Sourcing Tea - Organic Japanese Sencha
In the natural environment of Shintomi-Cho, Miyazaki Prefecture grows our Organic Japanese Sencha.
Ken, a third-generation tea farmer, born in the early '60s, grew up in and an immersive environment surrounded by lush trees abundant with bird song. In his early 20's, continuing the family legacy, Ken took over the tea garden and to this day still has an unwavering belief that 'nature does its best when in a balance.'
Standing in amongst the tea field is something to behold, surrounded by bird song, you can see flowers, insects and animals around the tea plantation, with lush green leaves glistening in the rain.
But being organic is hard work, keeping the weeds down between the immaculate rows of tea bushes is a slow task done by hand, which could be done with herbicides but in true form Ken's view is "taking care of the trees and nature of the tea plant, means that the tea plant can take care of the entire family." (This is rare in Japan due to the increased costs of harvesting and manufacture; farmers need to maximise the output of the tea plants leaf, which in turn leads them to use synthetic fertilisers.)
By being a steward of the environment, the insects have flourished, and homemade organic compost replaces the need for chemical fertilisers. The soil is kept healthy to which in turn encourages the insects to inhabit the tea field. The insects' breakdown and recycle the tea leaves and compost, releasing the natural complex fertilisers for the tea plant to use in its growth.
Ken says "stories of many insects are unfolding here." The rich biodiversity results in tea plants benefitting immensely and producing high-quality leaves for us all to sip away on and enjoy.
To create this tea, Ken uses only soft spring tea leaves from different tea varieties; what ensues is a well-balanced Sencha with a sweet, delicate green fragrance. The liquor has a light vegetal character reminiscent of steamed spring greens with savoury hints of umami and a subtle astringency. This tea is a true gem from Japan.
The seven varieties of tea bushes this tea is made from, result in a uniquely satisfying characteristic expressed in this green tea: Yabukita, Kanaya Midori, Oku Midori, Oku Yutaka, Minami Sayaka, Saki Midori, and additionally the Assamica hybrid Benifuki. To blend this tea, Ken identifies the best characteristics from each of the tea variety and blends these together at a specific ratio, to craft a taste experience with a full rounded flavour.
All the teas varieties grown are in an Organic JAS certified field. You can buy a box of this stunning Organic Japanese Green tea here.
We greatly admire the values that Ken has and work that has gone into this tea garden to produce superior green tea, see you next year Ken and thanks for the cuppa!