Like a fine wine, high-quality tea depends on more than pretty packaging. The age of the leaves, their growing conditions, and even soil fertility all impact the final flavor. For us, how tea is grown and the way it’s processed is the secret for crafting a sweet, nutritious tea like no other.
We Strive for Sweeter Soil Cultivation with the Chagusaba Method
Chagusaba (茶草場) is an ancient farming method that relies on tending both man-made and natural grasslands to enhance soil fertility. This labor-intensive process takes thousands of man-hours every season, but tea farmers find it worthwhile for the crop quality it produces.
Practiced by Shizuoka farmers for centuries, grasses are grown throughout tea plantations in the summer months later to be cut down to form an insulating layer to prevent the ground from freezing. Sugar cane and syrup are also added to the soil to enhance its sweetness.
By enriching, protecting, and revitalizing the soil beneath each tea tree, the chagusaba method sweetens the taste of each tea leave by keeping plant roots warm and well-nourished throughout the winter. As the mulch breaks down in the spring, it adds much-needed silicic aid to the base of each tree, enriching the soil and preventing roots from getting burned from too much nitrogen.
‘Dusty’ Tea is A Sign of High Quality, Really!
At first look, our deep steamed tea leaves appear broken down, even dusty. This is because the longer processing time breaks down the tea leaves, especially at their tips. This leads to powdery tea that many compare to ceremonial matcha in taste, texture and nutrient levels.
Drinking tea leaves directly actually enhances the nutrition for your body. However, if you’re bothered by these fragments, a specially designed fukamushi teapot provides a finer mesh to filter them out.
Our Teas Contain Better Flavor with Deep Steaming Technology
After they are picked, steaming tea leaves is necessary to stop the oxidation process. Most green tea is steamed for just 30 seconds before being rolled and dried, which creates a brew that leaves you with a bitter taste.
In contrast, the sunny, yet foggy conditions throughout the Shizuoka region where it grows creates a firmer tea leaf, which needs longer steaming to release the complex flavors contained within. This means that our tea undergoes ‘deep steaming’ (aka fukamushi method 深蒸し) for almost two minutes - four times longer than regular tea!
Only thick, sun-soaked leaves benefit from deep steaming. The proprietary steaming machine used for every batch was developed specifically for our tea after years of research and study. Today, it is the leader in the steaming technology in Japan, and the world.
Longer processing leads to a bolder flavor filled with the health-enhancing amino acid Theanine. Every cup provides robust taste, smoother mouthfeel, and a subtle hint of sweetness and far less astringency.