Yancy Lever is an American farming tea, yuzu citrus, soba (buckwheat) and other vegetables in the beautiful mountains of Otoyo Village, Kochi, Japan. Read the Dec 2021 long form interview.
I have always been a hands on craftsman. Whether it was building luxury homes in the United States, woodworking with furniture, or remodeling, I have always gravitated towards labor intensive work where I can appreciate my craft. Maybe I am glutton for punishment?
After one too many cold winters in Colorado I decided to travel the world and learn a new language. During my travels in Mexico I met Azusa, and that’s when all my plans changed. We traveled together and fell in love. I left my life in United States to follow Azusa back to Otoyo. We are married and have two daughters.
One of my first jobs was harvesting tea in the village of Aruse. In 2018 my ocha Sensei took me to a farm in the village that had been abandoned for 3 years. The tea trees were as tall as me, vines had taken over, and it was impossible to walk between the rows of tea. My sensei said the tea would come back like new if trimmed properly. So I got to work. May 2019 was my first harvest. Thanks Sensei!
I have learned so much about Sen-cha tea in just the last few years. I enjoy tea farm work and the organic product we produce in Aruse. I’m eager to share my knowledge about tea cultivation, tea brewing, and countryside life in Otoyo, Japan.