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CHAPTER: A Modern Japanese Cup Optimized for Tea at Your Desk

Good work starts with a good break. CHAPTER is a modern take on the traditional Japanese tea cup, made for the work from home era and designed to last one hundred years.

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Sencha Green Tea for Your Workspace

1.Good work starts with a good break. Take a break with CHAPTER, a cup that brings an authentic Japanese tea-experience to your desk.

2.CHAPTER is a beautiful, minimalist, all-in-one design ceramic cup specifically designed for Japanese tea, that will also last you 100 years.

3.CHAPTER comes with packs of select Japanese tea, so you can concentrate or relax right out of the box.

CHAPTER: A Tea Cup for Good Breaks in the Work-From-Home Era

Good work starts with a good break.

2020 saw great changes to the way we work.

Opportunities to travel have drastically decreased, and we have to deal with working remotely.

Work-from-home can become an unrelenting, endless stream of tasks, making it difficult to switch off and take a break. 

This is why we, Minocamo Chaho developed CHAPTER, a modern teacup for the work-from-home era. Our goal is to help you find a new way to take a break in your living and working environment.

We named this cup "CHAPTER" in the hopes that it can provide an end (and beginning) for your work, and let you refresh over a fresh cup of tea.

We hope that CHAPTER will become your new companion, reminding you to take a break and take care of yourself.

 

What Is CHAPTER?

CHAPTER is the Most Optimized Cup for Sencha Tea at Your Desk

 

We searched for the simplest way to make a cup of tea. The answer we arrived at was to create a measuring cup with a lid to set your tea bag on.

 

A Modern, yet Traditional Tea Cup

We designed CHAPTER to be functional, minimal, and aesthetically fit both Asian and Western rooms.

With the lid on, it’s sleek and modern. 

With the lid off, it’s a recognizable, traditional tea cup.

Made Without a Finish, yet Stain-Resistant and Durable

CHAPTER is made without a finish, meaning there is no final coating to protect the base layer. Usually tea cups without finish are not very stain-resistant.

However, made via Tajimi-jime—a high-temperature firing process that Maruasa Porcelain Factory takes pride in— CHAPTER is sturdy and stain-resistant.

CHAPTER has a measuring line that indicates the exact amount of hot water needed is added inside the cup with edge processing. This line can only be added on cups without finish.

Inside Line: with this line, you can pour the exact amount of hot water (180ml) for a single tea bag serving, as recommended by Minocamo Chaho.

What is Tajimi-jime?

Tajimi-jime is a Firing Method that Produces Durability in Commercial Tableware

Tajimi-jime is a technique called “reduction firing.” It involves firing unglazed ceramics at temperatures of 1,300°C (2,372°F ) for 24 hours in a kiln with very low oxygen.

Household tableware sold at general stores is made by oxidation firing. These two techniques are quite different in stain resistance and durability.

Reduction firing requires more in cost and labor, but we chose it because Maruasa Porcelain Factory aims to be the world’s top OEM that lives up to any demands.

Maruasa Porcelain Factory’s shuttle kiln. The porcelain is set onto mobile carts that are then loaded into the kiln.

The Clay Chosen for Tajimi-jime

The material used in this product is a type of high-quality clay chosen to bring out the best qualities of reduction firing. This type of clay also has a high density that cannot implement the Tajimi-jime process without a taut molding technique.

This clay was personally chosen by Director Matsubara after much experimentation and is used to bring out the great qualities of Tajimi-jime. This is the clay used for CHAPTER, and it makes it even more difficult for tea stains and other pigments to transfer.

CHAPTER is a product brought to life by a combination of handpicked clay, the Maruasa Porcelain Factory’s skilled artisans, and Tajimi-jime. Almost no manufacturers exist in Japan today that can make cups this durable from unglazed ceramic.

Sencha Tea and Work

Various flavors—astringency, bitterness, savoriness, and sweetness—can all be found in Japanese tea.

The same caffeine that gives tea its bitter flavor is also found in coffee and energy drinks. Many people wake themselves up with a cup of coffee before the start of their workday. 

Sencha (Japanese green tea) has the highest caffeine content next to gyokuro out of all the Japanese tea available and is the best for when you want to concentrate on work. Caffeine is particularly easy to extract in a short amount of time at high temperatures, so a warm cup of sencha is something you’ll love to have in your working environment.

Furthermore, theanine—the compound that gives tea its great taste—is an amino acid not found in any other plant. This compound makes tea great for creating a relaxing atmosphere.

