Tag Archives: Uji

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 1

At the prestigious organic tea gardens in Uji, where our precious organic koicha matcha Tenkei Hana and our top-tier Tenkei Tori are cultivated, tea bushes have been showing bud growth for around two weeks now. Here is a side-by-side comparison of the growth of the buds on Gokou tea bushes on the 15th and 22nd of April:

Gokou - 2 weeks of bud growth

Gokou - 2 weeks of bud growth

And Samidori (not to be confused with Sa*e*midori):

Samidori - 2 weeks growth

Samidori - 2 weeks growth

Below you can see Gokou and Samidori tea gardens on the 22nd of April. The tea bushes are currently under stage one coverage which mainly protects the tea bushes from frost. As you can see the tea bushes are kept in the traditional standing up style (and will be handpicked only).

Pretty much all organic tencha, which is produced at these tea gardens by artisan growers, is reserved by tea masters and buyers in Kyoto. At present, we are able to reserve from the grower around 10kg of organic tencha per year from each tea garden:

Organic Gokou Tea Garden in Uji

22nd April 2011 - Organic Gokou Tea Garden in Uji

Organic Samidori Tea Garden in Uji

22nd April 2011 - Organic Samidori Tea Garden in Uji

Stay tuned for part two…