Making the Most of your Single Lid Stainless Mugs

Hi Zo’ Fans! Our product of the month for April is our SM-ZA and SM-ZP Stainless Mugs with a one-piece lid. This Stainless Mug actually comes in two models because it comes in multiple sizes, with 8 uplifting colors that are perfect for the season.

The SM-ZA line is simple and sleek, holding up to 20 oz. of your favorite hot or cold beverages or foods. The Pale Orchid and Mint Blue colors add a pretty pop of springtime color, while the Slate Black and Pale White are sophisticated for every occasion.

The SM-ZP line is the smaller, more expressive sibling, topping off at 8 oz. and labeled with cheerful quotes and sketches that take you to relaxing scenes in nature. It’s there to remind you to breathe, take it easy, and enjoy life, as you should! In addition to these graphics, the SM-ZP mugs come in four 2-tone colors, which are Latte Beige (-TZ), Dusty Blue (-AZ), Ash Green (-GZ), and Smokey Pink (-PZ). Cute and stylish, this stainless mug is a great companion to take on-the-go because of its compact design and eye-grabbing colors.

What makes these SM-ZA and SM-ZP Stainless Mugs so unique is that they have a gasket-free, one-piece lid that is easy to clean and prevents the loss of parts. The wide opening makes the drinking experience more like drinking from a regular cup, and the wide opening also accommodates full-size ice cubes for easy filling.

Made with BPA-free plastic and stainless steel, the mugs feature an easy-to-clean nonstick coated interior that is easy to clean in a snap. A special manufacturing technique also ensures that these mugs are ultra-lightweight!

Looking for delicious recipe ideas to carry around in your Stainless Steel mug? Keep scrolling for our suggestions to quench your thirst.

Green Tea White Virgin Sangria

Try this fruit-packed refresher that uses cucumbers, lemon & lime, apples, kiwifruit, as well as green tea, grape juice, and cinnamon. You can use your Zojirushi VE Hybrid Water Boiler & Warmer (CV-DCC40/50) for the boiled water or go old school on the stove.

Zo tip: Have you owned your water boiler for a year? If so, then it’s time to inspect the inner lid gasket and lid for signs of wear. The inner lid gasket or lid should be replaced when it’s becoming rigid, cracking, or experiencing discoloration. Replacement parts for water boilers are available on our Parts & Accessories page.

Oh So Soy Latte

This warm pick-me-up is also a delicious dairy-free treat, combining soy milk, espresso and sugar to your taste. If you like your coffee hot, it’s a good idea to preheat your mug by pouring warm water from a Micom Water Boiler & Warmer (CD-NAC40/50); this ensures that the heat from your drink is not absorbed by the mug and stays in your drink instead.

Zo tip: When warming water in your Zojirushi Water Boiler, don’t put it in the sink when filling: Water boilers have important electric components on the base, and if placed in the sink, they may get wet and damage them. The best way to fill the water boiler is to use a container like a pitcher and fill it. Doing so will ensure all electronic parts are safe and dry.

Fresh Herb Tea

For a simple and aromatic beverage, this tea will become your go-to. Simply set your Micom Water Boiler & Warmer (CD-WCC30/40) to 208°F, and grab some lemongrass, mint stems, and sage leaves.

Zo tip: Did you know that the water boilers need to be descaled with citric acid at least every 3 months? Minerals like calcium will accumulate on the interior surface and, if not cleaned, will cause dispensing issues and may damage the interior. Careful maintenance of your water boiler will ensure its optimal performance. Take a look at our instructional video for step-by-step instructions on how to clean your water boiler.

Which Stainless Mug is your favorite, and where will it take you? Be sure to share your experience with us on social by tagging your photos on Twitter, Facebook, or Instagram! #Zojirushi #ZoFan

 

 

Product Inspirations – Travel Mug (SM-YAE48)

We’re excited to showcase our Travel Mug (SM-YAE48) as our first Product Inspiration of 2018!

This mug is a stylish and convenient way to take your favorite tea, coffee or other beverage with you whenever you’re commuting or on the go. We’ve designed it with travel-friendly features, like a generous 16-ounce capacity, a design that rests more securely in car cup holders and can fit beneath most single cup brewers, and superior vacuum insulation to keep drinks hot or cold for hours.

The exterior comes in four great colors—Lime Green, Cherry Red, Dark Cocoa and Stainless—while the interior features Zojirushi’s SlickSteel® electro-polished stainless steel, which uses an electrically charged polishing process to treat and finish the interior, without adding any nonstick coating. The result is a corrosion resistant surface that repels odors, foreign substances and stains. The wide mouth opening makes it easy to pour liquids into the mug and clean the inside, and the interior fill line markings help to prevent overfilling, which could cause leakage. Plus, all parts that come into contact with your beverage are BPA-free.

The Travel Mug also has an ingeniously crafted lid, with a safety lock that makes it leak-proof, a sipping area that comfortably fits the contours of your face, and an air vent design on the opening which allows for beverages to flow out smoothly. Best of all, the lid gaskets are removeable for easy cleaning!

