Even now, several years after 2018, there are still many people who come to our store because of this program.In particular, I would like to express my gratitude to all of you who have been able to introduce the history of Uji tea, the commitment to cultivation and quality, and the depth of Uji tea.
Broadcast contents related to our garden are as follows.
① Traditional cultivation method
Guide to Okunoyama Tea Garden, the oldest tea garden in Uji
② How matcha is made
Guidance of our company's "stone-ground matcha factory"
③ Deep taste of tea
Comparing tastes of "Matcha born in an alluvial fan" and "Matcha born in a terrace"
It was early March when I took him to Okunoyama Tea Garden, the only one of Uji Shichimeien that still exists, and the tea garden was in winter before the new tea season.Until the Edo period, this cultivation method was permitted only in Uji. The effect is to dye the leaves green and store umami ingredients) is still practiced in this tea garden, and the traditional 'honren cultivation' is also done by spreading reed screens and shaking rice straw to block the light. I was. I also explained that only the first tea leaves in May are picked, and that they are all picked by hand.
When I explained the old tree over 400 years old, I was surprised that the branches were not so large. When I explained that it was small and did not stretch, I was very convinced. Also, I will never forget Tamori-san's characteristic joke, "It would be nice to dry the sweetfish from the Uji River in the sun with a reed screen."
At the matcha factory, we saw how tencha is ground in a stone mill (more precisely, it is a stone mill that grinds only tea, so it is more correct to call it a tea mill) to make matcha.When I opened the glass window of the observation room, I was first surprised by the aroma of matcha wafting from the factory, and then I explained the structure, mechanism, direction of rotation, number of rotations, etc. of the tea mill. It was said that only 40 g can be ground per tea mortar.
Next, we had you experience ground tea with a hand-ground mortar handed down in our garden. This tea mill is made of "Uji stone" which cannot be seen nowadays. Tamori was able to turn the upper mortar safely, and matcha came out from between the upper and lower mortars. Mr. Hayashida, the assistant, thought that the mortar could be turned more lightly, but he was surprised that the upper mortar did not turn at all and it required strength to turn the mortar.I thought it was time to grind the amount of one puff, and I was able to recognize how precious matcha was a drink for people in the past.
The place where the tea is inspected is neither an examination room nor an inspection place.It is a word filled with the feelings of the Uji tea merchants, to respectfully look at the tea that has been produced with the roots.The viewing area faces north, with the front wall sloping toward the north, and a skylight on the top to let in natural light.Also, the surrounding walls and pedestals are all black.When looking at tea, it is most suitable for seeing the color and luster evenly without being disturbed by other lights. We were able to guide them to this viewing area and convey the depth of tea, including the geology and soil.
Okunoyama Tea Garden is located on a terrace in Uji, on a hill with an altitude of 6 to 70m.The soil of the tea garden is clayey and hard, while the tea garden in the alluvial fan that spreads out in Uji has soft soil with accumulated sand and pebbles. Mr. Tamori visited both tea gardens and demonstrated that the soil in which the tea is planted changes the quality of the tea.
In general, the tea is broadly divided into tea grown in the highlands of the Yamate and tea grown in the sandy areas along the river. In addition, the ground color of matcha is slightly yellowish in the mountains, but it is dark green in the sandy areas along the river. Mr. Tamori inspected Tencha and Matcha, which are the same variety cultivated in Okunoyama tea garden and alluvial fan, and felt the difference. This inspection of the viewing area has something in common with the method that tea masters in Uji have been doing for many years.Uji tea masters show off their skills by creating the best tea using a unique blending technique called "gogumi" and providing products with a taste that does not change throughout the year.For example, I mentioned earlier that we create and sell a single tea by combining a product with a strong aroma, a product with a strong flavor, a product with a gentle and straightforward taste, and a product with a good ground color.