OP: 「桜色クリシェ」 (Sakurairo Cliche) by Aki
「お茶屋の秘密」 (Ochaya no Himitsu)
“The Teahouse’s Secrets”
Rokuhoudou Yotsuiro Biyori continues to impress as a comfort anime that shows the labor of love that goes into a cafe’s menu. While other similar shows tend to go through a panorama of different dishes to show you how great it looks or how reputable their cafe/restaurant, the small window of items on Rokuhoudou’s menu offers up the opportunity to delve deep into the tea, coffee, sweets, and dishes the cafe works with in extensive detail.
Episode 2’s focal point is in tea expert Kyousui’s pursuit of a new vendor for the cafe’s tea leaves since their longtime partner is retiring. It was pretty funny to see the build-up for who the “infamous” vendor they found was going to be as the staff is on edge about why he has notoriety. Even though it was easy to link it back to his daughter who frequented Rokuhoudou, the set-up for his reveal was important in the sense that it delved into both her family’s experience with tea as well as Kyousui’s own personal history with brewing. There are small hints of his upbringing lending itself to how he came to love tea, why he prefers a mix of Gyokusu and Meisui for Rokuhoudou’s signature tea blend, and how he is able to meet the high expectations the grandfather had for how he used his leaves.
The grandfather’s story was also great in how it touched on grappling between personal passion and adapting to modernity. Although cafes like Rokuhoudou would happily accept the tea leaves he prepares, his stubborn refusal to let just anyone use it and the shift towards department stores and tea bags made it harder to let his store flourish with the times. There wasn’t a valuable lesson for him considering that he only needed to trust the son of a tea-maker he highly respects to do his leaves justice, but it was nice to see him open his mind to the idea of letting his guard down or allowing his tea to be used elsewhere. As someone who loves tea, it was wonderful to see how deep the show gets into specific blends, methods of preparing tea, and making sure that it meets all the demands it needs to in order to taste amazing. It’ll be cool to see if the series goes into further detail on the nature of tea as well as the other food items they craft at Rokuhoudou.