Whether you want to relax or stay concentrated, you can introduce a great break to your everyday remote working life with sencha!

About Minocamo Chaho

A Cup of High-Quality Tea From High-Quality Leaves

The tea leaves used by Minocamo Chaho are grown in the mountains of Higashi-Shirakawa, in Gifu at an elevation of 600, near the boundary for cultivation.

These tea leaves are grown in a harsh environment with extreme temperature differences that give them a unique aroma and flavor. We only carry products that bring out this flavor and enhance the features of the original ingredients.

Through CHAPTER, we hope to share the charms of Japanese tea and teaware with people all around the world.

Sencha (Japanese Green Tea)

Green Tea Bags (3g x 8 bags)

Our green tea is made to be “delicious brewed at any temperature.” If you’re ever undecided on what to choose from Minocamo Chaho, you’ll want to give this a try first.

It has a refreshing sweetness when brewed at a low temperature, and an invigoratingly fresh fragrance from the tea leaves that is enhanced when brewed in boiling hot water; a deep flavor with savory notes and sharp astringency. We hope you enjoy the many facets of Japanese tea that change with the temperature.

Hojicha (Roasted Green Tea)

Roasted Green Tea Bags (3g x 8 bags)

Typical roasted tea is made with leaves from the second and following harvests. Minocamo Chaho’s tea, however, has an exceptionally mellow fragrance that comes from using only first-pick leaves.

While roasted teas are typically steeped in hot water, our product uses first-pick leaves that can be enjoyed in any season, as they also taste great in cold brews.

Enjoy a savory flavor when brewing in boiling hot water, or a mellow sweetness when using slightly cooler water.

Wakocha (Japanese Black Tea)

Japanese Black Tea Bags (3g x 8 bags)

Japanese black tea is made with only leaves grown and harvested in Japan. This tea is known for its subtle flavor, with little bitterness compared to black teas produced outside Japan.

Minocamo Chaho’s black tea is a blend of three varieties cultivated in Higashi-Shirakawa. This results in a refreshingly sweet brew with a vibrant aroma.

This tea can be enjoyed with milk or sugar. However, Minocamo Chaho’s black tea is so easy to drink that you’ll want to try it straight first, to taste its original flavor.

How to Use CHAPTER

STEP 1: Pour

Pour hot water to the line in the cup. The line measures the ideal amount of water (180ml) for a single tea bag serving.

STEP 2: Put In

Be sure to put the tea bag in the cup after pouring the hot water. You can better draw out the flavor by pouring in hot water first, then letting it cool slightly.

Sencha will quickly become bitter and tart when steeped at high temperatures. On the other hand, it becomes easier to extract theanine, its flavor compound, once the hot water has cooled.

STEP 3: Steep

Replace the lid and wait for one minute. At this time, it’s perfectly safe for you to move your cup to your desk with the lid on.

STEP 4: Remove and Set Aside

Dunk your tea bag up and down two or three times to extract the tea. Set the tea bag aside on the removed lid. With this lid, you won’t need to rush or worry about finding a plate to set your tea bag!

It’s ready. Introduce sencha tea into your workspace.

During a pause in your work, get up from your chair, brew some tea, enjoy the aroma that blankets your senses.

Feel free to brew a second cup once you’ve fully enjoyed a good break that refreshes all five senses.

Three Color Variations 

Clear Grey is a subtle color created from a reaction between the iron in clay and clear glaze. 

The second color is a coarse Matte Black. 

Clay Beige utilizes the Tajimi glazing technique that fires unglazed ceramics at high temperatures. These are the three colors we use.

All color variations have an unglazed inside that brings out the inherent flavor of the clay.

 

Clear Grey

This is a color unique to this product that can only be created by the pairing of this clay and clear glaze. The exterior’s porcelain-like luster and the inside’s raw texture create a charming contrast.

 

Matte Black

This is a calming hue without any shine. The rough texture of the cup is due to the fact that it’s unglazed and allows the user to feel the clay, feel the earth that these cups were made of.

 

Clay Beige

This cup embodies the feature of unglazed ceramics that is specific to Tajimi both inside and out. You’ll be able to enjoy the changes in its surface as it ages with use.

Not Mino Ware, Not MADE IN JAPAN, but MADE IN TAJIMI

The surface of the tea cups are clearly printed with the words MADE IN TAJIMI.

The Mino area is a major pottery producer in Japan, but Mino ware has such a broad range in both price and variety that it’s said to be “characterized by having no distinct features.” The style consists of products ranging from mass productions made with inexpensive clays to works of art made by living national treasures.

