Although I only started drinking tea on a daily basis after living in China (short story: I’d go to a local noodle hole-in-the-wall, the waiter would drop – in addition to tea – twigs, leaves, and berries of vague provenance into a teapot; somehow, from that, came my enthusiasm for Camellia sinensis), I owe special gratitude to Japan and its predilection for unsweetened varieties.
Enter, the July 30th Chackathon (第1回茶ッカソン) in New York, sponsored by the Japanese tea company Ito En, and with lunch provided by Cha An. The phrase chackathon combines cha, Japanese for tea, and hackathon, Silicon Valleynese for carpal tunnel syndrome. The free Manhattan event was the first not held on the Pacific coast.
In essence, for every chackathon, Ito En invites the public to brainstorm various ideas on how to best promote matcha, or finely ground green tea leaves, and its health benefits to US consumers.
Although I was unable to stay the whole day, at the end of the event, attendees – after having been separated into small groups for a couple of hours – made short presentations detailing their strategies. I’d go back again if I knew that I could stay the whole day. Heck, I’ve already gone through a matcha shot and a half-bottle of genmaicha since waking up.