Processing by Traditional Method (Limited / Blended Sencha)Processing by Traditional Method (Limited / Blended Sencha)

Organizational Support for Tea Competition

The Tea Competition in Japan requires the support of many people working together. It sustains the tea industry, because the purpose of the tea competition is to improve Japanese tea agricultural and manufacturing techniques.

It requires organizational strength, steering strength, judging technical strength, and so on at a high level to convene the tea competition every year. From 600 to 1000 teas are contributed, and the first place tea in each category: Gyokuro, Sencha, and Matcha, wins the award of the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries. To ensure a successful tea competition, about 1000 teas should be contributed and 80 to 100 expertise personnel should be involved.

Large numbers of teas are typically contributed to the competition during an economic boom because the competition teas are bid at relatively high prices and farmers can recover the costs and labors to grow competition tea. However, during an economic depression, most competition teas except only the awarded teas are bid at relatively low prices and farmers can't recover the costs and labors. At that time, the secretariat strives to encourage farmers to increase the number of teas contributed to the competition. The tea competition is an important activity to raise the level of agricultural and manufacturing techniques throughout Japan.

About 20 Judges are called away from the tea research laboratory organized within the farm ministry, and major tea merchants who all evaluate several thousand teas every year to improve defects on cultivating and processing, or to bid. Judging tea is the most important job governing their principal occupations. So, their judging technical strengths have been continuously kept at an amazingly high level.

Number of administrative support personnel range from 60 to 80 people, who are mainly called away from agricultural cooperatives, the tea research laboratory, and tea industry association.

Needless to say, all competition teas should be judged under quite equal conditions. It is not easy at all but requires much time and effort. Once contributed, the teas should be strictly preserved in order not to deteriorate. And at examining meeting, for example, over 100 contributed teas at one category should be extracted in the same condition, with the same water temperature, same amount of water, same amount of tea leaves (and same content rate of specks and tiny tea leaves), for the same brewing time. All tea should be deftly and properly extracted in a short time. Even if there is just a small difference in each extracting condition, the flavor or tea color can't be judged fairly.

To handle and to prepare all competition tea properly, every procedure and every step are clearly standardized. And all of the administrative support personnel should become adept at the procedures, and strictly conduct each step. To do that, huge organizational strength as well as steering strength is required.

Examination criteria for the tea competition should be modified and improved over time. Factory automation has found its way into tea agriculture. In contrast, traditional agricultural and processing techniques should be preserved. So the examination criteria must include both the traditional and the modern. And each production center seems to want to alter the examination criteria in their own favor. So, the improvement of the examination criteria is not always easy.

The national tea competition is supported by a great number of individuals throughout Japan, but this strong and continuous effort raises the level of agricultural and manufacturing techniques and benefits everyone from the tea farmer to the tea shop to you, our customers.

Administrative support personnel meeting in the morning of the tea competition.

All teas contributed (around 1000 teas) are judged. The process takes two full days.

All contributed teas for the competition are stored in steel airtight containers. They are all strictly preserved.

They arrange contributed teas as soon as possible.

Timing measurement to check the brewing time.

Teas are extracted strictly following the procedures. In this picture, they are carefully checking if the poured water amounts are all equal.

Tallying up the screening result.

Competition Grade Tea / Blended Sencha Items: Now Available!

We have arranged to add three limited edition Competition Grade teas and two limited edition Belended Sencha teas.

Competition Grade Tea is extremely rare and available only at the National Tea Fair of Japan, attended by those within the Japanese green tea industry. The flavor is unique only to teas contributed to the exclusive competition and quite different from usual tea.

Belended Sencha has concurrently two different characteristics: the aroma of Sencha and the taste of Gyokuro. They are composed of fine and unique breeds of tea with special characteristics. Each individual tea is more sweet and mellow than basic Sencha, characteristic of Gyokuro. But, it has a more refreshing aroma than Gyokuro, characteristic of Sencha.

Competition Grade Tea is limited edition of just 650 packages each and Blended Sencha is limited edition of just 850 packages each ONLY AVAILABLE this winter season.

Competition Grade Tea
[Limited] Competition Grade Gyokuro Pinnacle (30g/1.06oz): US$38.00 (Now Available)
This Competition Grade Gyokuro Pinnacle has an excellent, deeply mellow taste. The National Tea Competition is held in order to improve Japanese tea agricultural and manufacturing techniques, and to congratulate and encourage those that have produced outstanding tea...
[Limited] Competition Grade Sencha Pinnacle (40g/1.41oz): US$30.00 (Now Available)
Competition Grade Sencha Pinnacle is available only at the National Tea Fair, attended by tea connoisseurs and those within the Japanese green tea industry. This fine green tea has an excellent, deeply mellow taste...
[Limited] Competition Grade Matcha Pinnacle (20g/0.71oz): US$46.00 (Now Available)
This Competition Grade Matcha Pinnacle has an excellent, deeply mellow taste. The National Tea Competition is held several times a year in Japan. Sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, and attended by executives of the Japanese tea industry...
[Limited] Competition Grade Matcha Pinnacle Refill (60g/2.12oz): US$115.00 (Now Available)
This Competition Grade Matcha Premium Refill package is an excellent value. The price is actually discounted 17%. This has an excellent, deeply mellow taste. The National Tea Competition is held several times a year in Japan. Sponsored by the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries...
Award Competition Grade Matcha
[Limited] Award Competition Grade Matcha (10g/0.35oz): US$63.00 (Now Available)
(This item is limited edition of 350 packages available at this time only. It is unknown how many years it may be before we could sell Award Competition Grade again.) This Matcha won the Japan Tea Industry Central Association President Award, and finished second place at the National Tea Fair of Japan. 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....
Blended Sencha
[Limited] Blended Sencha Super Premium (80g/2.82oz): US$25.00 (Now Available)
Blended Sencha Super Premium is a blend of Ohiwase and Meiryoku breeds of green tea. These tea leaves are sprouts that are small and soft and not fully-grown...
[Limited] Blended Sencha Premium (80g/2.82oz): US$20.00 (Now Available)
Blended Sencha Premium is a blend of Sencha and Gyokuro. This tea is composed of four breeds of green tea: Kanayamidori, Sayamakaori, Yabukita, and Okumidori...

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