Tea Culture

The Brew in Your Cup: The Tea Fields of Makinohara

Oh, the fresh smell of tea fields. We have reached the end of this series of blogs by reaching what could be considered the beginning of the tea-making journey: the tea fields, tea farms, and tea gardens themselves.

These fields of tea belong to one of our contracted tea farmers. His name is Mr. Izuka and he produces fukamushicha. Particularly, he produces our Fukamushi-sencha Maki and Fukamushi-sencha Special.

The quality of the tea is very much determined by the quality of the leaves. While you can attempt to (and may even been successful at) masking the poor quality of a tea through utilizing natural oxidation as well as various techniques such as rolling, kneading, etc., (which is sometimes the case with oolong tea), it is almost always better to make your tea from leaves that come from a pristine, diverse environment.

If left to grow, tea plants will become tea bushes and tea bushes will become tea trees. Tea leaves from old trees can create really complex, delicious tea. Such tea can also be quite expensive. An example of this would be pu’erh cha. Tea from bushes can also be high quality and quite expensive. The quality of a tea mostly depends not on the growth size of a tea bush or tea tree but on the surrounding environment. In Yunnan, for example, trees that grow leaves to make pu’erh tea do so amidst a the diverse ecology. As with the case with our Organic Guricha, there is also a trend of growing tea by using organic methods. This results in potentially a lower yield but a far better quality of tea that you can really feel as you drink it.

So, this is where you could say our tea journey begins: with Mother Earth. We do all sorts of things to manipulate a leaf–letting it oxidize, steaming it, rolling it, etc.—to achieve a desired result. We must remember that it all starts right here: the tea fields, forests, gardens; the tea plant. The vitality, or lack thereof, of the leaves, the earth, the foundation, finds its way to your cup through the hands of farmers, pickers, artisans, and traders. Tea can tell such a beautiful story and remind us how powerless we are to the facts of nature. Tea is always changing, and so is our very life.

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