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Professional's Guide to Japanese Tea RSS

Pesticide Residues in Japanese tea - government regulations, positive list system

I have always found it very frustrating that no one seems to know much about pesticide residue regulations (both as a buyer and a seller). Japanese producers have very little access to information for regulations outside Japan, and importers have little access within Japan. I believe in honest, transparent business practices, so let's try to make things a little clearer. This post is a work in progress and I invite you to share your own expertise in the comments whether or not it relates to Japan or tea. Positive List System Japan follows a positive list approach like the EU and USA. Each country has their own list, and if not on the list, each country has their own default value. USA, Australia and...

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Japan's tea production volume and area

Year Area (hectares) Total production (tons; dry, unrefined leaf) Ooicha (shaded teas; tons) Sencha (tons) Tamaryokucha (tons) Bancha (tons) Others (tons) 2011 46200 82100 5840 53400 2200 18700 1890 2012 45900 85900 6420 54900 2320 20300 2050 2013 45400 84800 5990 53800 2270 21000 1860 2014 44800 83600 6260 52400 2060 20800 2070 2015 44000 79500 7000 47700 1790 20300 2680 Notes 2013 and 2015 data is taken from statistics from major production regions. 2011 and 2012 data is also not representative of total production due to the limitation of commercial shipments due to contamination from the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant meltdown. Data taken from Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries report: http://www.maff.go.jp/j/tokei/sokuhou/syukaku_tya_syusan_15_2/

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How matcha is made

This is a quick primer on matcha production. We learned all of this because we work with both tea farms and tea factories. Matcha from small-scale family tea farms / factories are at http://www.yunomi.life/collections/matcha The manufacturing process of matcha Tea fields are fertilized for flavor. The heavier the fertilization, the stronger the flavor. This is one reason why organic matcha is said to be not as good for the same price. Of course, flavor preferences are subjective, and so we've even recruited a farmer who uses zero fertilizer (and zero pesticides). Tea plants are shaded for 4-5 weeks after the new buds come out. In general this is spring as spring leaves have the strongest flavor, but lower quality matcha will...

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Key statistics about Japanese tea agriculture

Statistics from Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry, and Fisheries' report of the state of the tea agriculture industry. 44,000 hectares of tea fields across 20 prefectures. The top 3 prefectures make up 2/3 of this area: Shizuoka 17800 ha, Kagoshima 8610 ha, Mie 3040 ha. (2015 stats) While this acreage is a 10% decrease from 2005, acreage per farm has increase nationwide as the number of farms has decreased from 37,617 in 2005 to 20,144 in 2015 (census data) Production has decreased from 101k tons of tea in 2004 to under 80k in 2015. From 2004 to 2014 the average price of tea produced in Japan per kg has declined 25% from about 2000 yen/kg to under 1500 yen/kg Per household...

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All about the grading of matcha

MATCHA GRADES You'll often see matcha listed in English as "ceremonial grade", "latte grade", "culinary grade", etc. In Japan, you will find only "matcha" and "culinary matcha", the assumption being that matcha is for use in the tea ceremony. It's primarily a marketing tactic aimed at helping you to choose products based on your usage purpose. We've adopted the below terms and are attempting to classify the products from our various vendors. Ceremonial Grade - meant for drinking straight without sweetening, generally the highest quality and highest priced matcha products. Great aroma, great color, great taste, great texture. Production generally uses the best spring-harvested leaves and ground by a stone mill. Latte Grade - products that can be drunk straight...

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