Artisanal Japanese tea farm
Why Does Fine Tea Grow in Uji?
Rich soil with a plenty of water is needed to grow tea plants. Uji River which runs through Uji city and the amount of annual rainfalls reaching over 1500mm affords enough water. The landscape with slightly elevated slant causes the fluctuation of day and night air temperatures which makes mist to occur easily. Moreover, Uji has well-drained land with fertile soil just perfect for growing tea plants. This wonderful environment for tea cultivation is the basis of Uji tea as a top quality Japanese tea.
Uji Style Manufacturing Method
-Improved Chinese Tea Manufacturing Method Spread All Over Japan as a Standard-
Besides the advantage of environment, Uji tea creators were also very inventive. In the Edo era, a farmer called Nagatani Souen invented a tea processing method which was later named “Uji Manufacturing Method”. At that time, the main stream of tea manufacturing method from China was in a style of Kamairicha which tea buds were roasted in a pan, then rolled by hands and feet on a straw mat and sun dried. Old Mr. Nagatani improved the method by using a hand-rolling technic on the heat drying chamber “hoiro” (Aosei Sencha Seiho). Hand-rolling technic was a revolutionary idea in those days. This technic enabled creators to produce a deep flavored tea in a beautiful color with wonderful fragrance. The method spread out explosively and tea drinking became very popular among Japanese people.
Uji Style -Premium Method in a Danger of Extinction-
Procedure of Uji style hand-rolled tea takes a long time. It starts from dehydration of the tea leaves and needs 8 steps to complete. On average, it takes about 4 to 7 hours of heavy labor to produce several hundred grams of Sencha. This fact causes the lack of successors. In addition, the preciousness of the tea seems to rise because it is getting harder to obtain fine quality tea leaves just suitable for hand-rolling. Hand-rolling technic is registered as a cultural property in Uji to preserve the technic and promote its successor. The manufacturing method is not only the value of Uji tea. Creators also care for picking leaves. They value hand-nipping method in which tea leaves are picked without using scissors. Hand-nipping is a labor that takes much time but the best quality tea still uses the hand-nipped tea leaves. The attitude of treasuring the hand making process by the professionally skilled creators is the power that makes Uji tea so much special as “Uji” tea. Just to deliver a delicious tea for your pleasure. We carefully select the best quality Uji tea made by traditional methods with tender care.