Uji Tencha Report 2012!

Last week our artisan tencha grower in Kyoto sent us a progress update from his farm along with a few images that we thought you might like to see.

By the way, these are genuine images of present day artisan tencha production tea gardens in Kyoto! We know it’s possible to find quite a few tea companies showing customers out-dated 20th century covered tea garden images or videos of Uji tea plantations, or using stock images, or even getting somebody who lives in Kyoto to snap a few images of one of these type of rare tea gardens to give the impression their matcha comes from one of them. However, the truth is there is very little tencha still being cultivated in tea gardens like as follows in Kyoto, and pretty much all tencha that is produced at these tea gardens is already reserved each year within Japan.

What you see in the following images are known as “Oishita Chaen” in Japanese, which are tea gardens that are covered from above by what is known as Tana which is black sheet coverage suspended above the tea bushes. There is not just one black sheet by the way. In artisan tencha production there are a number of black sheets that are used to cover the tea bushes in stages over a prolonged period of time. Second, what you see are “Shizen Shitate (sometimes written jitate)” style tea bushes. Shizen Shitate style tea bushes grow upright in the traditional style and the leaves are 100% handpicked.

For your information, this grower’s Oishita Chaen with Shizen Shitate style tea bushes are the only 100% certified organic ones known in Japan! They are totally authentic tea gardens and he is growing tencha to what is considered the highest standard in present day Kyoto.

The following image shows the Oishita Chaen where the goko (sometimes written gokou or gokoh) cultivar is growing. This is the tea garden that Tenkei Hana comes from (photo taken on the 24th of April 2012):

Goko Tea Garden 2012

Goko Tea Garden 2012

A close up of the goko leaves growing on the 24th of April 2012:

Goko Cultivar Close Up

Goko Cultivar Close Up

The following image shows the Oishita Chaen where the samidori (not to be confused with saEmidori) cultivar is growing. This is the tea garden that Tenkei Tori comes from (photo taken on the 24th of April 2012):

Samidori Tea Garden 2012

Samidori Tea Garden 2012

A close up of the samidori leaves growing on the 24th of April 2012:

Samidori Cultivar Close Up

Samidori Cultivar Close Up

The grower tells us this year he has already had his annual inspection of his Oishita Chaen and once again gained JAS certification. We therefore will most certainly continue to offer his Tenkei Hana and Tenkei Tori, and hope that our customers will continue to support him because what he is producing is true authentic artisan matcha for his customers. That is something really worth supporting!

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