office that we can use for particular temperatures, and even when we used these, by the time the water got to the temperature in the kettle, we had ‘warmed the pot,’ added the tea, added the water we found that the temperature was not the temperature we thought it was.

We thought the thermometer was wrong, so we tested it by checking the temperature of the water in the kettle and of an ice cube, and it was pretty much dead on. So it seems our technique of not using the thermometer was not as good as we had thought.

Will a one- or two-degree difference noticeably change how the tea tastes? Not that we noticed, but it is fun to investigate. If you have a favorite tea, get yourself one of these devices and see if you can tell the difference five or ten degrees either way from the suggested temperature.

We use the thermometer just occasionally now. To be accurate, you really need to know the temperature of the water once it is in the teapot along with the tea – and if it is wrong, you cannot un-pour the water, so what is the point? You may ask. Well, then, the scientist in you can work on the standard brew time and shorten it or lengthen it depending on whether the water is too hot or too cold - everyone has a mad scientist in them somewhere, and brewing the perfect cup of tea is the Nobel prize we can all aspire to.

Next month, we bring you the stopwatch – stay tuned.

Happy Tea Drinking Where You Are!