Fall Teas - Chado September 2023
Give Me a Tea for Texas, Give Me a Tea for Tennessee
"Give me a Tea for Thelma; that woman made a fool out of me."
I am not sure which teas Jimmy Rogers had in mind for this song, but he should have tried some calming teas rich in L-Theanine, perhaps Gyokuro; as the song progresses, he could obviously do with some mellowing down.
My colleagues at Chado Tea House have to read this newsletter before we send it out.
They are telling me not to keep saying how nice Vancouver is because they are sick of hearing about it, this came to a head last month when we discussed what a good job the Vancouver water and sewage works did.
Well, here is some news for them and you; please, British Columbia people reading this, do not get upset, but Vancouver in the Fall/Autumn is nothing special when compared to Japan.
Vancouver does have the ocean, the mountains, and lots of trees but when it comes to the Fall, it is a bit disappointing.
I was born in the UK, and many a fine poem has been written about autumn in the UK. The UK, though, or Western Canada, does not compare, in our opinion, to Japan for Autumnal greatness. The first time I visited Japan was in the fall and the beauty of Japan a that time of year as we travelled on the bullet train through the countryside was awe-inspiring. I am not much of a poet or a poet at all, but if I were, I would have been inspired to write an absolute belter.
The difference between Japan and the west coast of Canada is in the fall colors. For the most part, Vancouver has beautiful colors in the summer, the trees are green, the sky and ocean are blue, and the flowers are everywhere. Come the fall in Vancouver, the trees are green or have no foliage, the sky is dark and gloomy and the flowers are pretty much gone. In Japan the trees are a myriad of colors red, brown, green, yellow – it is the what most people think fall should be like but are not lucky enough to live somewhere where it is a reality. So as we prepare for the ‘drab’ fall and winter months in Vancouver we are looking forward to the excellent teas from Japan to remind us how fall or autumn is supposed to be.
Just to show Vancouver has some wonderful colors in Fall, here is a picture by David Abercrombie of Japanese Maple in Vandusen Gardens, Vancouver from 2016
A Tea for the Fall
This is a new tea for us that we are proud to introduce. The tea is from Kagoshima in the South of Japan. It is made from a blend of teas from two cultivars Yutaka Midori and Yabukita.
This tea is deep steamed - Fukasmushi and prior to harvesting, the plants are covered - Kabuse.
This tea then is a premium Fukamushi Sencha, especially for Fall/Autumn. The autumn sky is blue, high and clear; the air is crisp, the colors of the trees are a fabulous array of red, brown, green and orange.
This sencha was made with the image of autumn in mind, and it achieves its goal of providing a clean, slightly grassy, fine tea with a subtle hint of umami.
The refreshing flavor fills the palate quickly and is perfect for the deepening autumn season and those darker nights at home to come.
Undokai - Sports Day
As an added bonus to the fall colors mentioned above, we can also get red and white courtesy of the school sports days held in elementary schools, known as Undokai. Fall is the time of the year that these games are celebrated at most elementary schools in Japan.
Sports day is a big deal in Japan, and in each school, the children are split into two teams, the red team and the white team; they adorn their team colors, complete with red or white caps and compete – it’s a tradition going back 150 years, and it is team-based to encourage working together.
The red and white of the team colors are based on the Japanese flag.
The children compete in many sports and games. One of the favorites is usually Oodama (Big Ball) race, where each team has to maneuver a ball – a big one, in case you were wondering, among themselves and over a track. Sometimes, the teachers will spice it up a bit by having the two teams on the circuit at the same time, and then it gets very interesting.
While Oodama can get a bit wild; the main feature of another popular event, Kibasen, is all about that wildness and competitiveness. In Kibasen or 'Cavalry Battle', teams of 4, 3 children making up a chariot and one riding on the top run around trying to knock the rider off other chariots made up of different groups of four.
Sports Day in Japan is a family affair, and the parents are encouraged to get involved as spectators and provide special treats in bento boxes and other refreshments. It's another thing to see if you are traveling or planning to travel to Japan at this time of year.
Happy Tea Drinking where you are