October 30, 2004
Drink quests

With a nod to the sensibilities of my mothers, we went in search of decaf coffee and sulfite-free wines today.

People drink a lot of coffee here, but decaf is not part of the food culture. There was none to be found at the Santoku supermarket. Doutor does not sell decaf. Starbucks doesn’t brew it, either. But we found some at Seijo Ishii, the fancy grocery store at LaQua. Now the Moms will be safe from getting too hyped up.

Jean’s request for sulfite-free wine required Tod to do some Japanese study. We now know that the word for organic is yuuki and sulfites are aryuusanen. Sankaboushizai means antioxidant.

First we tried the local liquor shop, Kashiwaya, and talked to Imamura-san. They have organic wine in stock, but it has sulfites. Chuckling at the thought of our mothers visiting togehter, Imamura-san promised to call her wine supplier on Monday and see if she can get some sulfite-free wine.

Seijo Ishii was plus on coffee but a minus on wine. Although the stock boy called over the sake manager, he had no idea. “Wines are made differently in some places. Maybe an Australian wine, or one from New Zealand,” he hoped as he read the labels of various bottles. He was speaking ex-rectum, of course. Grapes naturally have sulfites and nearly all wines add more as an anti-oxidizing preservative. Sulfite-free wines are not a regional phenomenon.

Santoku Liquor World has a large selection of French wines that don’t impress me, and little else. However, they had a range of Japanese sulfite-free wines, the Wine Story (wain no monogatari) line. We picked up a bottle of white and one of red. But at 500 yen a bottle, I’m not sure I want to drink them.

We’ll see how they are when we toast the Moms’ arrival tomorrow afternoon.

Posted by kuri at October 30, 2004 10:38 PM


Would “pressed decaf” coffee be acceptable to your mothers? I often get pressed decaf at Starbucks in Akita, Niigata and Sendai. I also buy the beans there and make it up at home.

If instant is okay, Nescafe makes a decaf kind…if not, you could maybe order some instant but made with drip bags from Brooks. They’re a Japanese tea and coffee company. Their decaf brew is good.

I love coffee but I can’t take the caffeine either. And no, I don’t work for any of the above companies.

Posted by: Helen on October 31, 2004 01:57 AM

This must be a most enjoyable occassion to greet the two mamasans with their every desire. Don’t show this to Mom! They’re an hour late.

Posted by: Dad on October 31, 2004 05:11 AM

I like coffee. And It was the first time to know decaf. Though during my visiting to America, I used to drink decaf, I thought it was not “coffee”, it was completely differnt drink.
Anyway I seldome find out decaf in Japan.

Posted by: Mieko on October 31, 2004 06:15 PM

It is said “Kouyou” in this year is not so good, but this week “Kouyou” in NIKKOU is the best time. How about coming NIKKOU?

Posted by: Mieko again on October 31, 2004 06:17 PM

Well? How was the wine?

Posted by: UltraBob on November 2, 2004 12:06 AM

Funny, we looked for decaf for a few days, and finally found some Nescafe. It was the middle bottle of a three-bottle gift set. I can’t remember why we needed decaf… it was so long ago.

Posted by: Barron on November 3, 2004 04:03 AM
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