In early April last year on a rainy day off, I was on my way to the Chiekoin cafe marble 智恵光院店 for dessert in 西陣Nishijin after lunch at culotte. The Bukkoji cafe marble仏光寺店 was one of the first cafes to which I’d been as Hitori Kyoto and had been impressed with it, so I had been curious about the Chiekoin one since I heard of its opening over three years ago. On my way there through the neighborhoods, I came across たま茶Tamacha on 上長者町通Kamichojamachi Street, east of 日暮通Higurashi Street. It caught my eyes with its charming machiya-like exterior befitting a Kyoto organic tea and art salon.
Tamacha…it rang a bell and it didn’t take long to recall that I had received a shop card for this café from Katalin who had recommended that I go there a year or two before that. Since the opportunity was right in front of me, I changed my plans and went in.
I entered into a spacious area which extended all the way back to a garden; I would say the theme of the interior was natural and sweet. To my left was a counter with shelves behind it, both places displaying tea.
To the right was a simple waiting area with goods for sale.
Beyond the front was a spacious Western-style room into which customers ascended after taking their shoes off. There were exquisite glassware on display for sale in different places, including in front of the glass doors that open out into the inner garden. A pair of Kyoto madams were chatting over tea at the table in the picture below (I took it after they left).
There aren’t many tables but a small low table by the front seemed like the proper place to sit down, so that’s where I settled in.
The only person on staff at the time, a gentle young woman in a simple and natural attire, approached me in welcome with a menu. I mentioned to her about Katalin recommending Tamacha to me and it seemed she remembered Katalin (how could you forget such a bubbly Hungarian as her☺). She kindly went through the expansive tea menu (15 to 20 blends) with me and explained that I could also customize a blend if I wished. The teas are only available hot.
The only thing to eat on the menu was chiffon cake which came as part of a set with tea and that’s what I got: ハーブシフォンケーキherb chiffon cake made with the blend, “羊の時Hitsuji no Toki (Counting Sheep)”, with tea made from “ばら色の日々Bara-iro no Hibi (Rose-colored Days)”, ￥1100.
Hitsuji no Toki“, like its name implies, consists of chamomile and lavender to induce relaxation and help in falling asleep while “Bara-iro no Hibi” consists of two kinds of roses (pink and red), hibiscus, rosehip, lemongrass, rosemary, cardamom and jasmine to aid those concerned with anti-aging, dieting, fatigue, waking up and concentration. Although full from lunch, I was easily able to eat the aromatic cake. The slightly tart tea was good with the cake and long after the cake disappeared.
Formerly a nagaya, it took the owners (there’s two) over two years to reform Tamacha into the café it is now. They wanted to create a place where customers can relax and be happy and get fuel from smiles of the people around them and the ones they’ve yet to meet (what a romantically sweet concept). The café is also used to hold workshops dealing with the arts.
I cut my visit short when I made last-minute plans to meet Iori-san at Le Sucrier but I definitely would like to go back and try making my own special blend sometime, not to mention relax in that charming space.☺