May 2023 Ikedoki Tea News

As May draws to a close, we have had an exciting month behind us.

Team member Marjolein finally joined the team in Higashisonogi in the middle of this month, after waiting patiently for three years to come to Japan! Marjolein is ecstatic to settle in to her new home town (and go exploring!), and Matsu is relieved to have in person support so we can finally breathe more life into the Ikedoki Tea Project.
Slowly we will expand our contacts with the local tea farmers, growing our selection of Sonogi teas in the online store, welcome more guests to our day tea tours, and also welcome our online tea friends to monthly tea tastings.

May also saw the farmers finishing their shincha – fresh first flush spring harvest. To celebrate, Higashisonogi holds a special tea festival: 茶一 ‘Cha ichi’ every year. On the weekend of 19-21 May the area behind the town hall was lined with booths from local farmers selling their freshly finished spring tea. It was a lively mix with street food, kids games, local stores selling knickknacks outside their doors, live music and entertainment on a stage, tea games and even tea beer.

Tea lovers from all over Nagasaki came to stock up on their teas – we spoke with a Japanese tea instructor from Nagasaki city who bought 2 kg of tamaryokucha at the festival from her favourite tea farmer! 

On 28 May, there was a Sonogi Cha tea promotion event at Kofukuji temple in Nagasaki city. The morning was so popular that the farmers selling their special blend of 9 tea farmers’ teas was sold out after 2 hours! The local Japanese tea instructors were brewing tamaryokucha tea for everyone to taste and there was a long queue waiting to be able to sit and taste. Some visitors even joined the queue twice! Freshly picked tea leaf tempura was tremendously popular, and despite the burning sun there was a demo of traditional kamairicha processing skills in a big hot wok. 

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