Organic Tea Honyama Tasting at Marufuku Tea Co. Ltd.

Organic tea by Marufuku at differrent stages of refining and from different parts of the tea leaves.

Organic tea exists in Shizuoka! Although still very rare in the largest tea-producing region in Japan (45%), it is also found in Kyushu Island.
Mr. Bunji Itoh, owner of Fukumaru Tea Co. Ltd, whose company is also growing and processing organic tea from his own fields high in the mountains of Hirano, Shizuoka City above the Abe River, was kind enough to help me taste organic tea of his own and that of a good friend, Mr. Nishi in Kyushu!

Ichiban Cha/First growth, best quality tea grown by Mr. Itoh in Hirano, Aoi Ku, Shizuoka City high in the mountains.

The same as above.
Very soft color, almost yellow. Very little tea particles found.
Very soft, almost sweet, delicate. Very little acidity or tartness.
The best of all tasted on that day!
Extremely elegant.

Tea from Mr. Nishi in Kagoshima.
Mixed with genmai/whole rice/dry) and matcha tea powder.

Same as above.
A “fancy” tea. Very popular with ladies and children.
Very tasty, probably best drunk chilled.

“Hojisha” from Mr. Nishi in Kagoshima.

Same as above.
The tea is roasted in a different manner to obtain this brownish color.
Easy to to drink. Resembles Oolong tea, but the process for the latter is completely different.
Refreshing but unsophisicated.

O-ban cha from Mr. Nishi in Kagoshima.
This is “regular” tea for the masses.

Same as above.
Not really impressive.
Mainly used for everyday drinking.

Ichiban cha from Mr. Nishi in Kagoshima.

Same as above.
Very different from that of Mr. Itoh.
Good tea indeed but a bit too smoky to my taste.

Marufuku Seishya Co. Ltd. (Mr. Bunji Itoh)
Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 25
Tel.: 054-271-2011
Fax: 054-271-2010

More tea articles coming soon!

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Bryan Baird’s Newsletter (2010/11/05)

Baird Beer & Taproom Events Bulletin

2010 Release: Yabai-Yabai Strong Scotch Ale!

Dear Taproom Friend & Baird Beer Enthusiast:

The wait is over. Today we are releasing from our cellars the 2010 version of Yabai-Yabai Strong Scotch Ale! You should be able to find pints on draught at your favorite Baird Beer drinking establishment beginning Saturday, November 6. Bottles (633 ml) too are available through our network of Baird Beer retailing liquor stores in Japan as well as direct from the brewery via our online E-Shop:

New Seasonal Beer Releases:
*Yabai-Yabai Strong Scotch Ale 2010 (ABV 7.2%):

Scotland, an historically important center of beer brewing, has a cool climate that favors cultivation of the hardy barley plant. Scottish Ales, thus, tend to feature the rich and robust flavor of malted barley. Baird Yabai-Yabai Strong Scotch Ale is, in a word, opulent! The color is a deep mahogany brown and the head is dense, creamy and tan. The aroma is one of soft fruit esters and warm fusel alcohols. The body is chewy and the flavor exhibits notes of molasses, caramel apples, rum cake and pit fruit. One hearty pint is enough to take the bite out of the late autumn chill. Two pints will leave you toasty, and blissfully, warm. Three pints and…. YABAI!

If one version of Strong Scotch Ale is not enough for you, stop into one of our Taproom pubs for a second, handpump-dispensed version called: Fat Old Hound Scotch Ale (ABV 7%). This small-batch brew is available in very limited quantities exclusively at our Taproom pubs.

Upcoming Events at our Nakameguro Taproom:
*”Falling for Brew!” Beer School seminar and tasting which focuses on fall-season beers and autumn food accompaniments. The featured beer pairings are as follows:

Baird Fest Lager & Great Divide Hoss Rye Lager
Baird Counry Girl Kabocha Ale & Southern Tier Pumking Ale
Baird Yabai-Yabai Strong Scotch Ale & Great Divide Claymore Scotch Ale
Baird Bakayaro! Ale and Stone Arrogant Bastard
Our chef, Ishikawa-san, has been busy over the past several weeks crafting a fall food menu to accompany this spectacular lineup of autumn ales & lagers. I won’t spoil the food surprise here, but I can promise that participants are in for a real treat. For those participants not fully satiated, and for all those unable to attend because of a time conflict, we will be following the Beer School event with a sneak-preview tasting of genuine American barbecue from the smoking pit of our soon-to-be Bashamichi Taproom Pit Master, Chuck Morrow.

