Chapter 1

The beauty of Uji tea

Japanese green tea for a taste of "Spring"

Green tea, black tea, oolong tea. The various types of tea consumed around the world basically have their roots in the same plant, the Camellia sinensis. It has a long history where a variety of teas have been produced according to the local climate, terrain, and preferences.

The biggest difference lies in the fermentation process. Black tea is fermented tea and oolong tea is semi-fermented tea; Japanese green tea, on the other hand, is non-fermented tea. The shoots are picked and are immediately steamed to stop fermentation. In other words, drinking green tea is a way to relish the fresh vitality of young leaves.

The history of tea production in Japan can be described as one where great pains and efforts have been taken to seal and retain the vibrant, fragrant, and flavorous breath of spring. This trial-and-error process has given rise to the creation of green teas unique to Japan: matcha, sencha, and gyokuro, all of which were conceived and cultivated at Uji.

Tea cultivation in Uji dates back to the Kamakura period (1185-1333) about 800 years ago. Uji has since then become widely known as Japan’s best tea growing region, and many people still visit Uji to enjoy authentic tea. Unfortunately, it seems like there are fewer and fewer people nowadays who really know the true flavor of Uji tea.

Despite the fact that we live in an age when one can easily buy bottled tea, our wish at Horii Shichimeien is to convey the “genuine” flavors of Uji tea.

The color and taste that are only possible with first-picked teas from Uji

Horii Shichimeien has been selling tea in Uji for generations since its founding in the Meiji era.We grow tea ourselves in a tea garden that has been around for 600 years since the Muromachi period, and are involved in tea making from scratch.

At the shop, we always serve our customers with a cup of tea.

For the teapot, use a small amount of hot water that has been slightly lukewarm with yuzamashi.Wait for the tea leaves to slowly unravel before pouring it into the teacup. The tea brewed in this way has a clear, pale bright yellow color.

Horii Shichimeien has been selling tea in the Uji area for generations since its establishment in the Meiji period (1868-1912). We have also been growing our own tea plantations for 600 years since the Muromachi period (1336-1573), directly involved in making teas from the scratch.

At our store, we always welcome our customers by serving them a cup of freshly brewed tea. A small Japanese teapot is filled with boiled water that’s been cooled down a little to under the brim. After the tea leaves have slowly unfurled in the water, the steeped tea is poured into a teacup. The tea brewed in this way is crystal clear and pale amber in color.

Nowadays, we often see dark green tea that is typical of deeply-steamed tea. For those who are used to drinking such green tea, the tea that we offer may seem much lighter in color. They also seem to wonder if such a light-colored brew will really taste like tea. However, many people have been surprised at the richness of the tea after taking just one sip.

The rich umami, sweetness, and refreshing astringency spreads in the mouth with the aroma as the tea slides down the throat. It is refreshing and invigorating, yet has a lingering finish. Despite its appearance, Uji tea has a varied and multilayered flavor profile.

This flavor is the result of Uji’s climate and terrain, as well as the traditional cultivation and tea-processing techniques that have been developed over a long period of time.

Tea enriches the body and soul. Carefully-produced tea brings us rich moments through its flavor. It is with this belief that we are always honing our crafts on our teas.

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