Culture we ♡
Japanese tea is diverse. While our values reflect many leanings of the Japanese tea ceremony, Makijima Tea Co. is about everyday tea drinking.
Our tea reflects tradition and evolution.
Coffee used to be pretty average in Australia. But after only a few decades, Australia has blossomed into having one of the most vibrant coffee cultures in the world. Not only are our baristas great, but everyday coffee drinkers have great knowledge and taste for good coffee. Makijima Tea Co. believe green tea can have a place in our everyday life like coffee.
Japanese tea is diverse. While our values reflect many leanings of the Japanese tea ceremony, Makijima Tea Co. is about everyday tea drinking. The tea culture in Japan as it is known today is surprisingly young. The method of steeping tea leaves in a teapot was introduced to Japan from China about 350 years ago, and this is how most Japanese tea is prepared today. Most Japanese green tea today are processed by following the method of steaming freshly harvested tea leaves then gradually drying. This method was developed and popularised in Kyoto less than 300 years ago. While maintaining the fundamental principles, the tea continues to evolve, for example, now very popular fukamushi sencha was only developed in the 1950s in Shizuoka. By working closely with tea farmers, Makijima Tea Co. hope to offer tea that reflect tradition and evolution.
Making a cup of Japanese tea is, like drinking wine, easy. But Japanese tea can be quite different from other tea. To infuse most goodness out of our tea, there are basically two things to remember:
Lower water temperature (80-85°C for sencha & fukamushi sencha or 90-95°C for hōjicha)
Shorter steeping time (1-2 mins for sencha or up to 1 min for fukamushi sencha & hōjicha)
Lower temperature releases as much flavour and aroma out of the tea leaves as possible while keeping bitterness from becoming overpowering. Shorter steeping time helps create the overall balance and also allows for the second (and maybe third) brew.
Why do we use lower temperature? A good cup of Japanese tea holds a multitude of calming yet refreshing flavours and aromas. Tea leaves contain many different sources of various tastes, ranging from sweet umami to bitter caffeine. Bitterness can become overpowering if you use boiling water, because caffeine and catechin (like tannin in red wine) become more soluble in warmer temperature and they are some of the sources of bitterness. So, by using a lower water temperature, you can help pleasant flavours like sweetness and umami pop, while keeping bitterness locked in.
By varying water temperature and steeping time, you can explore different balances of ying and yang till you find your own perfect harmony, just like the mighty Carpenters did in their 1970 all time favourite, We’ve Only Just Begun. But don’t be too harsh on the little bitterness because it is an important part of tea flavour, and a lot of the health benefits people talk about in Japanese green tea are actually in this bitter chemistry.
Now we covered the basics, but if you want to know more, click your life away!
How to store Makijima tea
Tea is unique in that we are basically tasting some plant bits in hot water. You very well know the significance of this if you are an Asterix & Obelix fan. Just like coffee beans, tea leaves quickly absorb scents of things around, altering its subtle aromas and flavours. We recommend simply squeezing as much air as possible out of the package after each use, and close it tightly. Even better, you can roll up the excess package and use a clip to make sure no air sneaks in. Then, please store in a dry, cool place away from light.
It is recommended that each pack of tea be consumed as soon as possible; each pack of Makijima Tea Co. generally contains a month supply to make sure each brew comes with fresh aromas and flavours.