Maruasa Porcelain Factory handpicks their high-quality clays, fires ceramics at 1,300°C (2,372°F ) for 24 hours, and continues to create products that will stay the same in appearance and shape for one hundred years. It is for this reason that they are classified not as Mino ware, but Tajimi ware.

Currently, a product is legally given the brand name MADE IN JAPAN if the final manufacturing process takes place in Japan. There are no common criterias internationally for the term “MADE IN ...” so there’s no denying that it ends up being first come, first serve.

In the end, even if a product is branded as such when it isn’t clear what exactly classifies as being MADE IN JAPAN, then it’s the same as not being “made in Japan” at all.

The products we make are truly MADE IN TAJIMI.

The MADE IN TAJIMI logo is the result of our respect for Maruasa Porcelain Factory’s professionalism and experience.

 

The Team Behind This Project

Minocamo Chaho—a brand redefining Japanese tea to adapt to modern living

Green tea is ideal for both when you want to relax and when you want to stay concentrated. Japanese tea, a drink that can be consumed in any situation, can be considered one of the most important beverages in modern everyday life.

However, the way it’s sold and the teaware needed can hardly be called contemporary. CHAPTER as a product will be a significant step for Minocamo Chaho to redefine Japanese tea in various ways.

TENT—a creative unit dedicated to making everyday tools

The members of this unit have reached some of their best ideas during their downtime, not just focusing on work but by resting and chatting with one another.  

With CHAPTER, TENT aimed to bring to life “Japanese tea for producing ideas” and “the view of a workplace with Japanese tea,” both things that they truly wanted themselves.

Maruasa Porcelain Factory—established one hundred years ago in Tajimi

The vision of this company is to offer happiness and joy to people through the cups that everyone holds in their hands. The porcelain manufacturer produces an extensive range of items from commercial products to branded tableware mainly focused on mugs, coffee cups, teacups, and saucers.

The production of CHAPTER, which required a higher precision than common ceramics, was possible thanks to Maruasa Porcelain Factory.

Using a design sample made with a 3D printer, we went through trial and error to brainstorm how to make this idea come to life in porcelain.

*Our journey thus far is posted on Minocamo Chaho’s note article. (Japanese)

*The meeting notes taken by Minocamo Chaho and TENT are also posted on note. (Japanese)

The Rewards

With this project, we want to provide an opportunity to everyone that purchases and supports CHAPTER to make taking a good “break” during work a new habit.

For that reason, tea from Minocamo Chaho will be sent with all rewards as a set.

*Separate purchases of CHAPTER cups will also come as a set with a single-use trial tea bag packet. This is so that you can immediately test out the cup when you receive it.

The rewards we have prepared for our supporters are listed below:

  1. CHAPTER (Clear Grey) with Trial Tea Bag
  2. CHAPTER (Matte Black) with Trial Tea Bag
  3. CHAPTER (Clay Beige) with Trial Tea Bag
  4. CHAPTER Set of 2 Cups (Clear Grey & Matte Black) with 2 Trial Tea Bags
  5. CHAPTER Set of 2 Cups (Clear Grey & Clay Beige) with 2 Trial Tea Bags
  6. CHAPTER Set of 2 Cups (Matte Black & Clay Beige) with 2 Trial Tea Bags
  7. CHAPTER Set of 3 Cups (3 Colors) with 3 Trial Tea Bags
  8. CHAPTER (Clear Grey) & Two Packages of 8 Tea Bags (Sencha and Hojicha)
  9. CHAPTER (Matte Black) & Two Packages of 8 Tea Bags (Sencha and Hojicha)
  10. CHAPTER (Clay Beige) & Two Packages of 8 Tea Bags (Sencha and Hojicha)
  11. CHAPTER Set of 3 Cups (3 Colors) & Three Packages of 8 Tea Bags (Sencha, Hojicha, Japanese Black Tea)
  12. Three 8-Count Packages of Tea: Sencha, Hojicha, Japanese Black Tea

*Please be aware that you might be asked to pay customs duty.

Project Schedule

Late May: end of the crowdfunding project

June: packaging of the rewards

Late June: all shipments will be made

 * Additional rewards, to be added during the project if the initial production is completed early, may result in changes to the above schedule.

* Available shipping areas and days required for delivery are subject to change due to COVID-19. We kindly ask for and appreciate your understanding.

Project Members

Minocamo Chaho, a Japanese tea brand actively promoting the concept of “a short break in your daily life.”

