In our quest for maximum transparency, we want to introduce you today to the supplier of our Japanese green tea. Here you will find exclusive pictures and impressions of our partner farm for Japan Tea! We also want to show you how tea is grown in Japan and what sets Japan apart from other tea-producing nations!

The home of our green teas

Our Japanese green teas come from Kagoshima Prefecture on the Japanese volcanic island of Kyushu. The island has very nutritious soils with many minerals. The climate is pleasantly mild and warm, so wonderful conditions for tea growing.

How is the tea grown?

Ordinary, straight rows and meticulously maintained bushes. In the picture you can see a section of our partner farm in Kagoshima. The neat structure is a typical image for Japanese farms. Since tea is usually picked with special harvesters in Japan, the tea plants are laid out in straight rows. Once the right harvest time has come, all you have to do is adjust the correct height and drive over the plants.

There are several reasons for this arrangement of the tea fields. On the one hand, the Japanese are generally quite orderly and like it when everything is tidy and clear. On the other hand, this arrangement of tea plants is particularly advantageous for the Japanese harvesting method. In Japan, due to demographic change, there are fewer and fewer young people. The rural population is also shrinking drastically. There is far too little manpower to pick the tea by hand. What the Japanese lack in labour, they easily make up for with impressive engineering and sophisticated technology.

Japan Tea Tea Field Green Tea
Our tea farm in Kagoshima

The result is mobile high-tech harvesters that can harvest incredibly precise tea leaves. In order to perfect the machine harvesting process, the tea plants in Japan were bred in such a way that the young leaves point vertically upwards and are cut off by the machine. The larger, older and less aromatic leaves, on the other hand, hang down and are not harvested.

Anyone who now thinks that growing Japan tea is a breeze is mistaken. Although the harvest is much easier, the tea farmer needs to know his field well and know when is the right time to harvest. If it harvests too early or too late, this can have a bad effect on the taste of the finished tea.

Field maintenance is also a major challenge for producers, especially in organic farming. The tea garden must always be healthy and protected against pests in summer and frost in winter. The soil must also always be supplied with valuable nutrients. We have already met Japanese tea farmers who have been producing tea for several decades and are still skinning themselves, still having to learn a lot. This Japanese spirit is what makes Japan tea so special!

Arrangement of Japanese tea fields in comparison

Cultivation methods for tea
Arrangement of tea fields in Japan compared to Taiwan and India/ Nepal

The straight field arrangement in Japan is ideally suited for machine harvesting. Cultivation is usually carried out on flat plains. In Taiwan and the Himalayas, on the other hand, tea grows on steep mountain slopes. The Taiwanese like to put on narrow, long rows, which they pick one after the other, while in the Himalayas often still dense bushes are pulled up around which the pickers can move.

Finishing by shading

The quality and taste of Japanese green teas can be improved by shading the plants. Due to the shading, less bitter substances are formed in the tea plants, and the plant produces more chlorophyll and a mix of different amino acids, which gives the tea an intense color and a tasty umami.

Our Sencha and Kukicha are shaded with black nylon mats for about 10 days, as you can see at the bottom of the picture. Our Gyokuro is shaded with rice straw mats for 28 days. Shadowing tea with straw mats is much more expensive and expensive, because every single mat has to be laid on by hand. Under the mats, however, the air can circulate much better, which benefits the plants and improves the taste. Our matcha is also shaded. Depending on the season, the shading time is 28-30 days.

Shading Japan Tea Tea Plants Tea Garden JapanWhy did we choose this supplier?

We could just say: because the teas are really very tasty. Which is true, but it’s not that simple again. When we first tasted the samples of our partner farm, we were thrilled by the teas through the bank. When we taste samples, it is usually the case that we like one, maybe two teas quite well. But not with this tea garden. Here, all the teas have made our tea hearts beat faster. No matter which type of tea it is, the teas convince with an immensely high quality.

But not only the tea, but the complete package of the supplier was right. We had the feeling that the people of the tea garden really stand by organic farming and only want the best for their environment. Questions from our side are always answered in detail and comprehensively, we act as partners on an equal footing and are not treated like strangers.

 

The Japanese tea world in flux

Tea is deeply rooted in Japanese culture. Whether through the beautiful matcha tea ceremony or lovingly crafted tea ceramics, tea is simply part of Japan and its history. For a long time, Japan exported only a small part of its tea production. In recent years, however, there has been an increase in export volumes.

Young Japanese in particular are drinking less and less tea and more coffee. They want to be more Western and more modern, so they don’t even like tea. Moreover, the Japanese tea world lacks diversity. Due to the machine processing processes in Japan, there is a high quality average for tea, but due to the precise processing, there is almost no origin of new varieties. In short: for some, the tea simply becomes so monotonous.

That is why many producers in Japan are trying to open up new markets. Especially in Europe, there are many customers who are willing to pay expensive prices for sustainably grown and “healthy” products. This is why many tea gardens in Japan have EC organic certification.

A few years ago, matcha tea in particular was very popular. It has often been claimed that he makes him leaner, healthier, fitter. The health properties of green tea we have already checked in an extra post. We want to anticipate – because of health aspects, the drink has not been able to hold its own.

Tea trade tea plants 101Fancy our green tea?

In the Friends of Tea Online Shop you will find high-quality green tea of the best quality. We deal exclusively with sustainably grown teas and purchase all our products directly from the producers. Have we convinced you? We look forward to your visit!

This post is also available in: Deutsch (German)