The Japanese language seminar and tasting will take place on Saturday, November 13 (3:00 pm start). The English language version will be the following day, Sunday, November 14 (3:00 pm start). Tickets cost 3,200 yen and seating is limited. Please contact the Nakameguro Taproom directly about attending (; 03-5768-3025). Space is still available but it is filling up fast!

*Homebrew & BBQ Celebration: The Pale Ale Category of this year’s Japan Wan Cup homebrew competition was sponsored by Baird Beer. As part of this sponsorship arrangement, we agree to brew the gold-medal winning recipe at our brewery together with the champion homebrewer. This year, two champion Pale Ales were selected. We have brewed one of these already: Mr. Hitoshi Tanka’s GIN’s #76 Pale Ale. Tanaka-san will be making the debut tapping of this gorgeous American-style Pale Ale at the Nakameguro Taproom at noon, Sunday, November 28. Brewing staff from Baird Beer also will be in attendance to talk and drink beer with homebrewers and non-brewing enthusiasts alike. Bashamichi Taproom Pit Master, Chuck Morrow, will be smoking up low and slow a terrific arrangement of genuine American BBQ for the event. Please mark your calendar and plan to join us.


Bryan Baird

Baird Brewing Company
Numazu, Japan

The Japan Blog List

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Please check the new postings at:
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Shizuoka Sake Tasting: Yamanaka Brewery-Aoitenka Junmai Hyakumangoku Rice

Yamanaka Brewery is a small, ancient and traditional brewery lost a long way south of Kakegawa Station and it is not easy to find their brews even in Shizuoka City. Luckily enough I happened to find this sake made with Hyakumangoku rice grown in Shizuoka Prefecture!

Rice: Hyakumangoku (Shizuoka-grown)
Milled down to: 65%
Dryness: +2.0
Acidity: 1.4
Yeast: Association No 1001
Alcohol: 15~16 degrees
Bottled in June 2010

Clarity: very clear
Color: transparent
Aroma: fruity, light, banana, chocolate, vanilla, hints of pineapple
Body: fluid
Taste: Dry soft attack with junmai petillant.
Complex and fruity: chocolate, coffee beans, banana.
Quickly disappears with notes of almonds.
Gets drier with food.
Easy to drink.

Overall: A sake for all seasons.
Very fruity, dry and soft.
Actually quite complex and showing more facets than expected.
A sure value!

Must-see tasting websites:
-Sake: Tokyo Through The Drinking Glass, Tokyo Foodcast, Urban Sake, Sake World
-Wine: Palate To Pen, Warren Bobrow, Cellar Tours, Ancient Fire Wines Blog
-Beer: Good Beer & Country Boys, Another Pint, Please!
-Japanese Pottery to enjoy your favourite drinks: Yellin Yakimono Gallery
Please check the new postings at:
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Today’s Lunch Box/Bento (’10/77): Omu Raisu Musubi Bento

The Missus had planned to make an “Omu Raisu”, that is, fried rice coververed with omelette for my bento oday but she was not satisfied with her fried rice and decided to make musubi with it!

So, having steamed the rice, she fried/sauteed it Chinese style with finely chopped vegetables, spices and tomato sauce.
She then shaped the rice into triangular musubi/rice balls (not round, then! LOL).
She next made a thin rectangular omelette for each and wrapped the musubi inside it. She finally placed then in the box half-wrapped in lettuce.
She added some home-pickled carrot, cucumber and red pimento as well as cut plum tomatoes and olives.

For the salad dish she served bean salad mixed with hijiki sweet seaweed and freshly cut okra and celery.
Dessert consisted of sweet potatoes cooked in honey and lemon as well as figs in compote I acquired during my interview of Saitoh Orchard in Okitsu, Shimizu Ku, Shizuoka City!

Great balance and certainly yummy!

Adventures in Bento Making, American Bento, Beanbento, Bento No1, Bento Wo Tsukurimashou, Cooking Cute, Eula, Hapabento , Happy Bento, Jacki’s Bento Blog, Kitchen Cow, Leggo My Obento, Le Petit Journal Bento & CO (French), Lunch In A Box, My Bento Box, Vegan Lunch Box; Tokyo Tom Baker, Daily Food Porn/Osaka, Only Nature Food Porn, Happy Little Bento, The Herbed Kitchen, J-Mama’s Kitchen, Cook, Eat, Play, Repeat; Bento Lunch Blog (German); Adventures In Bento; Anna The Red’s Bento Factory; Cooking Cute; Timeless Gourmet; Bento Bug; Ideal Meal; Bentosaurus; Mr. Foodie (London/UK)

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