Maturation of Kuradashi Tea (Efforts for Kuradashi Tea)Maturation of Kuradashi Tea (Efforts for Kuradashi Tea)

Around May 26: (Shincha Harvest of Gyokuro and Matcha)

Hand picking harvest under "Tana" canopy.

Inside "Tana" canopy. "Tana" brings a feeling of peaceful tranquility and comfort.

Tea sprouts just before picked.

Recently it is not easy to recruit for hand picking.

The bag is filled with fresh tea leaves. It is very heavy.

Only young sprouts are picked by skilled hands.

Tea leaves picked and placed in a bamboo basket.

Tea leaves are replaced to large bag.

Tea leaves are replaced in baskets at the factory and processed immediately.

Various insects are also active at this time of year.

Break time. Idle banter is one of pleasant times for hand-picking ladies.

Warm and soft slit light between "Tana" canopy is reflected on young sprouts.

Under "Tana" canopy, tea leaves turn darker green.

Skilled tea harvester can hand pick just up to 12 to 18kg of fresh tea leaves throughout the day.

Tea trees after harvest.
The harvest of tea leaves for Gyokuro and Matcha started around May 20. As with the Sencha harvest, this year's Gyokuro and Matcha harvest is later than usual.

Gyokuro and Matcha are grown in the shade for 20 to 30 days before harvest. High grade Gyokuro and Matcha are shaded from sunlight by a structure called "Tana" as in the above picture. It is reasonably dark and amazingly cool and quiet in the "Tana" structure. Most of all, the air in the "Tana" is filled with the fresh green scent of tea leaves, so brisk and invigorating. While the tea trees are covered by the "Tana" for 20 to 30 days to shade sunlight, if you walk beneath the canopy, among the green tea trees, you feel that the tea trees surely must breathe and effuse elements which are healing and comforting, though it has not been proven by science. Under the "Tana" canopy, the air feels thick with these healthful and comforting elements.
Anyone who walks under the "Tana" is aware of an immense feeling of serenity and tranquility. Indeed, the women who pick Gyokuro and Matcha under the "Tana" say that in contrast to the Sencha harvest in full sunlight, which brings joy from the bright sunlight, hearing birdcalls and murmur of a brook, the Gyokuro and Matcha harvest under the "Tana" brings a feeling of peaceful tranquility and comfort because of the cool shade, quiet calm, and the heavy scent of the green tea trees.

To harvest tea from a farm that is 1,000 square meters (1,308 sq yards) in size, it takes 2 days with about 25 people picking the tea leaves by hand. In contrast, it takes only a half-day with 2 or 3 persons to trim the same amount of tea leaves by machine. A tea farm of this size usually produces approximately 100 to 120kg (220 to 265lb) of Aracha tea leaves (unfinished / including stems, veins, and powders, etc.) for Gyokuro or Matcha.

Gyokuro and Matcha gain an enriched flavor over time, and are traditionally enjoyed some months after harvest. In fact, a very special type of Gyokuro called "Kuradashi Gyokuro" and "Kuradashi Matcha" are aged for a few years, like a fine red wine. However, today's tea connoisseurs favor both fresh Gyokuro and Matcha and enriched Kuradashi Gyokuro and Matcha. With fresh Gyokuro and Matcha, you can enjoy not only the smooth and mellow taste, but also a unique fresh aroma characteristic of Shincha. This unique freshness cannot be found in typical enriched Gyokuro or Matcha.

We are now currently offering Shincha Gyokuro and Shincha Matcha, which are both limited edition teas only available this harvest season. If you love Gyokuro or Matcha, you are sure to enjoy the unique freshness of these two very special limited-edition teas.

Status of Shincha Teas : Now Available

Shincha (the first tea of the year) is harvested starting at the beginning of May in Kyoto. We are planning to sell some limited edition Shincha items only available this Shincha harvest season. Celebrate our first tea harvest of the year with Hibiki-an's Shincha and enjoy the remarkable fresh flavor, which can only be experienced once every year! Please wait and see!

Limited edition Shincha items

All items below are limited edition of 1,200 packages each ONLY AVAILABLE this spring harvest season. We have arranged various types of Shincha, which will be specially finished to enjoy Shincha's refreshing aroma and flavor. For more information regarding each item, please click on the links below. We hope you will enjoy the refreshing aroma and smooth flavor of each Shincha item!

[Limited] Shincha Traditional (80g/2.82oz): US$25.00 (Now Available)
These tea leaves are finished in the traditional Uji/Kyoto style. Therefore the astringent refreshing aroma and mellow flavor are prominent, and the harmony is excellent...
[Limited] Shincha AOTE (80g/2.82oz): US$23.00 (Now Available)
With Shincha AOTE, the astringent refreshing aroma and bitter taste is moderated, the tea color is greener, and the taste is mellower...
[Limited] Shincha Fukamushi (80g/2.82oz): US$21.00 (Now Available)
Saemidori breed brings us pleasure in the springtime, to consider the unique flavor and early-ripening. Enjoy the sweet and smooth taste unique to this tea, as well as the fresh aroma...
[Limited] Farmers' Shincha (160g/5.64oz): US$25.00 (Now Available)
Enjoy the natural taste and refreshing aroma of this "Aracha" Shincha at an affordable price. "Aracha" is unprocessed tea that Japanese farmers have been enjoying for centuries...

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