The 88th Day: Spring tea picking tradition!

Hachijuu-Hachiya, the 88th Day  八十八夜 The 88th day of traditional Japanese calendar, which falls right around May 1st or 2nd, is famous as an important date for farmers, and especially tea farmers. For several hundred years, the 88th day has been considered the best day to start the spring tea harvest. Those tender new shoots […]

Tea Cultivars: All About the Plant!

During tea tours, we are often asked whether there are different types of plants for different teas. Read on for the answer!   Tea Cultivars A cultivar is a group of plants that have been bred by farmers for desirable characteristics. Cultivars can be more or less suited to weather conditions (frost hardy or early […]

What’s in a Name? Part III: Bancha & Hojicha

Are you ready for part 3?! Here come bancha and hojicha!  Bancha  番茶 The character for ban includes the characters for rice and field, and refers to a turn or a number in a series. Bancha is usually translated as coarse or common tea, and is made from mature leaves picked in between the four main harvests […]

What’s in a Name? Part II: Gyokuro & Kukicha

Welcome back to our blog series on tea names! Today, we’ll cover gyokuro and kukicha.   Gyokuro  玉露 Gyokuro, meaning “jewel dew,” conjures up an image of morning dewdrops collected from rare jade, and the tea liquor is a vibrant green color to match. Gyokuro is famous as a luxury tea; it’s harvested just once […]

What’s in a Name? Part I: Matcha, Tencha, and Sencha

Hello everyone! This week’s post is the first section of a series on Japanese tea names. If you’ve ever been curious why a tea is called by a particular name, this is the post for you!   Tea  茶 Perhaps the most important word on this list is cha, or tea. The Japanese character has its […]

Organic Tea: A Brief Overview

Today’s post is about organic tea. What makes a tea organic? What are the implications for farmers and tea drinkers? Is organic tea better? What does “organic” mean? The term “organic”, referring to farming, came into use in the 1940s, referring to a balanced relationship between plants, soil, and nutrients. However, since the 1960s, the […]

The Calendar of Tea Fields

Tea fields are spectacular sights regardless of season. During spring, vivid green, well-manicured rows of tea plants look beautiful with the sakura as a background. Warm summer weather signals for the peak of harvest. The autumn foliage provides a contrast between the hues of red and green, then as the winter chill sets in, one […]

What About Aracha?

If you search how to assess tea quality, one of the criteria you will find is a uniform, deep green colour and a consistent leaf size. However, are this criteria inclusive enough to appreciate the wonderful thing that is Aracha?   What is it? Also called “farmer’s tea”, “raw tea”, or just unrefined tea, Aracha is the result […]

Summer Sencha

Illuminated by the mangetsu, the beloved full moon, we made our way down to the factory to witness the processing of our final summer tea: the Sencha of the Summer Sun. We were welcomed by Akki-San, whose sun-baked face, bright eyes and mischievous smile revealed yet little of the extraordinary effort he (like many other […]