Product Inspirations – Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker (EC-YTC100)

We’re so excited to announce our newest coffee maker–the EC-YTC100–which features a stylish and smart thermal carafe. The Zojirushi Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker (EC-YTC100) brews up to 10 cups of delicious hot coffee, and enough concentrated brew to make up to 5 cups iced coffee, whether at home or at the office. The perfect brew comes from perfect design.

The design reflects in the intelligent features built into the machine. This coffee maker brews coffee using one of two brewing cycles–a regular mode or a Time Saver mode, which delivers hot coffee faster by reducing brewing time. It also features a pre-infusion cycle which evenly wets coffee grounds before brewing at an ideal temperature of 200°F*, thus allowing them to bloom for perfect extraction of flavor and aroma.

The easy-to-fill, removable Water Tank displays two sets of markings–one for brewing hot coffee, and another for brewing iced coffee. The iced coffee markings allow it to adjust the water-to-coffee ratio for stronger coffee that doesn’t taste watered down when poured over ice.

The stainless steel thermal carafe is an outstanding component of this coffee maker, utilizing Zojirushi’s superior vacuum insulation technology to keep coffee hot for hours. Because the vacuum insulation eliminates the need to use a hot plate to keep coffee warm, it doesn’t have the “burnt” flavor that’s caused by excess heating. And best of all, the tapered design with thumb-activated pouring makes serving smooth and easy.

The Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker was also designed with multiple convenience features. The Swing Basket and Filter Basket are easy to access and fill with ground coffee using the measuring spoon accessory, and they lift out for thorough cleaning. Instead of using disposable paper coffee filters, this machine utilizes a reusable mesh coffee filter made of stainless steel–so easy and eco-friendly! A 24-hour programmable timer with digital clock delays brewing so you can set when you want fresh coffee in the morning, and the sound signal can be switched to mute for quieter operation.

The machine also comes with a Clean Indicator that alerts you when cleaning is recommended. And each of the removable components—Water Tank, Swing Basket, Filter Basket and carafe—are easily cleaned with mild detergent and warm water. The machine’s exterior can be wiped down with a soft damp cloth.

So, with all of these features, what would you make with the great coffee you can brew? Our classic Iced Café Mocha is amazing… so chocolatey! And our classic Simply Iced Coffee hits the spot when you want a smooth glass of richness. But one of the most unique recipes we’ve tested with this coffee maker is the Creamy Coffee Ice Cream! Ice. Cream. Wow! Enjoy all of our recipes and let us know how you use your new Fresh Brew Plus Thermal Carafe Coffee Maker!

*200°F when brewing using Time Saver mode

Zojirushi@IHA

Earlier this March I was at the International Housewares Show in Chicago again, and this year I thought I’d do my report exclusively on your favorite company and mine, Zojirushi. For more on what the IHA Show is all about and a peek at what goes on there, see my past post on the IHA Show here. As always, it was a sold-out conference of over 2200 exhibitors from 47 countries, showing off their newest innovations in kitchen and home cleaning products. It’s an exciting, fast, activity packed 4 days of meetings, seminars, panel discussions and dinners for all of these exhibitors—and our friends from Zojirushi were there, unveiling brand new creations and celebrating their 100 Birthday!

Just to give you a bit of the overall picture, the Show is divided into 3 halls at the McCormick Place convention center in Chicago. Home cleaning takes up the North Hall while kitchenware takes up the South. A smaller, but definitely the coolest hall, is filled with all the manufacturers of home electrical appliances—and that is where Zojirushi is, right in the middle of it all.

As always, our friends had many new products and innovations to unveil, and I’m sure you’ll hear more about them during the year. Here’s a couple of sneak peeks from me–the updated Fresh Brew Coffee Maker, and a new drink bottle from their travel mug collection. The Fresh Brew will now come included with a permanent, gold mesh coffee filter basket, so you won’t have to replace the paper filters anymore. This is great news! Permanent filters save money, are easy enough to clean and are better for the environment because there’s no paper waste. I like that!

Their newest insulated travel mug has these very stylish, gradient colors that accentuate the tall cap design on this bottle. I’ve always been a fan of the colors that Zojirushi comes up with for their bottles, but they’ve outdone themselves this time with these!

Also being introduced are these new drinking spouts on some of their models. The large opening is designed for quick guzzling when you’re very thirsty—but they’re still watertight enough for your backpack. Neat, huh?

