A 4th generation family tea farm
Established by Kamimizu Sousuke, the Kamimizu family has been growing tea in Miyazaki Prefecture for over 120 years. Today, the family farms without the use of pesticides and without the use of fertilizers in order create tea according the biorhythm of the tea plants.
At the foot of Mt. Kirishima in Miyazaki Prefecture lies the town of Mimata, a land where the sunlight, rich soil and pure water are in abundance. Kamimizuen have been growing tea for over 120 years.
Kamimizuen was founded in 1896 by Kamimizu Sousuke. He was 20 years old when he first learned the hand-rolling technique and started tea production. As Japan faced modernization, machinery was introduced into the tea industry and in 1931 Kamimizuen’s second generation owner installed tea processing machine. In 1965, the third generation owner Kamimizu Suzumu decided to handle the entire process from tea production, manufacturing to sales.
The turning point came in 1979, when the late frost killed the tea harvest of Kamimizuen’s entire tea field. In 1980, learning from a similar case seen in abroad, they incorporated the use of sprinklers in the tea field.
When the temperature drops to -2 degrees (Celsius) it kills the leaves. The late frost becomes a concern in early spring when the tea buds start to grow, so in order to avoid the temperature from dropping to -2 degrees, abundant amount of water is sprinkled throughout the field to keep the tea leaves at 0 degrees; in this way it freezes and protects the tea leaves instead of killing them. Although the water supply was a great concern because this method required a large amount of water, in 1982, with the use of ground water Kamimizuen succeeded in protecting the tea leaves, becoming the only tea field that was not affected by the late frost.
This incident gave Kamimizu a new insight into the wonder of water and how it interacts with plants to bring their intrinsic power.
In 1986, Susumu Kamimizu created Bio Tea: a type of Sencha that is organically grown without the use of pesticides or fertilizer but using the energy of nature – sunlight and water. It is called Bio Tea because the leaves are grown in accordance with the biorhythm of the tea plant. They pay close attention to water, which is controlled based on the climate to bring out the natural growing power of wild plants. Grown under such “natural” condition, these leaves are then aged for a year to bring out the rich aroma and umami.
Bio Tea has been recognized by athletes for its rejuvenating quality.
In 1991 World Championships in Athletics (held in Tokyo, Japan) and in 1992 Summer Olympic Games (Barcelona), Japanese marathon runners that drank Bio Tea as their re- hydrating drink performed well which helped promote Bio Tea among the athletic world. Today, Bio Tea is being chosen by athletes from various sports such as basketball, volleyball, rugby, etc. to quench their thirst.