NOURISHING ESSENTIALS (May 2024) - Japanese Teas: Beyond A Beverage

Hatomugi, Kokuto & Shichimi Okaki (Pearl Barley, Okinawa Black Sugar & Seven Spice Rice Crackers)

Hatomugi, Kokuto & Shichimi Okaki (Pearl Barley, Okinawa Black Sugar & Seven Spice Rice Crackers)(はとむぎ 黒糖醤油&七味おかき)
Producer:Shoku Media
Prefecture: Tochigi
Ingredients:Sticky rice (from Tochigi), hatomugi (from Tochigi), vegetable oil, soy sauce (non-GMO, includes soy and wheat), kokuto (Okinawa black sugar), shichimi togarashi (seven spice blend) (includes sesame)
Vegan, Dairy-free, 
Suggested uses: Enjoy these spicy and savory crackers as is or with a cup of any of ourJapanese teas.
Storage: Room temperature

Known simply as hatomugi in Japanese, this local grain has many names in English including Pearl Barley, Job’s Tears, Tear Grass, Coix Seed, and Adlay Millet. It’s indigenous to several tropical regions in Asia and has risen in popularity as a staple ingredient in both health foods and skincare products. 

The use of hatomugi in these okaki (rice crackers) gives them a mild nutty taste and a lighter texture when compared to typical rice crackers. They are then seasoned with shichimi, a Japanese seven-spice blend that typically contains yuzu, ginger, red chili pepper, seaweed, black and white sesame seeds, and Japanese peppercorns called sansho. This gives them a kick of spice and flavor which is balanced by the subtle sweetness of kokuto (Okinawa black sugar). 

Hatomugi Labo is a division of Shoku Media, which focuses on promoting Oyama City’s abundant hatomugi in both health food and skincare products. The company produces products such as teas, jams, syrups, cereals, grain blends, furikake, and even cola, while also working with a restaurant in Oyama City called Cucina MOD MIO to create dishes that feature hatomugi in new ways. The cosmetic branch of the company, Oyama Shizuku, creates items such as makeup remover, toner, soap, and moisturizer to help customers with everything from blemishes to sunburns.  

Black Soybean Latte

Black Soybean Latte (ホトトギスの黒豆ラテ) (Caffeine-free)
Producer:Hototogisu Farm
Prefecture: Okayama
Ingredients:Roasted black soybean powder (made in Okayama), raw sugar, brown sugar (includes soy)
Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free
Suggested uses:Mix the contents of the packet in 140ml (~½ cup) of milk (use plant-based milk for a vegan alternative). Enjoy hot or cold over ice. For a fluffier latte, try using a milk frother!

Crafted from black soybeans, Hototogisu Farm’s black soybean latte offers a pleasant departure from the typical matcha latte. Roasted soybean powder, known as kinako, is often used in traditional Japanese desserts such as dango, warabi mochi, and wagashi as a flavor-enhancing coating. Here it adds a subtle caramelized nuttiness, similar to that of roasted hazelnuts, and is complemented by raw and brown sugar to produce a lightly sweetened, caffeine-free latte. The kinako used in this latte is particularly unique given that it is made from black soybeans, which gives the resulting drink an eye-catching speckled appearance. 

Hotogisu Farm produces a wide variety of homegrown agricultural goods as well as a selection of baked goods, all of which are gluten-free. No wheat is used in their workspaces so that those with allergies can have peace of mind when enjoying their food. In October 2018, the brand expanded and opened a cafe in the Tsushima area of Okayama City which serves its baked goods, such as its popular rice flour brownies, as well as salads and lunch plates that highlight their prized vegetables.

Brown Rice Mulberry Tea

Brown Rice Mulberry Tea(玄米桑茶)
Producer:Kuwanosato
Prefecture: Yamanashi
Ingredients:Mulberry leaf powder (from Yamanashi), brown rice powder
Vegan, Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free
Suggested uses: Combine one packet of tea mix with 30ml of water. Mix thoroughly then add 200ml of water (cold or hot). Adjust to desired strength.

Mulberries, known as kuwa in Japanese, are similar in appearance to blackberries and have a long history of use in Japan. During the Edo period, mulberry leaves were utilized as food for prized silkworms, however they are most well-known for being one of Japan's oldest forms of herbal medicine. The mulberry fruit can also be enjoyed fresh or dried. Han-san’s mulberry leaf tea offers a refreshing slightly grassy flavor which is complimented by the slightly nutty taste of brown rice powder. 

Kuwanosato’s tea is made with mulberry leaves that are grown and harvested directly on their farm which is situated at an elevation of 700m in the town of Ichikawa in Yamanashi Prefecture. The company takes special care to grow its crops without the use of pesticides or herbicides, instead opting for more natural pest control options such as grass seed farming and brush cutting. They hope to coexist with nature through their growing process instead of working against it. After the mulberry leaves are harvested they are steamed at high temperatures, processed, and dried all in a manner that echoes traditional tea production methods. Great care is taken at every step to preserve the integrity of the leaves and create the best quality tea possible. You can read more about CEO Han-san and Kuwanosato on theproducer spotlight page on our website.

