Want to experience intense tea culture in Kyoto? Let’s mill matcha with a stone mill!

You can mill matcha using a traditional stone mill at Fukujuen Uji Kobo, a 200-year-old tea shop in Kyoto. Make your own matcha and immediately taste it on site.

2017-04-21   Travel Destinations, Kyoto,

Milling matcha


【 CONTENTS 】

Fukujuen Uji Kobo
Fukujuen Uji Kobo

A rare experience, milling matcha yourself

Do you know what matcha is? It’s newly harvested tealeaves, processed with stone mills. Nowadays its packed in cans, but many years ago only the necessary amount would be milled for immediate consumption in order to keep it fresh. You can mill matcha with stone mills buy yourself at this factory (Kobo) and taste real fresh Japanese tea.

Stone mills
Stone mills made of granite
Instructions for the mill
Instructions for the mill

Ukiyoe

Guess what these stones are?

Once you enter the kobo, you’ll see many stones on exhibit.
These granite stones are called “Mikage-ishi”, and are produced in Japan.
Their texture is suitable for milling, and people used to also mill matcha with this stone in the past. There are many gaps inside the milling stone to hold the tealeaves that are inserted from the top. These tealeaves are milled inside these gaps.
There is an explanation for it on the wall.

Kinds of tea
There are so many kinds of tea

Let’s get to know more about tea!

You’ll be milling the Tencha tea, but there are many other kinds of tea in Japan that the staff educated me on. Tencha is a kind of dried tea leaf that is grown in a tea garden with no sunlight. We used the best grade of Tencha at the workshop, which does not taste bitter. It is sold at the shop for 3,000 yen per 20grams.

Milling the Tencha

The trick to it is in the grinding speed!

I’ll tell you how to do it.
To begin with, you put the Tencha in the middle of the mill and grind it counter-clockwise.
If you do it clockwise, the tea will disrupt the process.
The trick to it is in the grinding speed. It’s better to turn it once, every three seconds. If you do it too quickly, the particles will be too rough and change to a red color, even changing the taste. You need to keep doing this process for about 20 to 30 min. By doing this, you can make very small particles. You’ll get tired, but hang in there!

Matcha
Matcha
sieve
Transfer matcha to the sieve
sieve
Sifting the matcha will make it into a smooth powder

Carefully collect the matcha with a brush!

After grinding, there will be vivid green powder, that’s the matcha!
You then, carefully collect it using a brush and put it in a sieve.
If you use the matcha without filtering it, it will sink to the bottom of the cup. The smell of matcha is magnificent!

Matcha
Whisking powdered green tea

The key is the speed of whisking matcha and the water temperature!

Let’s have matcha. You’ll use about 2 teaspoons of matcha per cup.
Mix the matcha in with hot water using a brush. Mix it as if your drawing the letter “M”. If the water is too cold, it will not create foam, so please use water that is 80 to 85 degrees Celsius.
Never use boiling water, it’ll be too hot to drink. Lastly, you finish by getting rid of the large bubbles.

Asahiyaki

Asahi Pottery

A different tea experience

You can have tea with their original Houji-cha Yokan (aduki bean jelly).
The matcha doesn’t taste bitter, and its sophisticated taste will enchant you.
The tea will be served with pottery called “Asahi-yaki”. It’s been done this way for over 400 years in Uji, and the pottery is kept in front of the shop.
You can go see the tea house and buy the special pottery, so it’s nice to drop by after milling tea. This time, I visited the first kobo, but there are a 2nd and a 3rd kobo where you can experience making hand-rolled matcha and Asahi-yaki. They have other options that’ll satisfy tea maniacs, so please talk to them if you’re interested!

Byodoin and Ujigami Shrine, both built 1,000 years ago, are very close to this tea house.
Please visit Uji!

Map

Yamada-10 Uji, Uji-shi, Kyōto 611-0021, 611-0021

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AUTHOR

kyoami

kyoami

Writer/ Translator

I love Japanese folkcraft article, traditional handicrafts and antiques. I’m seeking the Japanese people’s religious outlooks and its origins that are behind Japanese people’s unique sense and techniques rooted in the ordinary life.

Information

Address Yamada-10 Uji, Uji-shi, Kyōto 611-0021, 611-0021
Hours 10:00~17:00
Price Fee 1,200 yen(1,290 yen including tax) ※The fee include all the tools and ingredients.
Close Monday (the following weekday if Monday is a national holiday)
Access 15 min walk from JR Uji station. 8 min walk from Keihan Uji station.
Phone 0774-20-1100
Website http://www.ujikoubou.com/index.cgi (Japanese text only)