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!

The Voices of Zojirushi – Jesse

2018 marks our 100th anniversary! Zojirushi started as the Ichikawa Brothers Trading Company in 1918 in Osaka, Japan, and since then, we haven’t stopped!

We were founded on the deep belief that we succeed when we work to improve our customer’s quality of life through the creation of innovative products. Our employees are such an important part of fulfilling our mission, and we’d love for you to get to know them!

Jesus is one of our friendly Customer Service Representatives based out of our offices in Torrance, California. He goes by Jesse, and has been with Zojirushi for a whopping 24 years! Jesse embodies our company’s mission, and we caught up with him to talk about what he likes about working with customers and what inspires him about Zojirushi.

Customer service always has a variety of Zojirushi products on hand nearby to help walk customers through the use and care of them

Zojirushi believes in putting their customers first, and as a Customer Service Representative, what motivates you to be customer-focused?

I enjoy assisting people, interacting with them and striving to make a positive difference in their day. I would say working at Zojirushi provides me with the opportunity to help new people, and that is something that motivates me. My children also inspire me. I see them doing their best in whatever they do—homework, sports—and that motivates me to do my best and provide the best customer service possible.

Our corporate philosophy is Creating a Quality of Life. How does your position at Zojirushi create a better quality of life for our customers?

Our customers have a better quality of life when I’m able to solve a problem they’re having with one of our products or just by answering their baking questions during the holidays. One less thing to worry about!

Much of our product design focuses on practicality, quality, craftsmanship, sustainability and stylishness. Do you have a favorite Zojirushi product that you believe embodies these qualities, and how do you believe we embody those qualities in our services?

Safety, usability, practicality, quality, craftsmanship and stylishness. That describes the Travel Mug (SM-YAE48) to me! Also, we really believe in self-improvement and honesty. We’re always trying to improve our products and when we have an issue with the product, we do our best to correct any problem. That shows that we really care.

Zojirushi Travel Mug SM-YAE48

What’s the best dish you’ve made using one of our products, and if you could dream up your own perfect Zojirushi product, what would it be?

I would like to see a Zojirushi waffle maker! It would be so much fun if it could make waffles in the shape of our elephant logo. I’d love it as much as I love to make pork chops with roasted vegetables in the Gourmet d’Expert® Electric Skillet (EP-PBC10). They turned out really good!

Zojirushi isn’t just about products. It’s about our company’s values and the wonderful Japanese culture that informs what we do. Have you been inspired by Japan during your tenure here?

I have never been to Japan, but I would love to see the cherry blossom trees and see people wearing kimonos, the ones made with beautiful silk colors.

Finally, if you could tell people one great thing about Zojirushi, what would it be?

I have been here for over 20 years so it’s hard to narrow it down to just one moment – let’s just say I have a few! Meeting Mr. Ichikawa, the President & CEO of Zojirushi, is definitely up there. I look forward to coming to work and I’m happy to be here at Zojirushi America. I feel appreciated, acknowledged and rewarded.

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Jesse is such a great team member, and we hope you enjoyed learning about his perspectives. Stay tuned next month to meet another Zojirushi star!

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

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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.

Zojirushi’s Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker (BB-PAC20)

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Making bread at home may not sound easy, but it’s a simple, satisfying process when using our Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker (BB-PAC20). An art form that requires high-quality ingredients, superior equipment and a careful, artisan process, bread-making is a craft that can surprisingly be accomplished by both a novice and an expert.

We’ve designed the Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker to take the guesswork out of bread baking, without sacrificing any of the nuanced steps that create delicious loaves. The basic process for making bread in our breadmaker is straightforward: put in wet ingredients, put in dry ingredients, add yeast into a small well on the top, choose the setting and let the machine go to work. This simple process takes the age-old know-how for making classic loaves and streamlines it so that anyone can make bread. One of the key features of the machine is the dual kneading blades. These blades mix the ingredients evenly, thoroughly combining the flours, liquids, yeasts and seasonings into a smooth dough. The breadmaker keeps the dough at the correct temperature for rising, then bakes the bread on all sides, including the top, thanks to the built in lid heater.