Our customers love that the same trick that can be used with our insulated food jars can be used with this mug—pre-cool the interior with icy cold water before filling with a cold beverage, or pre-heat with boiling hot water before filling with a hot beverage and the temperature is kept even longer!

We’re so inspired by this travel mug and how our customers use it that we love to come up with great drinks for you. With cold winter weather upon us, we often like a warm drink, and our Cold Buster Smoothie is the best! And if you prefer something with a bit more kick to it, try out our Shake It and Take It Matcha. And of course, for those who love coffee drinks, try out our Oh So Soy Latte!

No matter what you drink, the Travel Mug (SM-YAE48) is ideal for enjoying your favorite drink when you’re on the go. And you know that the SM-YAE48 is our very own Jesse’s favorite! We hope you love it and our recipes as much as we do, and don’t forget to tell us how you use it!

Japanese Drinks – Wine!

Varietals. Aromas. Complexity. Palettes. Terroir.

Wine inspires passion, joy, camaraderie, sweat, tears and toil. Cultures and industries throughout history have focused on the creation of wine from crushed and fermented grapes. And this infinitely varied drink is becoming a staple in modern Japanese cuisine.

Wine is made from the grapes, typically of the Vitis vinifera family of grapes, which originate from the area that spans Western Europe through the Middle East until the banks of the Caspian Sea. From ancient times, grapevines were highly prized and traded, and grape cultivation is now common on every continent on Earth except for Antarctica.

Grapes were introduced to Japan during the Nara Period (710 – 794 CE), at a time of diplomatic, cultural and religious exchanges between China and Japan. Grapevines were cultivated in Yamanashi, Yamagata and Nagano Prefectures along with some areas in Hokkaido. Until the 16th century, when Jesuit missionaries from Portugal brought wine as gifts for the Japanese nobility, grapes were simply consumed as fruit, not wine. Japanese people tasted wine only through the missions, and the unfamiliar beverage did not gain popularity until the 19th century, during the Meiji Era (1868 – 1912). Cross-cultural exchange thrived during the Meiji Era, and the diplomats of the Iwakura Mission famously traveled to America and Europe, gathering information about many advances and industries, including viticulture. The first native Japanese wine was attempted using sake equipment and koshu grapes that were cultivated in Yamanashi Prefecture.

Today, wine drinking is increasing in popularity and many varietals pair beautifully with Japanese food. According to Peter Kasperski in Food & Wine, “Sake is legendary in Japan because of its ability to offering subtlety and nuance – just like dishes such as sashimi. Wines with similar subtlety and nuance tend to fall into the category of light, white and crisply acidic, with bright fruit notes… with a chameleonlike  way of matching a variety of dishes.”

These characteristics are inherent in two of the most popular indigenous Japanese grapes: the white “koshu” and the red “Muscat Bailey A”. These two grapes make up the majority of grapes used in native Japanese winemaking. Wine from koshu grapes is typically refreshing, with notes of grapefruit and lemon and with light acidity. Wine from Muscat grapes is also light in acidity, with subtle notes of cherries, peaches, rose petals, apricot and orange blossoms. Japanese winemakers utilize the well-known winemaking process developed by the French, where carefully cultivated grapes are harvested, crushed and pressed, then mixed with yeast, sugars and water into a mixture called a must. This mixture is fermented, then strained, or clarified. The clarified liquid undergoes a second fermentation, after which it is bottled and aged. Once produced, Japanese wines are categorized as kokunaisan, wine made exclusively from domestic materials; kokusan, wine made from imported ingredients but fermented in Japan; and yunyu, imported wine that is bottled in Japan.

Japanese food pairs beautifully with wine. Sashimi and sushi lend themselves to crisp white wines, including light, sweet Rieslings, mineral-rich, full-bodied Pinot Blancs and dry koshu-based wines. Fried foods such as tempura and karaage ideally pair with sparkling wines as well as light, mineral-rich red wines, such as Sancerres, Muscats and even some varieties of rosés. And grilled meats such as yakitori and teppanyaki complement fuller, fruit-forward white and red wines such as Pinot Noirs, Cabernet Sauvignons, Sauvignon Blancs and certain Bordeaux.

Almost any type of Japanese food is delicious when paired with wine!

We hope you try your favorite wine with some of our favorite foods, and as always, don’t forget to share your best pairings with us!

Japanese Drinks – Shochu!

Vodka. Whiskey. Gin. Tequila. Rum. Shochu.

Some of the most famous liquors in the world are the distilled alcohols of fermented grains, vegetables and herbs.

And Japan’s shochu is easily one of the most enjoyable and drinkable of the list.

Shochu is a distilled beverage made from water, koji, yeast and other ingredients such as rice, barley, sweet potatoes, brown sugar or buckwheat. Enjoyed throughout Japan, shochu, like sake, has become increasingly popular all over the world. And while shochu is a quintessentially Japanese drink, its origins are international.

