STiR coffee and tea magazine

Volume 5, Number 2

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52 STiR tea & coffee industry international / Issue 2, 2016 (April/May) By Anne-Marie Hardie SHIZUOKA, Japan Known for its technology and innovation, Japan is truly a place where industry meets aesthetics. Changes in tea production have evolved over generations, but one thing re- mains true, Japan independently developed its unique styles of green tea. Today sencha, a green tea processed through steaming, comprises 75% of the total tea production in Japan. First introduced 300 years ago in Uji, Kyoto, the leaves are rolled and dried at low temperatures. Traditionally formed by hand, today most of the sencha is processed mechanically. Japan exports only a small amount of tea, less than 4% of what is grown with the majority exported to the US, followed by Germany, Singapore, and Canada. Japan's total tea production is about 90,000 tons per year, with 75% of the tea processed as sencha, 13% bancha and 5% kabusecha. Tea consumption within Japan is experienc- ing a decline as youth gravitate away from traditional loose leaf. Convenience is driving the change with sachets, tea bags, and a huge ready-to-drink market. To stimulate con- sumer demand, manufacturers and retailers, have decreased the price of tea, according to market research firm Euromonitor. Customer preferences lead producers to ex- periment with a variety of teas including matcha; production methods such as organic production and styles such as Japanese black tea all in hopes of enticing tea drinkers both internally and abroad. In Japan, the commercial production of tea is limited to the southern part of the country where average temperatures range from 52 to 64 degrees Fahrenheit (11.5 to 18 ÂșC) and rainfall from 590 to 787 inches (1,500-2,000 centimeters) per year. Tea plants produce leaves from March to November in four distinct flushes, and remain dormant the rest of the year. The tea is highly influenced by sophisticated agro-technol- ogy that takes into consideration each section of land, cultivars, plucking methods, pest controls, and climatic factors. The first pluck is generally in April with the final pluck (used to create bancha) occurring in early autumn. Innovation Beautifully Integrated with Tradition Mt. Fuji overlooking hundreds of thousands of tea bushes. Shizuoka tea bushes about to bud Umami rich sencha in the cup

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