Hello, hello 🙂
I’ve been busy in the countryside but wanted to wish everyone a happy new year, and post about my great experience in Narai.
Yesterday, a friend and I drove to Matsumoto and then Narai. The latter has a street of old wooden houses nestled in gorgeous mountains.
We stumbled upon a great little café, and stayed a while to talk with the owner while enjoying his special syphon coffee. He showed us his 200-year old hand-painted plates, and explained the history of the coffee beans. Though I got a secondhand translation, from what I gathered, these beans only exist in Japan. In the past, the coffee garden was cultivated by Indonesians, though the location was in the Netherlands. Over time, the garden died out. Years later, the garden was reclaimed by Japanese coffee farmers and the beans are now ONLY shipped to Japan.
The shop owner suggested we drink the coffee black to really savour it. The brew was sweet without adding sugar, and its scent reminded me of Turkish coffee.
Along with it, we enjoyed Zenzai (a popular dessert made of thickened adzuki bean soup and mochi), the owner’s wife’s homemade pickles, and green tea with an unusual earthy tone. It was pleasantly grassy and unlike other green teas I’ve tasted. This is the Japan I wanted to experience!