Both the British and the Japanese love tea. We love the culture that surrounds enjoying tea. We choose teapots and teacups with care and cherish the occasion of tea drinking with family members and friends. We are both a tea-loving people. The biggest difference is that in Japan, green tea is the most common and popular type of tea. Unlike English black tea, it is drunk as it is, without adding milk, lemon or sugar. Although green tea began life in Japan as a luxury from China, it has now become the nation’s national drink and drinking tea has become a ritualised part of daily life, much as it has in the UK.
Much like wine, the flavour and character of a particular tea varies greatly according to the region in which it is produced. Shizuoka Prefecture is the biggest tea producing region of Japan, closely followed by Kagoshima and Uji; all these teas have their own distinctive taste. There are producers across Japan that produce unique varieties of tea, and the Japanese Government is working to promote and encourage people all over the world to enjoy the diversity of Japanese tea.
Matcha, the most revered of Japanese teas, is traditionally used in tea ceremony. In recent times, matcha has also been used to make ice cream, cakes, lattes and a variety of other foodstuffs. Matcha sweets are becoming more and more popular in the UK as well as in Japan, with the Daily Mail voting matcha the year’s biggest superfood in January 2016. Matcha sweets portray an image of a healthier sweet snack that people can freely enjoy.
The way of making and enjoying Japanese tea is still not widely known in the UK. In this event, we would like to introduce you to the world of Japanese tea. Takashi Hiranaka, Counsellor in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom will discuss the Japanese Government’s strategy for exporting green tea overseas. Shigeaki Takezoe, owner of Hell Barn Cottages and importer of Japanese tea, will explore the vast range of quality Japanese teas available in the UK whilst Kosuke Oji, Undergraduate Student of Doshisha University and with support from the Kyotonabe Municipal Office, will introduce you to Uji-cha.
We’d also like to offer you the chance to try many different types of Japanese tea and a variety of sweets made with matcha. We’ll even show you some for recipes so you can try baking and cooking with matcha at home!
This event is supported by UCC.
About the contributors
Counsellor in the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries at the Embassy of Japan in the United Kingdom.
Owner of Hell Barn Cottages and importer of Japanese tea.
Undergraduate Student of Doshisha University.