Tea plantations


Tradition

All teas come from the plantations of the Otsuka Family (A1: company name Otsuka Seicha K.K.) in Kakegawa, Shizuoka, the Sugimoto Family (A2: company name Shohokuen) in Uji, Kyoto and Ureshino Teamaster Aikawa (A3) in Ureshino on the island Kyushu. The tea traditions have been passed down from father to son during many generations. They are very proud of their products and do anything to keep the high standards.

Quality

Otsuka, Shohokuen en Aikawa all produce so called "single estate" teas. All teas are grown, processed and packaged at the same location. This guarantees the freshest tea and no loss due to transportation. It also secures total process control from plant to final product. The tea is only harvested twice per year, so that the tea leaves contain as much flavour, aroma and nutrients as possible. The more often tea is harvested from the same plant, the less its taste will be and the less nutrients it will contain. Also the later the tea is picked the more influence of the sun, which causes chemical reactions in the leaf, making it harder and the taste bitterer. Also, the tea plant will be exhausted if its leaves are harvested more than twice. The aim of J-PORT's tea producers is to grow tea in a way that is friendly to man and nature. No additives to influence the taste or smell are added to the tea; it is a totally natural product. Laboratory tests prove that the teas comply with the European regulations.


Perfect location

The plantations are located in the mountains. Through the valleys many small rivers flow. The difference between night and day temperatures causes a beautiful fog that rises up from the rivers, which is excellent for tea growing as it filters the strong sunlight. Research has learned that a too big difference in temperature is not beneficial for the tea, and therefore fans on high poles are placed all over the plantation. These fans move and mix the colder and the warmer air, keeping the temperature more constant and avoiding the risk of frost on the leaves, which would destroy them.


Prize winners

Both the Otsuka Family and the Sugimoto Family as well as Teamaster Aikawa have won several prizes for their tea in regional and national tea competitions. At the latest national tea competition in Tokyo in the autumn of 2005, Otsuka has won another prize for the best tea of Japan.