We provide green tea from Higashi-Shirakawa in Gifu, an area that is well-known for tea cultivation, as well as products that help introduce Japanese tea into our contemporary lifestyles.

Minocamo Chaho Website (Japanese)

Minocamo Chaho CEO Naoya Ito

Worked at a specialty Japanese tea shop and wholesaler in Nagoya in 2016. Obtained his Japanese Tea Instructor Certificate in 2018 (100% score on the judging exam) and was selected as a Japanese Tea Instructor chapter member (the youngest in the chapter) after being evaluated by expertise and score from the exam. Started Minocamo Chaho in 2019 where he assumed office as CEO. Established chaen Co., Ltd. in 2020.

Project Management: Saaya Matsushita

Involved in communication planning for domestic companies at an advertising agency. Has participated as a project manager since Minocamo Chaho’s establishment. Acquired her Japanese Tea Advisor Certificate. Co-founded chaen Co., Ltd. in 2020.

Tea Master Masashi Taguchi (special thanks)

Born to tea farmers in Higashi-Shirakawa, Gifu Prefecture. After working as an intern at the National Tea Research Institute, he was employed by the third sector company Shin Seiki Kobo Ltd. in Higashi-Shirakawa. Took part in starting Minocamo Chaho in 2019. Since then, he now selects the tea leaves, roasts, and makes blends for Minocamo Chaho products.

Specifications and Precautions

Front (with logo)

Back (without logo)

Size

Lid on: D 76mm x H 110mm

Yunomi Cup: D 76mm x H 82mm

Lid: D 76mm x H 28mm

Quantity: Approx. 180ml (when poured to the inside line)
 

Specifications

Material: Porcelain (no water absorbency)

Microwavable and dishwasher safe (*Please note that this product may collide into and damage other tableware in the dishwasher.)

Oven-safe up to 200℃ (392°F)

 

Precautions

CHAPTER may vary slightly as a finished product due to the characteristics of the material and manufacturing process.

① Faded or blurred logo print

White circles may appear in the logo because of the process that prints the logo onto the clay.

② What appears to be a flaw in the Clay Beige cup

Clay molecules will collide into one another when fired unglazed at high temperatures that may result in dents and bulges as seen pictured. This does not mean it is a defective product nor flawed.

③ Color changes on Clay Beige

Changes in color (mainly black, orange, and white) may appear as pictured above due to a chemical reaction that occurs when the clay is fired unglazed at high temperatures. This does not mean it is a defective product nor a stain.

④ Difference in glazes on Matte Black and Clear Grey

There may appear to be a gap forming due to the combination of the body and lid. This is because of a process that involves applying glaze only just to the line without getting it inside the lid or body of the cup. This application process is done entirely by hand. Please understand that not all products will be the same as the way the glaze is applied will result in individual differences.

⑤ Airtightness

This product is not completely airtight. Since it is a yunomi cup and its lid, please understand that it is not meant to be used as an airtight storage container. A slight slack is formed when this type of shape is made into a ceramic. The lid, however, is made into a shape that locks into the cup so, although it won’t be airtight, it can be placed on the cup without any slide by matching up the centers.

⑥ Transportability with hot water

This product is different from a double-walled glass cup as it will become very cold or hot depending on the temperature of the beverage inside. Please regard it the same as a normal porcelain cup when it comes to temperature changes. It will become extremely hot when freshly boiled water is poured inside, so please express sufficient caution when transporting. The inside of the cup will have a line that measures the exact amount of water for one cup of tea. Once hot water has been poured to the indicated line, we suggest holding the cup above the line when transporting.  

 

Risk and Challenges

Chaen Co., Ltd. is wholeheartedly carrying out this project in order to be able to deliver CHAPTER to our customers in a satisfying way.

Slight differences in shape and color may be caused by differences in shrinkage due to firing (the process to high-temperature fire the yunomi cup) and the nature of ceramics. Smudges and stains will easily be noticeable on the Matte Black when touched in comparison to other colors. Please be assured that these smudges will always come off by washing or wiping the cup.

Scheduled delivery is subject to be early or late due to the state of production. If we receive more orders than expected, the time of delivery may be delayed. We will notify all customers in the unlikely event that there is a change in shipping time.

Closing Words

Regardless of the subject, whether it’s the project’s goal, products, reward details, or members, please feel free to contact us if you wish to share your opinions or would like further clarification. We will sincerely respond to all our supporters.

We hope to deliver this product and concept not only to those working hard in Japan, but to everyone around the world.

Thank you for your kind support. 

https://www.instagram.com/minocamo_chaho/

https://mchaho.com


 


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