The words of the great 16th Century Tea master, Sen no Rikyu, still ring true today. However, the simplicity of his message is in no way a recipe for the mundane or mediocre. It represents the essence of the Way of Tea, a spiritual path which emphasizes the four principles of wa – harmony, kei – respect, sei – purity, and jaku – tranquility, using tea as the medium of practice and study. But like most Zen traditions, simplicity and essence are often difficult to attain. Without good tea leaves, proper water temperature, the correct utensils, and the knowledge of proper preparation techniques; one cannot produce a good cup of tea.
It is our mission at Charaku Fine Japanese Tea to provide you with the materials and resources to create a thoroughly enjoyable tea experience; whether it is your own personal daily ritual for physical and spiritual health, or a desire to offer the ultimate in omotenashi, “hospitality,” to your guests. We offer a wide variety of high quality teas from various appellations throughout Japan. We also offer Certified Organic Matcha, produced from tencha, hand-picked and granite stone-milled in the traditional method. Our teas are sourced from artisan producers, many of whom are multi-generational, family tea farmers. Charaku teas are fresh packed, in Japan, in nitrogen-flushed small batches in order to bring you the freshest (and therefore healthiest) Japanese tea possible.
We also carry the utensils and accessories necessary to properly prepare and enjoy our quality Japanese tea. This includes hand crafted tea wares, carefully selected from Japanese and international artists. In addition, we provide the educational resources to enhance your understanding and appreciation of Japanese tea. Charaku literally means “Tea Pleasure,” and our hope is that our products and services will enable you to experience the pleasure of fine Japanese tea to the fullest extent!
Please travel through our website to explore the world of Charaku: The Pleasure of Fine Japanese Tea.
Fresh CupCharaku News and Events: JUNE 2013
It's that time of year again, SHINCHA IS IN! The annual new tea harvest in Japan occurs in May, and we usually receive our shipment around June. It's always an exciting time of year for Japanese tea drinkers, and this year is no exception. We're continuing to carry two of the new teas added last year; Usuki Organic Sencha from Oita, and Tsuno Sencha from Kouchi. And this year, we've added two new teas that we are proud to offer; another wonderful tea from Kagoshima Prefecture, Hayato Sencha from Kirishima City, and a smooth & sweet Tamaryoku Sencha from the famous tea producing city of Ureshino in Saga Prefecture. Our Asahina Karigane (stems of Gyokuro,) from Okabe in Shikuzoka, is also back in stock. We hope you'll enjoy all of our tea offerings!
There is still a limited quantity of 2012 harvest teas available at a 20% discount. As many of you know, our teas are nitrogen-flushed and individually small-packed in Japan to maintain maximum freshness. We never buy in bulk and re-package. Therefore, even these 2012 teas will stay fresh, unopened, well into 2014. If you'd like to stock up, or see what's still available, just drop me a line. Stock is limited and subject to availability.
We also have LOTS of new pottery inventory posted on our craft site, WaSabiDou, http://www.mingei-wasabidou.com. Over 100 pieces of new work are available from the father & son potters, Isamu and Munetoshi Tagami, from Mashiko; George Gledhill, Sachiko Furuya, and Hanako Nakazato. We also recently acquired these fantastic woodblock prints from Serizawa Keisuke, who was designated a National Living Treasure in 1956. These prints were issued by the Japan Folk Craft Museum over a few years, and these prints (one in English and one in Japanese) were hand printed in 1970. They are maps of the traditional folk kilns of Japan and are quite rare! There is also still a good selection of yunomi from John Miller as well as a vast library of classic books on Japanese arts and crafts. Just visit the site, go to Ceramics from the home page, and then enter a term in the search bar. Or, browse through all 200 hundred items under the Ceramic heading!
Finally, I've posted some fun items to my blog, http://wasabidou.blogspot.com. Over the past few years, I've collected some vintage tea export paraphernalia that has now made its way back to Japan. These tea boxes and tea literature were used by importers, just like myself, 100 years ago and earlier. People talk about the current popularity of tea in America as if it is new, but the same subjects were used in tea literature way back then as well; health, longevity, spiritual culture, affinity to nature. The big difference you can see is in the processing of tea. Steamed teas were pan-fired on the docks of Yokohama prior to shipment to withstand their long sea journey, then packed in paper-lined tin or wooden boxes. It was a far cry from nitrogen-flushed individual packs of freshly steamed tea that we use at Charaku! As always, thank you all for another year of the opportunity to share tea. Sincerely, Tatsuo Tomeoka; Charaku Fine Japanese Tea and WaSabiDou Antiques & Folk Crafts.