With the holidays now behind us (☹ ) , it is time for me to reflect on the past few days and weeks. For me travel is always a journey of inspiration. Our Christmas trip this year brought us to Japan, a country that has such a deep tea culture. I had also been in Japan in 1993 and was looking forward to showing my family around.
The holiday period also gave me time to look forward to the new year and to think about where to take my sommelier experience. My goal in the tea and water world is to continue to inspire as many people as possible and to raise awareness and excitement for high quality tea and fine water. I want to continue working with the Myanmar hospitality industry to make an impact on raising awareness of fine water and learn more about high quality tea. I am in need of practical tea making experience and hope that 2019 will be the year I can work on a tea plantation. We have only reached the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the best water and tea experience.
My tea and water blog
From now on I will blend both industries into this one blog. My experience in the tea world can benefit the fine water industry. And my amazing experience learning about fine water will help to inspire the tea industry to use better quality water when brewing tea. I aim to further develop my skills to become a bridge ambassador between the water and tea industries and bring value to both. I do not want to have ‘just another tea and water blog’ but want to ‘oooh’ and ‘ahh’ you with my entries. Sometimes thinking about one industry helps me to understand the other one better. They are certainly not in isolation, but are linked to other areas and categories in the hospitality industry.
Tea in Japan is everywhere. It is firmly embedded in traditions, in the culture and for sure in any restaurant you will eat at. Japan produces and consumes 90% green tea. I was excited to find Japanese black tea at a shop on the bottom of Mt. Fuji together with amazing green teas.
It was great to experience the combination of tea as a drink and as a food. Two of my favorite things: freshly brewed Japanese green tea and green tea ice cream.
The first tea experience when we arrived in Tokyo was at the Hama Rikyu Gardens. We found ancient tea houses, some of them have been rebuilt with amazing materials and a passion for original details. A tea house in the gardens offered matcha tea with sweets. I had to think back to my first visit to Japan in 1993 and how we were privileged to experience a traditional tea ceremony. My wonderful tea educator, Donna Fellmann has studied the tea ceremony for decades. It is a world of tea rituals and procedures which work together to create the best experience for its guests.
For the kids there was a different kind of fun – tea cups in Disneyland!
I just love how readily tea is available in Japan. Everywhere there are vending machines dispensing ready to drink tea. I loved this matcha as a morning drink!
In the evening I would order Oolong tea in a restaurant, served in a wonderful tea pot and tiny tea cups. In the western world it is not common yet to drink tea together with a meal, it is rather a dessert option. I found it wonderful to pair my teas with the respective dish. An Oolong with a roasted and complex flavor pairs well with a meaty and hearty dish.
While being inspired by the peace and tranquility of Japan, I was able to reflect on the fine water category as well. The hotel we stayed in had a water dispenser machine. It got me thinking that the relationship of people with water is impacted by such machine. We see wine as precious coming out of a fancy bottle. However we are used to water coming from a tap or a dispensing machine.
How do we change this relationship? How to we make people feel more interested in fine water and the benefits it comes with? These are questions I will ponder more in 2019.
I will leave you with my wish that you spend 2019 a bit more mindful about water and tea and get inspired to try the best of the best for a little piece of affordable luxury.