This item is limited edition of 250 packages available at this time only. It is unknown how many years it may be before we could sell Award Competition Grade again.
This Competition Grade Matcha won the Japan Tea Industry Central Association President Award, and finished second place at the National Tea Fair of Japan. This is the second highest award for tea in Japan.
It is said that there is only a slight difference in quality in the top three teas at the National Tea Fair of Japan. This Competition Grade Matcha was grown by the same farmer who won the first place award, the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award, in the National Tea Fair of Japan in 2012 and 2016. It is truly a remarkable accomplishment to place within the top three for the second consecutive year.
The year 2012 #1 Award Competition Grade Matcha sold out much earlier than expected, and we received many requests from customers to offer it again, if possible. Though the price of the second highest award teas is much more moderate than the #1 Award Competition Grade Matcha, there is no significant difference in the quality between the top three teas at the National Tea Fair of Japan, as mentioned above.
The reasons why it is said there is no significant difference in quality between the top three teas is due to the judges leaning just slightly one way or another, the tea’s brewing compatibility with the type of water used during the competition, and perhaps, luck. To finish the first place and to win the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award, farmers must place within the top three awards consistently, for example, every third year, though it is very difficult.
Several hundred of the best teas available in Japan are entered into the competition and prizes are awarded in each category: Matcha, Gyokuro, and Sencha, so that it is extremely difficult to be ranked in the top three places at the Tea Fair. Our Competition Grade Matcha was grown by a farmer in our tea farm cooperative. Our Competition Grade Matcha Pinnacle, which finishes in an upper level position every year, is also grown by this farmer. He had won the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries Award three times until now. He was born in 1969, and shows great promise. To consider his age and award-winning history, he is the extreme brilliant and ardent practical tea farmer in Japan.
Teas contributed to the National Tea Competition usually have a full and generous flavor that is smooth, mellow, and deep, along with the fresh aroma of young sprouts. Because upper level competition teas are all of premier quality, the margin between the top three place teas and other upper level teas is minimal. However, this Competition Grade Matcha has a remarkably smoother, mellower, and deeper taste than other high level competition teas. And the color is amazingly brighter.
It may also be a great pleasure to compare this with regular Matcha Pinnacle and Competition Grade Matcha Pinnacle.
Growing competition grade tea requires a surprising amount of money and effort ( for more info, click here). In fact, farmers lose money on the pursuit. The reward is the satisfaction of producing something so superlative that it surpasses tea and becomes art. It is the inspired pursuit of excellence.
As above, the price of tea finished in the second or third highest place is more moderate than the first highest place tea, though there is no significant difference in quality. Indeed, it seems that the mellowness and deepness of this Matcha is almost the same as last year's #1 Awarded Competition Matcha, which the farmer won the first highest award in 2012 and 2016, and the color may possibly be even brighter. Besides, our set price is actual production cost with minimum shipping charges, in order for many customers to enjoy this as easily as possible.
You can prepare approximately 9 or 10 bowls of Matcha with this Competition Grade Matcha. If 30% is deducted as a handsel for the farmer, the cost would be less than US$5 (2012 #1 Awarded: US$8) for each bowl of this Matcha. We are certain this Matcha will be the ICHIGO ICHIE (*) precious experience of your life.
(*) ICHIGO ICHIE, which was first said by tea ceremony inventor Rikyu Sen (1522-1591), means "treasure each encounter, for it will never reoccur" in Japanese.