Tag Archives: Oishita Chaen

Kyoto Oishita Chaen 2013

A pleasure to present some spring 2013 pictures taken at the organic Oishita Chaen plantations in Kyoto where our most prized organic tencha is produced. All very highly graded tencha which we feel very honored to be able to offer to our customers directly from the grower himself.

The images below were taken around the beginning of April at three of the grower’s small Oishita Chaen plantations containing a different cultivar in each. Notably, Saemidori, Sakimdori, and Yamanoibuki. The grower has a number of small plantations and grows a number of cultivars, but these ones are the first to bud.

Btw, we hope to include all of these cultivars in our shincha matcha pre-order offering that we will hopefully start on the 1st of May.

First Saemidori Oishita-Chaen…

Saemidori is one of the early budding cultivars, so you can see the buds and new leaves are already progressing nicely. The leaves that are hand picked from here are made into what is currently the grower’s highest grade organic tencha.

Saemidori Cultivar

Saemidori Cultivar

Saemidori Cultivar

Saemidori Cultivar

Saemidori Cultivar

Saemidori Cultivar

Saemidori Cultivar

Saemidori Cultivar

Next, Sakimidori Oishita-Chaen…

The grower tells us this is perhaps the greenest of all the cultivars that he currently cares for and has a specific fragrance which is unique to the cultivar. In the first image you can just see the Tana coverage which appears to be in the first stage of shading…

Sakimidori Cultivar

Sakimidori Cultivar

Sakimidori Cultivar

Sakimidori Cultivar

Last, Yamanoibuki Oishita-Chaen…

This cultivar is very rare for tencha production in Kyoto at present. It’s a breed that was originally released in Shizuoka. However, the grower adopted it in Kyoto and is now making very good quality organic tencha from this breed.

Yamanoibuki Cultivar

Yamanoibuki Cultivar

Yamanoibuki Cultivar

Yamanoibuki Cultivar

Yamanoibuki Cultivar

Yamanoibuki Cultivar

Other cultivars we hope to have available in our pre-order shincha matcha offering are Asahi, Goko (sometimes spelled Gokoh or Gokou), and Samidori (not to be confused with Saemidori) which are the more traditional breeds used in tencha production in Kyoto. They are all from the grower’s true Oishita-Chaen plantations where all tea leaves are hand picked from tea bushes kept in the traditional Shizen Shitate style. All organic of course!

Here’s hoping for a successful harvest in Kyoto at our grower’s plantations, and we hope that our customers will continue to support these authentically produced organic matcha!

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!