From the last post, Matcha was brought into Kyoto and eventually expanded into Uji. We will discuss about why we source our Artisanal Matcha from small batch Uji tea farmers.
Uji is between Kyoto and Nara, Japan’s two major ancient capitals and famous historical and cultural centers. When green tea was first brought to Japan by the Zen priest Eisai in the late 12th century, Uji became the area for tea planting thanks to its proximity to the former capitals.
Eisai also taught tea cultivation and preparation methods to the local priests. The techniques refined here later earned Uji the status as the area of excellence for tea production. But matcha came into existence only in the 16th century after tea growers developed the sun-shade growing method.
Geographical & Climatic Conditions
Uji lies in a basin surrounded by mountains, lake, river and small streams, and the soil is abundant in minerals. The climate is extremely hot in summer and severely cold in winter, but there is never frost. Because of Uji’s unique topography, there is always a gentle wind. The locals believed the wind is the blessing that blows the frost away.
Uji is about 50 km inland, shielding it from storms, and it has a relatively low rainfall compared to other parts of Japan. While in other parts of Japan tea plantations are on steep slopes, in Uji, tea is planted on gently sloping hills or on hilltops.
The misty climate, warm days and cool nights, and gentle slopes provide the ideal settings to grow the highest grade tea bushes in Uji.
Different soil types will give out different characteristics of tea products. In the Uji region, the soil is mostly acidic which is perfect for matcha cultivation. Nearby Lake Biwa supplies the Uji region humus and old sediments that also contribute to the resulting dark coloured leaves with strong flavours.