Images courtesy of the contributor.
From the moment you get up in the morning, go to the restroom to get ready, have breakfast, catch the train to Minamimakhuari station and take the bus to the venue of Foodex 2014 in Makuhari Messe, the chant of “Arighato Gujaimaso” (thank you) is heard constantly. By the time you leave, after five days of intense work for the preparation of your booth on March 3, to opening on March 4, and packing up on March 7 – the chant dwells in your heart and rings in your ears until long after you leave Japan.
By appreciating every positive move in life and by liking and selecting the best, it was the day of Darjeeling tea in Japan. We certainly won the hearts of Japanese tea drinkers during those four days of Foodex 2014. A still bigger achievement was the discovery of a new contraption in which a one litre glass bottle with a rubber top was fitted with a strainer and a plug for very easy cold brewing and serving Darjeeling for the American iced tea revolution. This was a simple hit; everyone in the Indian pavilion appreciated the smoothness of the resulting liquor in contrast to the normal astringency of hot brewed tea.
A buyer-seller meet was organised by the Indian Embassy in Tokyo along with the Indian Tea Board wherein the issue of MRLs and very stringent food safety laws were discussed at length. The prominent companies like Lupicia, Ambootia, Jayashree and Premiers were present, too. It is important now to maintain the committment to these values, keeping these strict implications to look after the parties involved .Whether it be the laborers, company principals, or the marketing setups – a fair distribution of costs involved at each level so as to truly comply with the certificates like Organic, Fairtrade, Rainforest Allience, UTC, and so on.
Brewing the teas the right way, enjoying the benefits both in the mouth as well as the stomach is the culture of tea which every society follows. The Orient was the first to do that, and has continued for hundreds of years: Japanese, Chinese, Koreans and Taiwanese have distinct, highly developed, diverse tea cultures of their own. When it comes to India, it is the masala chai which is the tea culture of India, but Japan is adapting to masala chia faster than perhaps anyone else.
In all, it is a joy to be in Japan, relishing their way of a superb life – full of tea.
I know how challenging the set up for a trade show is and especially in another country. Sounds like it was more than worth the time and effort. How wonderful to be embraced by the Japanese so enthusiastically. Having been in Spain recently, I was often asked about chai when people heard I was a “tea person”.
The brewing system you mentioned is very interesting. I suspect there will be a huge market for it in the states. Perhaps your next post can focus some additional attention on that product. I’m a bit confused about the plug. If it’s cold brewing, not sure why there’s a plug?
Again, congratulations on your success in Japan. Darjeeling tea has exceeded critical mass.
Infact I should have used the word stopper or the cork..
Now it makes sense. Thanks for clarifying. I do believe it would be a big seller in the U.S. – given how much iced tea we seem to consume. The popular method of cold brewing is called sun tea, which required leaving tea out in the sun for hours to steep the tea. Although very natural, it takes quite a long period of time. I have read that some people actually do it in the refrigerator over night.