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The Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker has three inspired and innovative settings that make it the choice of bakers. The quick baking setting makes bread in a little over two hours. The exclusive Home Made setting allows expert bakers to set their own knead, rise and bake time—and the gluten free setting adjusts the time and temperature to make flavorful gluten free bread with a perfect crust. This versatile breadmaker can even make quick breads, pizza dough, sourdough starter, even jam and meatloaf!

As with all of our products, we’ve made it easy to use with a large LCD display, a big window on the lid so you can watch every part of the bread making process, and a measuring cup and spoon accessory. The machine is easy to clean, as the nonstick inner pan can be removed for washing. And best of all, we’ve included an instructional DVD and over 100 recipes in the breadmaker booklet, so you can quickly get started.

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Breadmaker makes a traditional 2-lb. horizontal loaf

You’ll find many recipes on our website, and one of our favorite bakers, gfJules, has expert tips on using our machine. Our owners love our Home Bakery Virtuoso® Breadmaker, too. Over 1100 reviewers have given this machine a compiled 4.5 stars on Amazon.com!

We know you’ll love this breadmaker as much as we do… and look forward to your comments below!

What Is Rice Really?: The Tradition of Growing Short-Grain Rice

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Growing short-grain rice in Japan is critical to feeding the people of the country and feeding the spirit of its traditions. We continue our series from last month about growing short-grain rice with a look at how it is harvested and the traditions that embody the hopes of the Japanese people as they cultivate this important crop.

As we discussed in our previous post, rice is cultivated in four stages: sprouting, planting, growing and harvesting. Once rice is mature, usually at the end of summer, rice fields are allowed to dry in the sun or are drained. Harvesting machines, such as combines, gather and thresh the mature rice, so that rice seeds can be transported to drying facilities. Once at the drying facilities, warm air is forced through the rice to remove moisture so it can be stored and further processed. The dried rice is sent to mills where it is cleaned and dehulled, leaving the nutritious bran layer intact, resulting in brown rice. The brown rice is then packaged and sent to market or further polished to remove the bran layer, resulting in white rice. This short-grain white rice is also packaged and sent to market, where it is purchased by home cooks and chefs alike. By the time the rice reaches a person’s plate, it has been touched by many hands and by many days in the sun, water and wind!

Growing rice is a very important part of Japanese culture, and Japanese people participate in rich traditions that celebrate the entire process from initial planting to the harvest.

During the planting season in spring, the people of Sumiyoshi, in Osaka, believe that an auspicious beginning to the season will help the rice grow. To create a happy atmosphere that fosters good energy for the year’s crop, the community asks eight ceremonial maidens, called ue-me, to sanctify the rice seedlings at the local shrine. These blessed seedlings are given to the shimo ue-me, another group of women who participate in the festival, to plant them in the rice field to begin the season.

This elaborate and beautiful play is a delight to watch:

Planting leads to growing, and growing rice depends on abundant rain, fertile soil and lack of disease and pests. The people of Tsurugashima gather for a tradition called the Suneori Amagoi, during which they supplicate their water-loving snake god for abundant rain to help grow their rice crops. They build a giant decorative snake from bamboo and straw, imbue it with symbolic sacred charms, and parade it through the town to Kandachi Pond, where it is symbolically brought to its sacred home.

…and we mean giant snake:

During the summer months, pests can become a problem in the fields, so the people of Yata celebrate a tradition called Yata-no Mushi Okuri. During this festival, the people build a straw effigy of Saito Sanemori, a warrior from the Taira clan, who became angry when he was defeated in battle and whose grudge was transformed into an insect. They parade this effigy through the rice fields, with the goal of burning it at the end of the procession. The burning effigy is said to attract and kill the insects and pests in the area, and by doing so, release the crop from the warrior’s grudge.

As the summer turns into autumn, and the rice crops mature, rice-growing communities pray for an abundant harvest, giving thanks upon the season’s conclusion, when the land and the people can rest.

While traditions may vary from region to region, each of the seasons at the rice fields are beautiful, and if you’ve traveled to Japan to see them, we’d love to hear your stories.