Home > Arts & Crafts, Events, Food & Drink > ICN Gallery Tea Workshop – How to Prepare Delicious Shizuoka Sencha

ICN Gallery Tea Workshop – How to Prepare Delicious Shizuoka Sencha

Time for Tea Workshop at ICN gallery

On Friday 9th September 2011, a free Japanese tea workshop was held at the ICN gallery in London, which had its grand opening the day before.

The workshop, which ran from 19:00 – 21:00, was open to a select few to partake in learning how to brew the perfect cup of sencha (Japanese tea). The demonstration was held by Kume Hideyuki (Managing Director, ICN), and was accompanied by Pamela Jewel as his interpreter.

The participants were put into pairs and given a tea set to use as they followed Mr. Hideyuki’s directions, and a small plate containg three small sweets (Satou-gashi) to sweeten the palette during the tea tasting. DJ was lucky enough to be invited to this worthwhile lecture and partnered-up with Ali Muskett – aka Haikugirl – whose informative write-up of the workshop and the gallery’s grand opening the day before can be read here.

After the session ended each person received two packs of AOI tea – one containing loose leaf, the other containing tea bags made from high quality material. Both formats contain delicious high-grade sencha and are available to purchase at the cafe.

At the end of the session, a guide to preparing the perfect cup of Sencha was handed out to each attendee and is reproduced below.

ICN plan on holding regular tea workshops at the gallery’s café in the near future, so check their website for further details.

How to Prepare Delicious Sencha the Correct Way

Sencha consists of a variety of tastes including bitterness, astringency, sweetness (umami). Depending on the brewing method and water temperature the taste-balance will totally change.

1st Infusion

1. Boil water.

Always use fresh water. Hard water (tap water) is not suitable for Japanese green tea.

Bottled water such as Volvic is suitable.

2. Add tea leaves to the pot.

Measure approximately 1 teaspoon (2 grams) per person.

3. Pour boiled water into teacups.

Ali Muskett (aka Haiku Girl)

4. Let water cool to a temperature between 60C and 75C.

  • Depending on the room temperature this will take about 2 minutes.
  • If you don’t have a thermometer, one way to judge is to wait until you can hold the glass by hand for 5 seconds.
  • A lower temperature will produce a milder rounder taste, while higher temperatures will make the tea taste bitter.

5. Once the water has cooled to the proper temperature pour into the teapot.

Put on the teapot lid and let the tea leaves steep for 1 minute.

6. In order to get the best blend of strength and flavour, pour small amounts of tea into each cup. Continue pouring until you’ve poured every last drop from the teapot.

When pouring slightly snap your wrists to stir the tea leaves gently.

2nd & 3rd Infusions 

Repeat the above steps except shorten the steeping time (step 5) to 30 seconds.

Hints on Storage

Once opened, the quality of green tea begins to deteriorate. Storage in high temperatures, humidity, or exposure to direct sunlight will spoil the tea so use an airtight container (tea container) and store in a cool, dark place. I f you would lie to store your tea in the fridge, always use an airtight container to prevent the absorption of the other food odours.

Utensils for Japanese Sencha

(Yu-nomi) Tea Cups

(Kyuusu) Tea Pot

Shizuoka, Ocha and AOI Brand Tea

Shizuoka City

Shizuoka City is the capital city of Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. It is centrally located in Shizuoka Prefecture, about halfway between Tokyo and Nagoya. It is currently the 5th largest city in Japan in terms of geographic area at 1,411.85 km2 (545.1 sq mi) and as of March 2011 the estimated population is 724,026 people.

Tea in Shizuoka

Ocha (tea) has been produced in Shizuoka for more than 800 years dating to 1241, when a monk named Shoichi Kokushi returned from Sung China to his native province of Shizuoka with green tea seeds. Today the Shizuoka Prefecture tea region is the largest, home to 41% of the Japan’s tea plantations which produce 45% of the national crop. Shizuoka tea is considered to be the best tea of Japan. Most tea plantations in Shizuoka are small, family-run operations which have remained in the same family for many generations.

Honyama Tea

The Honyama area is located deep inside the mountain along the Abe River in Shizuoka City. The tea produced in this area is usually for the high-end market of Japan. It is a historically famous tea growing area since the Edo period. The fame of Honyama tea is partially thanks to Shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu, who united Japan and founded the Edo Period in 1603. According to the records, the Shogun Tokugawa constructed the tea store deep inside the Honyama mountain area in order to maintain the quality of his tea.

AOI Brand Tea

The tea served and sold at ICN gallery café is the original high quality “AOI” brand tea. AOI Tea comes from the Honyama area of Shizuoka, grown b the tea instructor and farmer Yoshio Moriuchi, whose family has grown tea for the imperial family since the Kamakura period (since 1185). The Moriuchi tea farm is still a family-run business and is certified as an “eco-farmer” in Japan (pesticide use is less than 50% and more than 80% of the fertilizer is organic). Different from regular quality Sencha, AOI Tea has a clean refreshing fragrance but posses’ full bodied flavour.

Related Posts:

“Time for Tea” Workshop At ICN Gallery London

“OHAKO” – ICN Gallery Grand Opening Exhibition London

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