The Aiya Matcha Emerald Experience: Valentine’s Day in Japan

February 10th, 2014

New for 2014, in addition to sharing Matcha news, recipes, stories, trade show news, and all things Matcha, we are excited to start a new feature of the Aiya Matcha Blog – The Emerald Experience.  In this series of posts we are going to share a bit more about Japan, its culture, and some of the traditions that shape the land from which the Matcha you drink everyday comes.  For our first post, we are going to talk a little bit about a Western Holiday that has taken on it’s own unique shape in Japan – Valentine’s Day.

JR Valentine's Promotion

 

While the traditional image of Valentine’s Day in western culture is that of men buying flowers, cards, chocolates, etc for the women they love, in Japan the opposite is the cultural norm; generally speaking, on Valentine’s Day in Japan, women give gifts to the men in their lives.  And while giving flowers and cards is slowly becoming more popular, the most common gift women give is chocolate (either handmade or store bought).  Handmade chocolate in particular is the preferred gift as it is seen to have more thought, sincerity, and effort put into the gift-giving process.  The chocolate-giving custom is, in fact, so widespread that most Japanese chocolate companies make over half of their annual sales in the week leading up to Valentine’s Day.

Culturally speaking, the meaning behind adult women giving gifts is also different; it may be genuinely romantic or may be simply polite.  In addition to expressing their feelings for the one(s) they are romantically interested in, Japanese women also make chocolates for their bosses, male friends, co-workers, and other men in their life.  Chocolates given under these conditions are referred to as “giri chocolate,” chocolate given to be polite and not exclude anyone in the social/professional circle.  This practice is similar to how American elementary school children hand out bought/handmade valentines to all their classmates and not just the object(s) of their affection.  To more clearly show their feelings to that special someone, women will include an extra gift or something special along with using more expensive or better quality chocolate in the gift they give.  The Japanese call these “honmei chocolates,” or chocolates that express true feeling.

As a final point, it is important to note that the cultural expectations surrounding Valentine’s Day are slowly shifting in Japan.  In recent years, the pressure to give giri chocolates is decreasing as young women are starting to make more chocolates for their close female friends in addition to their romantic interests.  In this way, the meaning behind Valentine’s Day in Japan is shifting more in line with how it has shifted in the West – a celebration of both romantic and platonic love.

Aiya Matcha Holiday Sale – St. Valentine’s Day 2014

February 7th, 2014

Who says everything on Valentine’s day has to be red? This year, rather than buy the same old chocolates and flowers, why not make that special someone a sweet Matcha treat from the heart instead?

To help you start this new tradition, Aiya Matcha is excited to announce an all new sale for 2014- The St. Valentine’s Day Sale!

Starting today and available exclusively to consumers of our Aiya brand, all types of Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha are 20% off. Simply enter the discount code Valentines2014 on checkout to save 20% off all 100g bags of Conventional and Organic Cooking Grade Matcha in your cart. This deal is only good for one week so make sure to take advantage of it before it’s too late!!*

For some inspiration on what to make, please check out our full recipes page!

Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at contact@aiya-america.com!

To start shopping head on over to the Aiya Matcha Consumer Store!

*The Valentines2014 discount code is only valid on 100g bags of conventional and organic cooking grade Matcha ordered through aiyamatcha.com from 12:00AM PST Feb 7, 2014 until 11:59PM on Feb 14, 2014 at consumer pricing. Aiya reserves the right to terminate or alter this promotion at any time without prior notice.

Aiya Matcha Monthly Radiation Test Report Available – February 2014

February 3rd, 2014

The radiation test report is available for our February 2014 shipment.  It once again confirms that all of our Matcha and loose leaf teas are safe for consumption.  Copies available upon request.

Aiya Matcha Feb 2014 Radiation Report

Winter Fancy Food Show 2014 – Aiya’s Matcha Green Tea

January 28th, 2014

Last week was the annual Winter Fancy Food Show in San Francisco. During the time we were up in San Francisco the weather was beautiful. Usually this time of year San Francisco can be bit chilly, but to our surprise the weather was very mild and pleasant. The weather was perfect to enjoy a relaxing cup of Matcha green tea or a nice warm Matcha latte. The Fancy Food Show is always exciting and you can always expect to have a good show. There is always a good turn out, the exhibitors are great, and plenty of opportunities can present themselves which can make for the start of a good new year.

Every year the Winter Fancy Food Show has a great turnout with many exhibitors and plenty of attendees. Being that Matcha is viewed as a superfood, attending a trade show like the Fancy Food Show is a great way for us to meet the type of customers that enjoy Matcha. California is known to be liberal and full of people that tend to seek healthy, alternative ways of living, so San Francisco feels like a natural fit for Matcha. The traffic at our booth is always good at this show, and it’s a good way to see people’s attitude toward your product up close and learn what new trends may be emerging.

