Tea cultivation is reported to be suited for weak acid soil with high humidity and good drainage and an annual average temperature of 12.5-13.0℃ or above.
In Japan, there are a disproportionately large number of land areas that meet these criteria. Tohoku region has a minor quantity of output, and tea is primarily grown on the Japan Sea side, south of Niigata Prefecture, and on the Pacific side, south of Ibaraki Prefecture.
Tea can be classified into unfermented tea, semi-fermented tea, and fermented tea. Fermentation refers to oxidation of catechins by the enzymes in tea leaves.
Green tea is classified as unfermented tea, and oxidase action is prevented by heating it immediately after it is picked.
Green tea can also be classified according to its cultivation and processing processes.
Green tea, for example, is typically grown in the open air, whereas Tencha* and Gyokuro are grown in tea gardens covered by reed blinds or straw. Furthermore, the processing processes for Gyokuro and Tencha differ. Whereas rubbing is used in the processing of Gyokuro, it is not used in the processing of Tencha.
Black tea, on the other hand, is fermented completely without interfering with the action of enzymes (fermented tea), and oolong tea is fermented to some amount as well (semi-fermented tea). There is also post-fermented teas, such as Pu’er tea. After being heat-treated, post-fermentation teas are fermented by microbes rather than oxidative enzymes.
Tea is an evergreen shrub of the Camellia family, with thick and glossy leaves. Green tea is produced through the processing of its bud, stem, and leaf.
Introducing the most common processes for producing green tea.
The raw leaves are harvested and sent to a factory near the tea plantation for heating, rubbing, and drying. The tea produced here is called Aracha.
The tea is then taken to the finishing facility, where it is "sorted" and "dried/heated" to make finished tea. Finally, in order to attain a specific level of quality, "Aikumi," or the mixing of tea leaves from various manufacturing sites and plants, occurs.
In this section, we will discuss the quality assurance techniques for domestic tea leaves that we are developing in partnership with Fukujuen.
Every year, we visit and examine the manufacturing companies and farmers with whom we do business to ensure that they have a mechanism in place to prevent contamination of non-domestically produced tea leaves at all stages of production, from planting to completion.
The tea’s production history verifies that it was grown with acceptable pesticide use, and pesticide residues are also examined.
To ensure safety, we have broadened our examination items to include pesticides that may be distributed from surrounding farms as well as pesticides with high soil persistence.
The tea leaves carefully selected by the tea masters of Fukujuen are also checked for quality at Suntory Group’s laboratories. Both Fukujuen and Suntory Group thoroughly check the quality, ensuring not only aroma and taste but also its safety.