27 December 2022
Stay Warm with Traditional Japanese Hot Drinks
What could be more delightful than enjoying a delicious hot drink in the comfort of your own home instead of having to brave the cold to get your usual latte to go? Japan offers a wide variety of hot drinks that can be enjoyed during the cold winter season with some offering attractive health benefits as an added bonus.
Here are 5 delicious and relaxing hot drinks served in authentic Japanese drinkware that will hit the spot on a cold winter day.
- Japanese Green Tea
- Matcha Tea
❄️ : For chilly days
❄️❄️ : For cold days
❄️❄️❄️ : For very cold days
Japanese Green Tea ❄️❄️
Japanese green tea is renowned for its delicious taste and beautiful color. But did you know that it is beneficial for your health, especially during the cold season?
Feeling the onset of a cold in your throat? Catechin which is the key ingredient that gives green tea its characteristic sharp flavor has antibacterial and antiviral properties. Is the cold weather making you feel a bit stressed? The elegant sweetness and umami taste of green tea created from the amino acid L-Theanine may relieve stress and induce relaxation.
Aim for around 80C°(176F°) when boiling the water to brew the tea. This will help release the tea's delicious flavors and reap its many benefits. Remember, green tea does contain caffeine, though not as much as coffee. So drink it mindfully and in moderation.
Warm up to a cup of Japanese green tea and enjoy its wonderful flavor and eye-soothing green color. For the perfect cup, pour your brew into a bright white Japanese teacup like this beautiful Heian Sakura Mino Ware Japanese Teacup.
"Hojicha" is a type of roasted Japanese green tea. It has a unique, toasty flavor that sets it apart from other types of green tea.
Hojicha contains an ingredient called pyridine which gives it its savory aroma. Pyridine is produced during the roasting process, and is expected to have a relaxing effect. Hojicha's rich, roasted scent is incredibly comforting, almost like sitting in front of a cozy fire.
Hojicha is usually served very hot, so we recommend using a thick stoneware cup like this Kousai Kiln Red Grape Hasami Yunomi Japanese Teacup. Enjoy a large cup of hot Hojicha and warm your hands around the earthy texture of stoneware.
And our recommended snack for Hojicha?
Soy sauce flavored "Senbei," Japanese rice crackers!
Matcha Tea ❄️
It may be surprising to know that winter is the best season to enjoy highly aromatic matcha green tea.
The first harvest of the year for tea leaves to make matcha tea is around late April to May. These young leaves with strong umami flavors are aged for approximately 5 months and then made into matcha powder. So November is the start of the season to enjoy matcha tea made with tea leaves of the first harvest. Winter is the time to enjoy delicious matcha tea!
The "Kuchikiri no Chaji'' tea ceremony is held every November where participants enjoy "Koicha (thick tea)" made from that year’s new matcha powder. This tea ceremony is considered the "New Year's Day" for tea masters as they share the joy of drinking the matcha tea made with the first flush tea leaves of the year.
Feel the warmth of freshly made matcha tea through a handmade matcha bowl like this Japanese Fan Hanazume Kutani Matcha Bowl Chawan.
Have you ever heard of "Amazake?"
This is a delicious hot creamy Japanese beverage that has a long history dating back over 1,300 years. In recent years, its mellow sweet flavor and health benefits have been rediscovered, and Amazake has become increasingly popular.
Although served cold and hot, Amazake is traditionally a hot beverage that is prepared with either sake lee, a by-product of sake production, or Koji rice, an ingredient that starts up the fermentation process in Japanese food products such as sake, soy sauce and miso. The latter type is the non-alcoholic style of Amazake and can be enjoyed by people of all ages.
With its high nutritional value, Amazake has been dubbed as "drinkable IV fluid." It can help boost your skin condition, improve digestion, and help you fight fatigue.
Amazake is a rich and creamy beverage with a slight sweet taste and its thick consistency lets the warmth of Amazake slowly spread throughout your body. The white cloudy color of Amazake receives a further calming tone served in the Hasami Ware cup designed with the two rabbits, the Japanese zodiac sign for the coming year.
We hope you try Amazake and enjoy its health benefits and wonderfully soothing taste to get you through the cold weather.
If you are a big fan of "Anko," red bean paste, you will love warming up with a bowl of "Oshiruko."
Oshiruko is a traditional sweet treat made by heating sweet azuki bean soup and adding grilled mochi (rice cakes) or dumplings. It's a classic Japanese winter treat served in small lacquerware soup bowls with lids to keep the Oshiruko from getting cold. The MINI SAKURA Yamanaka Lacquerware Miso Soup Bowl is the perfect size for one serving of Oshiruko.
The origin of Oshiruko dates back to the Edo period about 300 years ago. The original form of Oshiruko called "Susuri-dango" was a savory soup made from powdered azuki beans with rice cakes made from sticky rice. The dish was just sprinkled with sugar which was a precious commodity at the time. Surprisingly, this dish was not eaten as a dessert but as a side dish for enjoying sake. The history of how this savory dish came to be a dessert is unclear, but Oshiruko is now garnished with salty dried kombu seaweed as a way to complement its sweet flavors.
A warm, sweet snack may be just what you need to thaw out on a cold winter afternoon.
Unwind with a delicious hot Japanese drink and warm up your cold body from the inside. And discover some new ways to enjoy Japanese drinkware and lacquerware.
Stay warm and toasty, and get through the cold winter with traditional Japanese hot beverages.