 

Matcha Panna Cotta

Matcha Panna Cotta (抹茶パンナコッタ)
Producer:KOSYO Food Research
Prefecture: Aichi
Ingredients:Milk products (dairy, lactose), sugar, matcha, gelatin
Gluten-free, Soy-free
Suggested uses:  One package makes 4 servings.Microwave:To make matcha panna cotta at home simply put  200ml milk in a heat-resistant bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and microwave (600W) for about 1 minute. Add the panna cotta ingredient packet and mix to combine. Cover again with plastic wrap and heat in the microwave for another 30 seconds. Stir gently, divide into four bowls, and chill in the fridge to cool. Stovetop: Thoroughly mix one package with 200ml of milk over medium heat. Once boiling, immediately turn off the heat and transfer to four bowls. Place in the fridge for 2-3 hours to cool. Try topping the finished dessert with whipped cream, fresh fruit, chocolate, red beans, or even marshmallows for added flavor and texture!

Nishio City in Aichi Prefecture is known as the birthplace of premium matcha in Japan. With a mild climate, rich soil, and ample water supply courtesy of the Yahagigawa River, Nishio City and other surrounding areas in Aichi offer the perfect conditions for growing high-quality tea. The vast majority of tea grown in the area is tencha, which is a type of green tea used to make matcha. Matcha imparts a mellow earthiness with a slight bitterness to this panna cotta which balances perfectly with the subtle sweetness of the sugar. It also lends its stunning signature green hue to this classic Italian-inspired dessert. 

KOSYOFood Research produces simple yet delicious tsukemono (Japanese pickles) and tea based products which showcase the local teas of Nishio. They take great pride in spreading knowledge of Japan’s tea culture to the rest of the world through their products including this panna cotta mix, their matcha hot cake mix and their matcha ice cream mix. Each product highlights the vibrant color, elegant aroma, and rich umami flavor of Nishio’s premium matcha in a way that is approachable for all.

Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea) Honey

Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea) Honey (ほうじ茶ハニー)
Producer:Kurota Bee Farm
Prefecture:Tochigi
Ingredients:Honey, hojicha (roasted green tea)
Gluten-free, Dairy-free, Soy-free
Suggested uses:Mix with hot milk or soy milk for a quick and easy hojicha latte or try on buttered toast for a delicious breakfast or snack. It also makes a wonderful topping for vanilla ice cream or yogurt!
Storage: Room temperature

This hojicha honey is a delightful departure from your typical honey. Hojicha, roasted green tea, adds a rich, almost nutty flavor to the honey that tea lovers are sure to recognize. The addition of the tea also makes it more bitter compared to normal honey, making it perfect for those looking for something a little less sweet. With its stunning dark brown hue and thin, more liquid texture, this honey is perfect for drizzling on everything from toast to ice cream. 

Kurota Bee Farm has been working 365 days a year for over 100 years across four generations to pass the art of beekeeping and honey harvesting to the next generation. They believe that there is a balance to be struck between humans, nature, and bees, and work continuously to do their part. With years of experience passed down from family member to family member, the farm has a deep understanding of the complexities of making honey, especially the teamwork that goes into it on behalf of humans and bees alike. 

This understanding goes into every teaspoon of honey that Kurota Bee Farm thoughtfully crafts, which highlights the natural sweetness of honey. In addition to their honey storefront, which sells a variety of food and cosmetic goods, they have opened two other businesses. In their sweet shop, Dolce Miele, they offer cakes and gelatos made by their in-house pastry chef who trained in Italy. In their cafe, HoneyB, they also serve dishes that highlight honey in both sweet and savory applications.

Green Tea Udon Noodles

Green Tea Udon Noodles (茶うどん)
Producer:Ishimaru Seimen
Prefecture: Kagawa
Ingredients:Wheat flour (domestic), green tea (from Kawaga), salt, starch
Vegan, Dairy-free, Soy-free
Suggested uses: Preparing this eye-catching udon is a breeze. Simply cook noodles in boiling water for 5 mins and drain. For cold noodles, rinse in cold water and chill with ice before serving. We recommend eating this udon cold to fully enjoy its vibrant color and mochi mochi (chewy) texture. Try dipping the noodles in mentsuyu(noodle broth and sauce) for added flavor or use them in the recipes featured in this brochure.
Storage: Room temperature

Kagawa Prefecture is known for its soul food, sanuki udon, a dish of chewy noodles served with a flavorful broth or dipping sauce made from dried sardines. These noodles showcase this beloved soul food with Kagawa’s local tea. Takase tea is the most famous tea grown in the area and given that it makes up a mere 0.2% of the tea produced in Japan, it is typically only enjoyed by the locals. However, Ishimaru Seimen is shining the spotlight on this tea by incorporating it into their green tea udon noodles. Using technology unique to the company they knead the tea directly into the dough, imparting a light but refreshing flavor and aroma as well as a beautiful deep green color. Each noodle is knife cut, preserving the pleasantly chewy texture. The result is a glossy noodle that can be enjoyed hot or cold with a flavor subtle enough to compliment any dish but without overwhelming the flavors of accompanying ingredients. 

One of Ishimaru Seimen’s founding beliefs is love and pride in one’s hometown. Since its founding in 1904, the company has been working hard to produce the best-tasting noodles using traditional skills. Today it has built upon these traditional techniques by tactfully adding modern state-of-the-art equipment to their process. They believe that using high-quality raw materials is key to producing the best noodles and strive to support local wheat cultivation through their flour milling business as well. In addition to running a thriving noodle company, Ishimaru Seimen hosts factory tours and has opened a Sanuki Udon Museum to share udon culture with domestic and foreign tourists alike. 

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