Saturday, May 1, 2010

Kyoto - Tsujiri 茶寮 都路里 - Drinking High Grade Green Tea

My posts on Japan are taking longer than I thought... plus I'm really very busy (even though I don't need to study, I don't know where all my time goes...)
I think tea masters have really strong deltoids - cos making the perfect cup of green tea involves so much pouring of hot water everywhere.So since we were in the original Tsujiri store in Gion, Kyoto, we decided to try their special tea set (980 yen, about SGD $15.50). It's 980yen for both the Tencha and Gyokuro, which are high grade green tea.
Tencha is non-fermented green tea, grown in a shaded garden (oishita-en) and is made by steaming, then drying without rolling new tea buds. I really liked this tea - it's the non-ground/powdered version of the tea powder they use in tea ceremonies. Gyokuro - also non-fermented, and grown in a shaded garden, these are grown for >20 days. They are then steamed, dried and rolled. The aroma is described as 'lofty' and has a mellow taste. I personally didn't like the weird strong leafy taste of the Gyokuro. Makes me feel like I'm drinking grass or something. This is a super heavy stone kettle which has hot water. Making the perfect cup of green tea involves pouring lots of hot water here, there and everywhere. I think you need alot of arm muscles, patience and time to do this. It was quite fun the first 2-3 times, but got very sian halfway and we were very tired of pouring hot water here there everywhere, and trying not to scald ourselves.
The first step involves pouring water into all the cups to warm them up. Then allowing the water to cool down to about 50 degrees centigrade, and then putting the tea leaves in. After allowing it to steep (there's an hourglass to help time), we then pour the freshly made tea out into the warmed cup. It was quite fun at first, but eventually, the novelty wore off...The detailed instructions of how to make tea - which we eventually didn't follow cos it was too tiring and took too long.After steeping the tea leaves x1, we had to throw the used tea leaves into the metal container.The tea set at Tsujiri comes with a choices of traditional hand made Japanese dessert, or with mochi. The traditional dessert changes according to the different seasons. Some of these hand made Japanese sweets can cost 1000 yen (about SGD$15).I got the mochi dessert, which is a small bowl of mochi and kaiten jelly (like agar agar) in green tea broth, with a scoop of azuki beans (red bean paste).
The 2nd storey entrance to Tsujiri in Gion, Kyoto.

Tsujiri (Tokyo)
1-8-2 Higashi-Shimbashi, Minato-ku, Tokyo
Tel: 03-5537-2217
Opening Hours: 11.00am-11.00pm
Website: (In Japanese)
The nearest station is Shimbashi, or Shiodome.

Tsujiri (Gion, Kyoto)
573-3 Gion-machi Minami-gawa, Higashiyama-ku, Kyoto-shi, KyotoKyoto, Japan京都市東山区祇園町南側573-3
Tel : 075-561-2257
Hours: 10:00~22:00
It's quite well hidden on the second storey of Shijo dori in Gion, and it's on the opposite side of the street to Starbucks (but not that near Starbucks).

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