Why is Tencha Flavor a Secret? (Pure Elegant Flavor)Why is Tencha Flavor a Secret? (Pure Elegant Flavor)

Growing Competition Grade Tea

As introduced on other columns, growing competition grade tea requires a surprising amount of money and effort. We introduce a few topics on competition grade tea below.

(Fertilizing)
Fertilizer for competition grade tea costs several times more than usual high grade tea. A few times amount and more expensive fertilizer is used. For example, the below pictures show herrings used as fertilizer. Whole herrings, which are also edible for humans, are fragmented into small pieces, and they are carefully distributed at the roots of the tea trees and among the tea trees. When the tea trees absorb the nutrition of fertilizer, the tea leaves for competition tea have an amazing glossy brilliance, much more so than tea leaves for other tea. Even the tea leaves for usual high grade hand picked tea shine more than common machine trimmed tea. You can see this in the below pictures. They are never unveiled.

(Shading)
In the case of Gyokuro and Matcha, one of the most difficult issues is knowing exactly when to shade the tea leaves from sunlight. If too early, tea leaves can't absorb nutrition and the flavor is weak. If too late, the noble mellow aroma is weak. As the time for shading approaches, the farmer carefully checks tea leaves growth and condition quite frequently. Our tea farmer says that when shade is required, the tea leaves talk and ask him to provide shade from sunlight.

(Harvest / Processing)
Competition tea is harvested when the tea tree has only one or two sprouts. In general, the flavor of the tea becomes more intense when the tea tree produces two to five sprouts. If the quantity of tea leaves is too small, the tea can't be processed, so a good amount of tea leaves are required. Therefore, double or triple the number of hand pickers are needed. Arrangement of gathering hand pickers is one of the difficulties with growing competition tea. Fresh tea leaves are processed just after harvest. Processing is one of the most important factors for competition tea. To process competition grade tea, the farmer has many special and wise techniques learned over generations and through trial and error, including subtle yet vitally important adjustments to temperature, time, and the production environment.


Herrings fragmented into small pieces just before being used as fertilizer

Herrings distributed at the roots of tea trees and among tea trees. Distributed a few times from the end of February to the end of March.

It is difficult issues to know exactly when to shade the tea leaves from sunlight.

Tea leaves for usual high-grade hand-picked tea have a lovely shine.

Because competition tea is harvested when the tea leaves are quite young, double or triple the number of hand pickers are needed.

Hand-picker carefully picks soft young tea leaves.

Drying process of Tencha (Matcha).

This is the fire pit for Tencha (Matcha). To process competition grade tea, the farmer makes subtle yet vitally important adjustments to temperature, time, and the production environment.

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...
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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