Tag Archives: Organic Matcha

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 Report 2011 Part 3

This is the final part of our 3 part series of reports from our grower’s organic tencha plantation in Uji!

For this report we have put together a film strip of the six most important weeks of growth of Gokou and Samidori (AKA Tenkei Hana & Tenkei Tori). The same branch for both breeds was monitored for the six weeks!

First up, we have the filmstrip of the precious Gokou growth. In Uji Report 2011 Part 2 we told you that this year’s harvest of Gokou might be slightly less than normal. However, it turned out that the yield was actually slightly more than usual and the taste of Gokou is expected to be excellent! The filmstrip of Gokou growth 2011:

The Gokou filmstrip of growth 2011

The Gokou filmstrip of growth 2011

Next, the Samidori filmstrip of growth! From week five (14th May 2011) you can see that the main branch wilted while the new growth was determined to remain upright. This wilting was caused by a number of days of excessive rainfall during that week. Tea bushes growing in well-drained soil can recover from this fairly rapidly, so by week six (20th May 2011) you can see that the branch is back in its upright position and has revitalized itself once again! This year’s Samidori will surely be revitalizing to say the least! The filmstrip of Samidori growth 2011:

The Samidori filmstrip of growth 2011

The Samidori filmstrip of growth 2011

By week six the tea gardens are under full shade of 95-97% and are just about ready for handpicking. The following two images are very good representations of what a genuine oishita-chaen (covered tea garden) looks like under full shade.

Here is the Gokou tea garden:

Organic Gokou Oishita-Chaen under full shade 2011!

Organic Gokou Oishita-Chaen under full shade 2011!

Here is the Samidori tea garden:

Organic Samidori Oishita-Chaen under full shade 2011!

Organic Samidori Oishita-Chaen under full shade 2011!

If you have read all three of our Uji blog reports from 2011 you would have probably realized by now that genuine high quality matcha is shade cultivated in stages over a prolonged period of time (e.g. 6+ weeks, not just 2-3 weeks at 90% shade). It’s cultivated under what is known as Tana (almost always black sheeting these days, very rarely straw etc.). Tana is coverage suspended above the tea bushes (not coverage directly on top of the tea bushes). Lastly, genuine high quality matcha is always handpicked (not machine harvested or scissor cut).

If it’s genuine high quality matcha you desire that conforms to all of the above outlined high standards and you want to know, and actually care about, where and how your matcha was cultivated, and most importantly want to support a genuine product, Tenkei Hana & Tenkei Tori are as genuine and as honest as they come!

Uji Report 2011 Part 2

Week 3 & 4 at the organic tencha gardens of Uji! (For week 1 & 2 please see Uji Report 2011 Part 1).

From week three you can start to see the precious young leaves of gokou tea bushes sprouting out. It is also the time of year when both beneficial and pest insects start to become active around the organic tea gardens. A close up of the gokou tea bush (below) you can see spider webs. There are literally hundreds of spiders living in organic tea gardens and also many ladybirds, lacewings and frogs busying around at this time of year. These are all beneficial insects which help keep deadly pest insects like thrips under control which can be detrimental to tea bush growth. Living in harmony with insects, birds, and living creatures is a traditional farming principle in Japan and is really special to see especially when considering most Japanese tea gardens these days, especially shaded tea gardens, now rely heavily upon chemical pesticides to wipe out insects.

Here’s week three and four growth of gokou tea bushes 2011. Our grower told us gokou tea bushes will produce a slightly smaller yield this year:

Gokou - Week 3 & 4 Growth

Gokou - Week 3 & 4 Growth

Week 3 & 4 in the samidori tea garden you can see how vibrant and lustrous the growth has already become compared to the more methodically growing gokou tea bushes:

Samidori - Week 3 & 4 Growth

Samidori - Week 3 & 4 Growth

Week 4 shading of both tea gardens is considered to be stage 3 which is around 90% shading. A thicker black sheet is now pulled over the tea bushes as opposed to the thinner sheet we showed in the Uji Report 2011 Part 1. Correctly shading tea bushes for tencha requires incredible expertise and is not something any regular tea grower can do. One of the most difficult aspects of the shading process is to maintain steady growth and at the same time grow the leaves big enough without them hardening. They must remain thin and tender, yet big enough to produce tencha from the mesophyll part of the leaf. Here’s week four at the gokou and samidori tea gardens under around 90% shading:

6th May 2011 - Organic Gokou Tea Garden in Uji

6th May 2011 - Organic Gokou Tea Garden in Uji

6th May 2011 - Organic Samidori Tea Garden in Uji

6th May 2011 - Organic Samidori Tea Garden in Uji

Since 13th May handpicking of leaves begun at the plantation and continues all through May as an when each breed is ready. Our grower in Uji has a number of small organic gardens at his tencha plantation, the most precious and prized of them all is the asahi varietal which grows at a really tiny plantation. We hope to reserve a small amount of tencha from this plantation in the not too distant future:

6th May 2011 - Organic Asahi Tea Garden in Uji

6th May 2011 - Organic Asahi Tea Garden in Uji

 

Matcha Packaging Update

Today, Yuuki-Cha has rolled out some new practical, stand-up resealable pouch packaging for three of our matcha green teas and are now delivering even more value on them! Here’s the run down:

Yuuki Midori 40 gram green tin @ $25 has been replaced by a 50 gram resealable pouch @ $20! You save $5 and get 10 grams extra! WOW!

Yuuki Konjo 40 gram blue tin @ $14 has been replaced by a 50 gram resealable pouch @ $12! You save $2 and get 10 grams extra! WOW!

Yame Matcha 40 gram black tin @ $20 has been replaced by a 50 gram resealable pouch @ $16! You save $4 and get 10 grams extra! WOW!

The new packaging:

Yuuki Midori in new practical stand-up resealable pouch!

Yuuki Midori in new practical stand-up resealable pouch!

In addition, our 100 gram packets have been discontinued because they are matched in price by the new 50g pouches, so if you were a customer of them, we kindly ask you to now enjoy the improved 50 gram resealable stand-up pouches!

We hope our customers will enjoy these excellent new pouches and added value!