Producer's thoughts - 001

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    Soichiro Matsushita / Yamani Seicha

    We are confident that our tea is the most delicious tea in Japan.

This time, we asked Soichiro Matsushita of Yamani Seicha, Chittö's partner, about his thoughts as a producer.

-First of all, please tell us how you started producing tea.

After graduating from university, I worked other jobs and moved around Japan. After gaining work experience in various places, he returned to Shizuoka to take over his family's business of selling and maintaining tea manufacturing machines.

Since I was born and raised in Shizuoka, I always saw tea fields, but when I returned to my hometown for the first time in a while, I noticed that the shape of the fields was strange. In my memory, the tea plantations were semi-cylindrical in shape, but as far as I could see, they were all flat. As I later learned, this was also the result of a search for efficiency in harvesting tea leaves.

I have heard from friends and acquaintances who worked in the tea industry that ``tea sales have always come in waves, with bad times and good times.'' However, every year, tea sales have decreased by 5% or 10% compared to the previous year. …Slowly, management became tougher. In addition, an increasing number of elderly people in the neighborhood are letting go of their tea plantations. Some of them had been working as farmers until they were 97 years old, and they felt a sense of sadness at giving up the tea plantations that had been passed down through generations of their ancestors.

Having moved away from my hometown, I once again felt the goodness of my hometown, and felt a sense of mission: ``I have no choice but to do it!'' So I inherited the tea plantation and began producing tea in 2006, when I was in my late 20s. As we continued to inherit the ideas of many people, our tea plantation expanded rapidly, and now has an area of ​​170 hectares (about the size of 36 Tokyo Domes), and an annual production of 100 tons. .

-From around this time, Mr. Matsushita unconsciously became aware of the SDGs for the tea industry. Do you find it sometimes difficult to produce tea while inheriting the ideas of many people?

This can be said about agriculture in general, but the most difficult thing is unseasonable weather. If a disaster-sized typhoon comes, the tea leaves that have been carefully cultivated may be destroyed. The flavor of tea is created based on various factors such as water content, sunlight hours, and temperature, so each year we try different flavors. No two tea leaves are ever produced the same. Furthermore, tea does not become a product immediately after being picked; it goes through various processes before it becomes available to consumers. Even if you use the same tea leaves (fresh leaves), the taste will be completely different depending on the manufacturing method.

It may come as a surprise, but sencha and Japanese black tea use the same tea leaves (fresh leaves), but the different manufacturing methods give them different tastes. Despite this, we strive to produce the highest quality tea every year. It can be difficult at times, but it's so rewarding when you're able to create the highest quality tea!

-Thank you very much. Lastly, please give a message to customers who enjoy tea.

I would be happy if you could enjoy brewing and drinking tea to suit your lifestyle!

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