For those that love food, the Fancy Food Show is a great opportunity to discover new items and see what items are about to come out onto the market. What is also great is that all these items are available for purchase somewhere on the market. There is always a great mix of different food and beverage items whether you are looking for something healthy, organic, decadent, and so forth. Although Matcha is a healthy product, we like the versatility it has in appealing to various tastes.

This year we at Aiya are looking to grow and expand our brand into retail shops. There seems to be many opportunities for us to grow this year and we look forward to being able to provide good-quality Matcha to more people in North America. If the Winter Fancy Food Show is any indicator of how the year will play out, then we are very optimistic for what the year may bring. Matcha still isn’t as popular as other superfoods like acai berries, chai seeds, and so forth, but it’s still on the rise. 2014 looks like it may be the year for Matcha as even Coca-Cola has named Matcha one of the top 5 trends for 2014.

 

Aiya Matcha Monthly Radiation Test Report Available – January 2014

January 6th, 2014

The radiation test report is available for our January 2014 shipment.  It once again confirms that all of our Matcha and loose leaf teas are safe for consumption.  Copies available upon request.

Aiya Matcha Tea Field

Making Matcha Recipes – How to Create Your Own Matcha Recipe

December 12th, 2013

Matcha Mountain on Plate

When it comes to working with Matcha, it being a powdered tea infinitely expands the ways in which you can use it creatively.  One of our favorite ways has always been using it as an ingredient in recipes.  So, we always do our best to work with and devise all kinds of new recipes, in order to spark our customers and readers into working with Matcha in other ways in addition to pure, hot tea.  For this installment of Making Matcha Recipes, however, we would like to take a different approach and, rather than give a new recipe, we’d like to share three big tips on what to look for in a recipe that could work well with Matcha.  If you think about it, there may already be many recipes you already make that fit some/all of these criteria.

1. Flavor

Matcha tea has a fairly subtle flavor and, while it can work well in symphony with other flavors, it can also be easily overpowered by strong flavors.  When considering adding Matcha to a prospective recipe, a simple vanilla recipe will almost always work.  If the recipe involves spices (cinnamon, clove, etc), aromatics, or other assertive flavors, Matcha may wind up playing more of a supporting role than being the main flavor.  If a recipe contains a strong ground or dry ingredient, you can try substituting Matcha for it entirely or in part, so if a recipe calls for 1 tablespoon of ginger, for example, try doing 1 teaspoon of ginger and the remaining 2 teaspoons as Matcha instead.

Possible Flavor Pairings: Vanilla (ice cream, custard), plain sugar (sugar cookies, pie), milks/creams (lattes, creme brulee), simple frostings (butter cream, cream cheese).

2. Color

A secondary but very important aspect of working with Matcha is the natural, lovely green color it imparts on to whatever it is added to.  When a person sees Matcha made into tea for the first time, they are usually taken aback by how green it is.  Retaining this color is something Matcha recipes usually strive for so it is commonly paired with light ingredients such as white sugar, white chocolate, and milk or cream.  Visual presentation of food, especially desserts, is very important, so always give consideration to how the deep Matcha green is going to combine with the other colors in the recipe.  If a recipe makes an overly brown batter, the green color may not come through and instead make it have more of a muddy appearance.  Even though delicious, there is the chance the color of a recipe can be a bit off-putting, as people eat with their eyes first.

Possible Ingredients to Avoid: Brown sugar, molasses, food coloring.

3. Baking Time and Temperature

If using Matcha for baking, the amount of time and the temperature to which you expose Matcha is just as important as the color and composition of the batter itself.  Matcha, as an all natural powder, is somewhat heat sensitive and exposing it to high temperatures for long periods of time can make it brown and lose the brilliant green one aims for when working with Matcha.

Suggested Times and Temps: 10-20 minutes bake time, at anything lower than 400 degrees.  If you exceed 400 degrees and bake the Matcha item for a long time, you will see a good deal of browning/yellowing and that may defeat the visual impact you are going for.
Tip: If something doesn’t turn out as green as you would like, you can always dust the finished product with some Matcha.

If you keep these three things in mind when working with Matcha in existing recipes, you can almost certainly make something new and delicious.  With the holidays almost upon us, why not try adding Matcha to one of your usual holiday traditions?  Green is always welcome at the holiday table!

And always remember, if (for whatever reason) things do not turn out delicious on the first go, don’t be discouraged!  Keep trying and experimenting.  Sometimes making a slight change in a recipe is exactly what it needs!

If you find a recipe that turns out particularly well, please let us know!  Feel free to send us the recipe and pictures of the final product at contact@aiya-america.com.

Making Matcha Recipe – Part XIII: Matcha Custard Pie

December 5th, 2013

For our thirteenth entry in Making Matcha Recipes, we made our newest  recipe – Matcha Custard Pie.  A delicious fusion of a classic pie concept with Matcha green tea, this pie is a wonderful way to introduce people to the delicious world of baking with Matcha.