I was also told that for fans of stainless steel, there is a new water boiler with an inner tank made of their patented SlickSteel® surface, and a steel option will also become available on one of their rice cooker models. So if you’d rather have stainless steel than a nonstick surface, you can look forward to those!

Besides all the wonderful technical gadgets and appliances that are demonstrated in this hall, you can smell all the aromas from fresh coffee and food cooking as you roam the aisles. Manufacturers of coffee makers and various cooking appliances all give out samples throughout the day, and Zojirushi is no different, as the staff is extremely busy, grilling tasty snacks on their gourmet griddles and cooking rice dishes with their rice cookers. I’m telling you, it’s a smorgasbord, and there’s nothing like the smell of good food to attract customers to your booth!

Marlene and Nick from Zojirushi fanning and cooling fresh cooked sushi rice.


Lamb Kebabs (original Zojirushi recipe)


Grilled Veggies


Okonomiyaki


Mediterranean Quinoa Salad (recipe from Marlene) & Brown Rice Tabbouleh (Zojirushi original)

Scenes from the 100th Anniversary party that Zojirushi held at their booth for their customers and guests.

What a spread!

I hope you enjoyed this look from behind the curtains at this year’s International Housewares Show. You can see how much work is involved in putting an event of this size together, both for the organizers and for all the exhibitors that attend it. Luckily, the weather in Chicago was fairly mild again this year, and I was able to fly out just as snow hit the city. This was at the airport and it looks bad, but I only got delayed an hour.

Airport crews busy at work, de-icing the wings before takeoff. I think that green stuff is anti-freeze.

I hope to attend next year too—looking forward to it!

 

photos by: Amy Barnum and Bert Tanimoto

The Voices of Zojirushi – Nao, Sales Associate Supervisor

Spring time is full of freshness, and so are the ideas we’ve recently heard from Nao, our Sales Associate Manager. Nao is based out of Torrance and her history of growing up and living in Japan and the United States offers us a unique perspective about Zojirushi across two countries!

We started with the good stuff when speaking with Nao, and that is…what’s your favorite Zojirushi recipe?

Butter mochi! It turned out great and a fellow employee recommended that I finish the butter mochi in the oven so the coconut on the top gets crispier. So good!

Butter mochi is a great recipe to make in our breadmakers. Are there other Zojirushi appliances that you like and would recommend to our customers?

Water boilers – they’re a luxury that goes unnoticed. At any time of the day, one press of the button gives you the perfect hot water for your needs.

Butter Mochi

How do you feel like that quality of the water boiler helps our customers, especially when you think about our company’s tagline – Inspirations from Everyday Life?

We continue to make products that makes life a little bit easier in this busy day in age. Plus the fact that we focus on high quality and stylish designs.

So how does that sense of ease, quality and stylishness translate into how you work with your customers and the role you have within the Zojirushi organization?

Sales associates work closely with retailers to determine their needs, answer their questions about our products and recommend the right solutions. We try to promptly resolve complaints and ensure maximum satisfaction. To achieve this, we stay up-to-date with product features and maintain high standards in customer satisfaction. Customer satisfaction is our first priority. It’s all about our corporate philosophy of Creating a Quality of Life.

It sounds like you’ve been inspired by your time at Zojirushi. How did you join the organization?

It just so happened that Zojirushi moved to Torrance when I was looking for a job.  I was familiar with Zojirushi since I was surrounded with Zojirushi products growing up.

Zojirushi’s discontinued air purifier

So, you grew up in the United States and Japan?

Yes, I have been to Japan many times. In fact, I have lived back and forth between the United States and Japan. I was born in Japan and first came to the United States when I was 4 years old. I lived here for 5 years and went back to Japan when I was 9. I was able to experience Japanese culture by attending local elementary school. At age 12, I came back here and stayed until I graduated college.  Then, I decided to live in Japan by myself. At first, I had a difficult time adjusting living in Japan all alone not knowing what to do next. But in the end, after 6 years, I loved it. The best part about Japan was the delicious food without spending too much money. My favorite food is sushi!

And are there any products that you think Zojirushi should make as part of their next innovations?

It’s not a new product but I would like the air purifier to come back. It feels good to have clean air in the room. I’m sure as Zojirushi grows, they’ll keep making new things with new idea.

