Hatsukura, the land optimal for Yabukita tea
”I did not think that there would be tea fields here.” Nakata said, after he got out of the car. Certainly, one imagines terraced fields on the skirts of a mountain when it comes to tea fields. A typical image would be a woman with tucked up kimono sleeves picking tea leaves with a tasuki, putting them into a bamboo basket in her arm. But we were in a wide open plain along the Oi River. Rather than looking up at the mountains, we were overlooking a wide field of green.
It was a refreshing landscape of tea fields. ”This land is suitable for Yabukita.” Sumio Tsukamoto, the leader of Hatsukura Old and New Tea Leaves Agricultural Coop told us. The water from the Oi River and the soil of Hatsukura draws out the more subtle, deep sweetness of Yabukita tea. Tea leaves from various size tea farmers are gathered at Old and New Tea Coop once they are picked. Those tea leaves are then blended, refined and shipped as tea.
Making tea that always tastes the same
”Wouldn’t that mix the different smells and flavors?”, Nakata asked. Tsukamoto responded ”Actually, it balances out the unevenness.”
At this agricultural cooperative, everything such as fertilizer is consistently managed by one organization to minimize the disparity among the farmers. Furthermore, the quality of tea leaves that were delivered is inspected, and the most appropriate blend is determined to achieve ”the usual taste”. This allows us to enjoy tea that has a consistent taste and aroma. It makes customers say, ”I want to drink that tea again.”
- Hatsukura Aged and New Tea Agricultural Coop
- 961-3 Sakamoto, Shimada, Shizuoka