Take a look at the whole post below as well as thoughts and impressions on the process of the all new recipe.

When you’re finished reading this post, we recommend looking over the previous twelve installments of Making Matcha Recipes:  Matcha Krispy Treats,  Matcha Chocolate Cottage CakeMatcha Tofu Ice CreamMatcha Chocolate Chip Rice CookiesMatcha White Chocolate Salted Caramel BonbonsMatcha Hot ChocolateMatcha Chocolate Dipped MadeleinesMatcha Roll CookiesMatcha Ice Cream,  Matcha Premium Ice Cream, Matcha Marshmallows, and Matcha Brownies.

Daniel Says:

“I devised the recipe with Thanksgiving and the holiday season in mind.  In previous recipes, Matcha has paired quite well with custard based ice creams and vanilla flavored recipes so I knew a basic custard pie recipe was screaming for some Matcha to spice it up.

As long as you follow the recipe as written, this pie is not difficult to make at all.  The one strong recommendation I would make is to give good consideration to the kind of pie crust you use.  For the test recipe I used a store bought graham cracker shell and while it came out quite delicious, I think a different kind of pie shell or even a homemade shell may have been better.  Don’t be afraid to experiment with it!”

Aiya Matcha Monthly Radiation Test Available – December 2013

December 4th, 2013

The newest radiation test report is available for our December shipment.  It once again confirms that all of our Matcha and loose leaf teas are safe for consumption.  Copies available upon request.

Aiya Matcha Field

Aiya Matcha 2013 Holiday Gift Set Sale

December 3rd, 2013

Aiya Matcha Premium Gift Set Pure White Bowl

 

December has just arrived and the holidays are once again upon us!  To follow up our annual Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales, Aiya is happy to bring back another yearly tradition – The Holiday Aiya Gift Set Sale.  Starting today (December 3rd) and running all the way to New Years Eve, ALL Aiya gift sets are on sale.

Each Aiya gift set starts with a premium Matcha whisk and Matcha scoop in a beautiful gift box.  From there you can customize the Matcha and bowl type however you like.  Select a 30g tin of Matcha from our Premium, Ceremonial, or Organic Ceremonial grades and then choose a deep soil, pure white, or black pearl Matcha tea bowl to go with it.  In addition, each set also comes with an Aiya DVD covering how your Matcha makes its way from a seed in Nishio, Japan to a delicious bowl of Matcha in your home.  You’ll also find Matcha making tips and has an instructional video on how to make your bowl of Matcha even more like a professional tea master!  An Aiya Matcha gift set is the perfect gift for any Matcha lover in your life.

Sale details vary slightly by customer type so please make sure to read over the section applicable to you:

For Wholesale Customers:

From Tuesday, December 3rd 2013 to Tuesday, December 31st 2013, ALL Aiya gift sets are 10% off.  To take advantage of this offer, please enter the discount code “2013HolidayGiftSetWH” (no spaces) at checkout.*

For Consumers:

From Tuesday, December 3rd 2013 to Tuesday, December 31st 2013, ALL Aiya gift sets are 20% off.  To take advantage of this offer, please enter the discount code “2013HolidayGiftSet” (no spaces) at checkout.*

To take advantage of this deal and start shopping right now, head over to AiyaMatcha.com.

If you have any questions or would like further clarification, please don’t hesitate to contact us at contact@aiya-america.com.

*Discount is only valid for gift set orders placed through AiyaMatcha.com’s consumer and wholesale stores respectively  from December 3rd 2013 at 12:01 AM PST until December 31st 2013 at 11:59 PM PST.  Aiya reserves the right to terminate this promotion at any time without prior notice.

Aiya Matcha Cyber Monday 2013 Sale

November 29th, 2013

Aiya Matcha Wall of Tins

 

Hot on the heels of our Black Friday Weekend sale Aiya is excited to announce the savings aren’t quite done yet!  For one more day you can save a good deal on everything Aiya with our Cyber Monday 2013 sale.  The details are below.  The sale ends tonight at MIDNIGHT so don’t miss out!

To start shopping, head over to aiyamatcha.com right away!

For Wholesale Customers:

Enter the discount code “CyberMonday2013WH” (no spaces) at checkout in our Online Wholesale Store to save 15% off everything in your cart.*

For Consumers:

Enter the discount code “CyberMonday2013” (no spaces) at checkout in our Online Consumer Store to save 30% off everything in your cart.*

*Discount only valid on products in stock at and purchased through our online wholesale and consumer stores respectively.  Orders must be placed from 12:00AM to 11:59 PM PST on Monday, December 2nd to qualify.  Aiya reserves the right to change the terms of or terminate this promotion without prior notice.