Wazuka Young Tea Farmers' Project
With almost 800 years of history, Wazuka Town in Kyoto Prefecture is well-known for its Japanese green tea. The years tea farmers spend perfecting their craft and understanding the unique characteristics of their individual fields is evident in the quality of the tea produced.
This passion often leads to friendly competition between farmers, as they each try to devise new cultivation methods and techniques.
We would like to share this deep pride Wazuka Town tea farmers have for their tea with you.
A Wazuka Town special:
Young Tea Farmers Comparison Set
Depending on their personal preferences, family traditions, and experience; each tea farmer in Wazuka Town adopts a different approach when it comes to their tea cultivation.
This includes the type of fertiliser that is used, how the fertiliser is applied, the methods of managing the quality of the soil, and even the layout of their tea fields. All these factors come together and play an important role in the final taste of tea.
This comparison set was put together to enable anyone, whether you are new to tea or a tea fanatic, to indulge and experience these differences.
To create this unique single-origin sencha comparision set, we requested for each tea farmer to use the cultivated variety (cultivar) "Yabukita".
With the same pristine location, the same tea cultivar, the only difference left is the cultivation methods of each young tea farmer.
A significant amount of time was invested in carefully analysing each young tea farmer's tea. One of our main goals in the discussion was to find a way to best allow the individuality of each tea farmer shine.
You will be surprised by how much the taste of Japanese green tea can change!
The importance of working together
Due to the slump in tourism as an effect of COVID-19, the demand for quality Japanese tea has significantly fell. Furthermore in 2021, the yield of new tea dropped sharply due to the unprecedented frost damage across all the tea farmers. Such a wide-scale impact is said to occur only once every hundred years.
In addition, there are approximately 260 tea farmers in Wazuka Town, but the average age of these farmers are over 65 years old. The number of abandoned farming land is also visibly increasing year by year. Tea plantations lose their vigour when left unmaintained and we hope to reduce that.
Wazuka Town is the main production of Uji tea and is responsible for 40% of the Uji tea produced in Kyoto Prefecture.
We hope that through this project we are able to attract new customers young or old, from every corner of the globe, and boost their appreciation for Japanese tea.
Meet your Wazuka Town tea farmers
D:matcha Kyoto is a start-up that was formed by the shared love for agriculture and preserving the traditions of the Japanese countryside. The founding members first moved to Wazuka Town in 2015.
As of 2021, we manage a 3ha of tea fields in Wazuka Town. In addition to tea farming, we are also heavily involved in the processing and production of other tea confectioneries. We currently export our tea and tea products to 45 countries worldwide.
Yohei Tanaka | 田中洋平
Yohei Tanaka currently manages 6ha of tea fields. While he was still in high school, he came to the realisation that agriculture was a field that was on the cusp of a big boom.
The quest to perfect his craft thus included him questioning and experimenting with new ways of cultivating tea. So much so that rival tea farmers even turn to him for advice. His hope for the future is that his children inherit the same love for tea and eventually take over the family business.
Yohei-san is currently 38 years old, with 18 years of experience as a tea farmer.
Hata Koudai | 畑広大
After completing his formal education, Koudai-san realised that his lack of basic knowledge of tea was less compared to his peers who had succeeded their family's tea farmers earlier.
This frustration and thirst for knowledge eventually spearheaded him into teaching himself about the basics of tea farming. He is now well-recognised in the Japanese tea industry, with numerous awards under his belt. To date he also has planted almost 20 tea cultivars.
His goal is to continue bagging any award in the tea industry, and to be the ace of quality Uji tea production.
Koudai-san is currently 38 years old, with 16 years of experience as a tea farmer.
Hayashi Yoshito | 林嘉人
When Yoshito-san was in this third year of junior high school, he suffered a life-threatening disease. Two years he spent in hospital bravely fighting his condition also cemented his interest in the human physiology.
After graduating from the Kyoto Prefectural Tea Research Institute, Yoshito-san decided to expand the amount of tea fields that were being cultivated organically. Currently 1.4ha of the 4.2ha of tea farms he manages are done organically.
His greatest joy comes from customers who share the same appreciation and empathise with his cause. This is evident in the tea he produces that holds a delicious that cannot be readily evaluated in the tea market.
Yoshito-san is currently 37 years old, with 17 years of experience as a tea farmer.
Chiharu Morimoto | 森本千春
Ask anyone in Wazuka Town for a young tea farmer that produces delicious Japanese tea, and Chiharu-san's name is the first you will hear!
After completing his studies at the Kyoto Agricultural University, he spent time training at the Kyoto Prefectural Tea Research Institute.
His goal for his family's business is to make tea that is popular and accessible to anyone and everyone. The effort he puts into this includes spending time at the sencha and tencha factories from opening till closing just observing the different tea leaves harvested by other tea farmers.
As he absorbs the information he learns from other tea farmers around him like a sponge, it will only be time before he will be at the very top of the tea farmers in Wazuka Town!
Yoshito-san is currently 30 years old, with 8 years of experience as a tea farmer.