Monday, May 23, 2011

Update from Takada San: 2011 Japanese Spring Green Tea

Takada san's covered green tea fields
aim to reproduce the deeply shadowed
valleys where green tea is grown near Kyoto.
This year, the technique also added extra
protection from radiation. Top: covered
tea fields. Center: gyokuro growing
under cover. Bottom: Kabuse Sencha
 Roy's friend Takada san, a tea farmer in Southern Japan, recently sent an update about the latest effects of the Japanese nuclear disaster on the 2011 spring green tea harvest in his region:

I can send you more information about our nuclear problem. As to the security of the new tea leaves, Uji is far from the Fukushima nuclear plant, over 800 km. We don't have a problem here. Analysis of Uji tea showed no radioactivity in fresh tea leaves from Uji.

Most of our tea is growing under the cover, which is called Kabuse Sencha. This makes it safer than most of the sencha in Shizuoka. On the sencha mountain in west Shizuoka they had 70 Bq/kg of radiation in the fresh leaves. It is still under the threshhold of 500 Bq/kg, so this tea is OK for drinking.


Roy has reserved a small quantity of Takada san's most exclusive gyokuro, grown, picked, and processed using traditional methods, for the Imperial Tea Court teahouses. Takada san also had bad news about 300 Japanese green tea seedlings he was arranging to have shipped to Roy's California tea farm. The original lot became diseased, so the nursery is starting to grow new plants from scratch. The new seedlings won't ship until autumn.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Vicarious Tea Travel

Our friend and teahouse regular Diane is taking a hiatus from the workaday world to tour the tea regions of India and Yunnan. Her in-depth blog posts are fascinating reading - best enjoyed with a few cups of tea. Check out Diane's adventures in her Tea Journeys blog.