The production of shochu in Japan has been documented to the 16th century. Historical information indicates that shochu was introduced to the area known as Ryukyu, or modern-day Okinawa, by traders from Siam, or modern-day Thailand. That drink was called arrack, the origin of which has been traced to ancient Middle Eastern and Mediterranean civilizations where an anise-flavored liquor called arak was made from the distillation of fermented cereal grains.

Rice mold, or koji

The Okinawan style of shochu, called awamori, is still made today, although the more popular honkaku shochu is considered the most authentic Japanese shochu and is primarily produced in Kyushu region. Honkaku shochu production became varied and robust during the Meiji Period (1868-1912) in Japan. The process begins similar to sake production, in that steamed short-grain japonica variety rice is inoculated with black or white aspergillius oryzae mold, or koji. Once the rice has been broken down into starch, amino acids and citric acid, yeast and water is added to complete the koji. Left to ferment for approximately one week, the resulting mixture, or moromi mash, is the initial source of alcohol for the shochu. A base ingredient, such as more rice, sweet potatoes, brown sugar, barley or buckwheat, is added to the mix. The base ingredient gives the final shochu its distinctive flavor. This mixture produces the second moromi mash, which is let to ferment for two weeks before it is heated and cooled in a traditional distillation apparatus. The distillation process retains the characteristic flavor of the base ingredient, which is mellowed and refined while the shochu is aged from several months to a few years in stainless steel, wooden or ceramic vessels. Once the shochu is aged, it is diluted with water to the appropriate alcohol content of either 20%, 25% or 30% and then bottled and shipped.

Honkaku shochu

Awamori shochu is produced using long-grain Thai indica variety rice and only black koji. While honkaku shochu goes through two mixing stages, awamori is made using only one mixing stage, going quickly into the fermentation step and after distillation, it is aged for a minimum of three years. Awamori shochu, because of its long ageing stage, has a characteristic vanilla flavor and much higher alcohol content – 43%!

Drinking shochu is a pleasure, especially at Japanese bars called izakaya in southern Japan. Beginners typically drink a rice-based shochu, called kome shochu, or a fruity cocktail called chuhai. The simplest way to drink shochu is neat, simply poured into a glass at room temperature. But shochu can be enjoyed over ice or mizuwari-style, that is, diluted with a small amount of cool water to round out the edges of the alcohol. Oyuwari-style, or diluted with warm water, is ideal during cold weather and enhances the depth, flavor and aromas of the shochu and purists often enjoy shochu warm, without any added water.

With the cold winter months coming up, we hope you’ll try some shochu at your local Japanese izakaya or restaurant. And as always, don’t forget to share your favorites with us!

Zojirushi’s Fresh Brew Plus 12-Cup Coffee Maker (EC-YGC120)

EC-YGC02 (small)

Is one of your favorite experiences waking up to the aroma of freshly brewed coffee? Or sharing a glass of iced coffee with a friend on a hot afternoon? We love our coffee here at Zojirushi, and are excited to share the new Fresh Brew Plus 12-Cup Coffee Maker (EC-YGC120) with special features for brewing iced coffee with you!

This stylish coffee maker brews up to 12 cups of hot coffee, or up to  6 cups of iced coffee! Ideally, coffee should be brewed at 200°F, and our coffee maker quickly heats water to this temperature to maximize the flavor of your coffee. For hot coffee, open the easy-access swing basket and fill the filter basket with your desired amount of ground coffee.  Then, fill the removable water tank with fresh water corresponding to the amount of coffee you’re brewing using the clearly-marked ‘HOT’ water measure lines as a guide. Press START. Your coffee is all set to brew!

The heating plate that the glass carafe sits on has four keep warm settings–HI, MED, LOW, OFF–and keeps the brewed coffee warm at the temperature you like. When the carafe is removed, the machine inhibits messes with the drip prevention mechanism, and the clean spout design of the glass carafe makes pouring smooth and easy, helping to avoid dribbles and dripping.

If you prefer your brew iced, the Fresh Brew Plus makes brewing complex and bright iced coffee a cinch. Fill the Ice Basket in the glass carafe with ice, add water to the water to the level line on the water tank marked “ICED”, put your ground coffee into the filter basket, then turn the heating plate keep warm setting to OFF. Press START to brew your coffee. The coffee is instantly chilled as it brews, locking in delicious flavor and aroma… ready to drink!

Our Fresh Brew Plus 12-Cup Coffee Maker is easy to clean and maintain, just like our other products. A Clean Indicator illuminates when cleaning is recommended, and the filter basket and swing basket are easily removed for washing in the sink.

We’ve even added a few other great features to this new coffee maker:  a convenient clock timer that can be set at night so you can wake up to the enticing aroma of freshly brewed coffee, a measuring spoon that works perfectly with our coffee maker to make filling the filter basket easy, and sample filters, so you know exactly what fits!  All food contact zones are BPA-free.

We know you’ll love this new coffee maker as much as we do, and you’ll be able to purchase it from our great retail partners this month! As always, we’d love to hear from you, so be sure to leave a comment below.