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We strive for the same ideas that Nao brings to our organization–product innovation, customer service and a great working environment. We hope you’ve enjoyed learning a bit about Nao. Stay tuned for more fun anecdotes with the rest of our team!

 

An Acquired Taste of Japan – Inago and Hachinoko!

Natto is an acquired taste. Fermented fish, fungi and vegetables are acquired tastes. But eating insects? Now that is a truly unique experience for much of the world!

Japan shares a heritage with other Asian countries where certain insects are eaten as a nutritious food source. There are a few common types of insects eaten in Japan including inago (rice grasshoppers) and hachinoko (wasp or bee larvae). Eating these insects has a long tradition, especially in Gifu and Nagano Prefectures which are located in the mountainous regions where fish were not abundant, and livestock was limited. These particular edibles are known to provide beneficial fat, protein and B vitamins.

Hachinoko

In lean times, inago and hachinoko supplemented many people’s diets, especially during their harvest in the cold months of winter and after the devastation of World War II. Following the mid-1900’s, when industrial pest control became more prevalent and when high-quality food was substantially available to the general population, the tradition of consuming inago and hachinoko lost favor. Today, consuming both of these insects is enjoying a resurgence, as they are readily available in packaged form and as artisanal chefs are looking at them as a sustainable and delicious food source.

Inago prepared as tsukudani, a traditional way of cooking with soy sauce, sugar, and sake, make crunchy snacks. They are often enjoyed with beer, sake or tea and as side dishes accompanying more traditional main dishes. Connoisseurs find inago have a mild, nutty flavor. Similarly prepared as tsukudani, hachinoko are softer and can be served with rice in dishes called hachinoko gohan and hebo gohemochi.

Inago

Both inago and hachinoko can be found online, at retailers, and sometimes even in vending machines in Japan. But the best place to eat them are at matsuri, or festivals, specifically celebrating these cultural traditions. In November, the Kushihara Hebo Matsuri held in Ena, Gifu Prefecture, hosts a competition among beekeepers as to who can cultivate and harvest the most hachinoko. The competitors show off their harvesting skills and ultimately, sell the fresh larvae to festival-goers. Plus, street food vendors make the best hachinoko dishes! The Tokyo Bug Eating Club is the place to sample inago, and they have events throughout the season where one can catch, cook and consume the grasshoppers.

No matter where you get them, we’d love to hear your story about the first time you sampled inago or hachinoko. Be sure to share it with us. And happy crunching!

Product Inspirations – Stainless Bottle (SJ-JS10)

Our large 1-liter capacity Stainless Bottle (SJ-JS10) is here, just in time for spring!

This new bottle is lightweight, compact and strapless, maximizing capacity while minimizing the space it takes up your bag. The twist-off lid functions as a standalone cup and lets you drink hot or cold liquids like you would in a teacup or mug, and conveniently allows you to let your beverage cool or warm to the temperature of your preference. The inner surface of the bottle utilizes an innovative double nonstick coating to enhance durability and provides greater protection of the stainless steel against salt-containing beverages like sports drinks.

Along with these unique features, this Stainless Bottle is made with high-quality, durable 18/8 stainless steel, and utilizes Zojirushi’s superior vacuum insulation technology. The air between the outer and inner layers of the stainless steel is removed so the heat is blocked from transferring through it, greatly minimizing the temperature change of your beverage.

This bottle is smart under the lid, too! It features an advanced stopper with a spout that is opened by a one-touch button, making pouring simple and mess-free. And pressing the close tab seals the spout. The extra-wide mouth accommodates full-sized ice cubes, which makes filling the bottle easy. The stopper and spout, as well as the other areas that come into contact with your beverage, are BPA-free. And as with all Zojirushi products, this bottle can easily be washed with warm water and mild dish detergent.

The Stainless Bottle (SJ-JS10) comes in two finishes, a classic Stainless and a bold Red with a fun camping print.

So, with a 1-liter bottle such as this, which favorite drinks would you carry around? We have so many to choose from! We always love a perfectly brewed cup of Hot Green Sencha Tea and classic British Tea. For a cold treat, we love this Shaka Plantation Tea which blends black tea and pineapple. And you can’t go wrong with Simply Iced Coffee!

No matter what you drink–water or tea or coffee–we know you’ll love carrying this stylish, versatile bottle wherever you go!