Organic tea farmer Yoshimitsu Masuda's best sencha, Daichi no Meicha 大地の命茶 ("Tea [made from] the life of the earth"), is a deep-steamed sencha or fukamushicha that produces a deep green tea with a rich umami flavor.
The leaves for this tea is a single cultivar, Kanaya Midori, are picked while they are still very young in spring.
About the Kanaya Midori cultivar
Tea research institutions operated by the Ministry of Agriculture in each major tea region constantly experiment to create new cultivars. In 1949, the Shizuoka branch crossed the Yabukita cultivar with a tea plant called Shizuoka zairai number 6 (静岡在来6号, often shortened "S6"). The best descendant was selected and registered in 1970 as tea cultivar number 30. The name comes from the old town of Kanaya which was merged into the city of Shimada where the Zenkouen Tea Garden is based.
The Japanese tea industry uses Yabukita as a standard, and the Kanaya Midori cultivar can be harvested approximately 4 days later. The leaves tend to be smaller yet more plentiful giving a larger crop yield.
- Ingredients: Green tea
- Cultivar: Kanaya Midori
- Harvest: Spring
- Region: Shimada, Shizuoka
- Steaming: Deep steamed (fukamushicha)
Yoshimitsu Masuda spent the first part of his adult life working in a major farming cooperative where he learned firsthand about the danger of food additives and pesticides. Returning to the family tea farm in 1992 to learn tea making from his father and fellow tea farmers in Shimada, Shizuoka, he was deeply surprised at the amount of pesticides used in tea farming.
Switching to organic farming was not an easy task; insects and disease plagued the first field he was given charge of, crop yield and leaf quality dropped, and he faced criticism from both family and other tea professionals. But he felt it was important to create tea that was safe for his own family to drink first. (Read more about Masuda-san's story here.)
Today, built upon 25+ years of organic farming experience, Masuda-san produces tea that he is proud to call both safe and delicious and is passing his tea-making skills on to his children.
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