At a press conference held in Nagasaki Prefecture this past April, Japanese Green Tea Café Project’s stakeholders announced their plan of opening 50 tea cafés in the States.
When you visit one of these cafés, scheduled to open within the next 10 years, you will be able to savor namesake desserts such as Nagasaki castella from Bunmeido, which packages its most celebrated and expensive cake in a wooden case. What I would really like to try is the lesser known, ultra sweet kasudôsu, often served in Chinshin-ryū tea ceremony. Any expert out there who could enlighten us on this “warrior-house style” tea ritual?
Japan’s leading porcelain producer, Hakusan Touki, also based in Nagasaki, will supply the teaware. The work of the company’s distinguished designer, Masahiro Mori (1927 – 2005), is surprisingly well profiled on Wikipedia. I hope the cafés will serve tea using the elegant Twisted Plum Blossom teapots and teacups.
Shizuoka and Kagoshima come to mind whenever one thinks about Japan’s major tea-producing prefectures. Though not a top-ten contender, Nagasaki headquarters Maeda-en, whose products are a staple at all Asian supermarkets. I look forward to learning more about Nagasaki tea from the cafés’ sommeliers.
Like the B&M Hello Kitty Cafe, the Project aims to open its first shop later this year in sunny Southern California.
I visited Nagasaki once in my childhood, and all I remember from that trip is the tears in my mom’s eyes while we listened to a tour guide’s recount of the bombing aftermath.
Without wishing to offend any sensibilities on this – and irrespective of rights and wrongs – but from a plainly commercial point of view I would recommend that any marketing of Japanese tea in the USA would do infinitely better if it did not specifically mention grown in Nagasaki (or Hiroshima, or even Fukushima).
Is this in reference to WWII or the more recent radiation issues?
Progress is being made. The affected regions are recovering… http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/english/news/nuclearwatch/20141112.html
Some informational documentaries aired recently on PBS:
I love the Hakusan tea ware – I have the complete set of “fancy” cups. They are bold, modern yet elegant in their simplicity. They are so terrific to drink out of. The porcelan is such that the cup remains cool above the line where tea is reached, making it comfortable to pick up the tea cup and sip your tea without burning your fingers.
Can’t wait till they make out to Oregon.
“Fancy” caught my attention as well. http://www.hakusan-porcelain.co.jp/products-fancycup.html. It won Japan’s Good Design Award in 2006.
Ifang, I remember reading about Koots green tea cafes in Washington years ago. Have you heard of this man or this concept, which didn’t make it in the U.S., unfortunately. Maybe the timing was wrong? http://old.seattletimes.com/html/businesstechnology/2003008938_greentea21.html
Photos of some of the cafes interiors and beverages here: http://tinyurl.com/p2ev3qc
With ownership of hundreds of Tully’s Coffee in Japan, this young man certainly had the savvy and the money to make it happen.
No, I have not heard of Koots, and had not been to a Tully’s during my last visit. Thanks for sharing the links. It’s always disheartening to read about a business’s closing (especially when yelping it)… Does SoCal offer better opportunities? Hopefully the Japanese Green Tea Cafe Project will take its time to establish itself in the States.
Koots may have been a little early, and it moved into the coffee culture headquarters, Washington State. Hopefully they’ve hit better timing now with more awareness of tea throughout the country and the Millenials moving in droves to tea over coffee.