The Quality of Yame Green Tea

Yame Central Tea Garden
There are many varieties of Japanese tea, but the quality of Yame Green Tea is known to be exceptional. Notably, the refined green tea Gyokuro (“extraordinary dew drop”) is grown from the finest variety of tea and with sophisticated growing techniques. Gyokuro has been selected as the best tea in Japan for 9 consecutive years at the Japan Tea Festival. True to its name, it has been crowned the most exceptional tea in Japan. This is a testament to the fact that the climate in Yame is perfect for cultivating tea and that Yame is home to the most skilled tea growers in Japan.

Production Region

The Yame Region in Fukuoka Prefecture is blessed with ideal conditions for cultivating fine quality tea. Not only does it have a cool climate that envelops the tea plants in misty rains, but its high altitude also deters harmful insects. In summer, fireflies flicker in the clear streams near the tea plantations, creating a picture-perfect landscape.

Skilled Tea Growers

In the Yame area, there are many highly-skilled tea growers who produce tea crops using techniques that have been passed down for over 600 years.

  • Mr. and Mrs. Tateishi
    Gyokuro has been chosen as the best green tea for 9 consecutive years, and for the last 5 years the Gyokuro produced by Mr. and Mrs. Tateishi has received that honor. The soft-spoken husband and kind, cheerful wife are a well-known pair. They are expert tea growers. About the key to producing the best Gyokuro in Japan Mr. Tateishi says, “I listen to the tea, and only do what I should.”
  • Shinya Yamaguchi, Connoisseur
    Sincere, forward-looking, and at times a disciplinarian, the next president of the leading tea manufacturer in Yame has earned the confidence of his older colleagues. He utilizes his considerable skill in appraising tea to produce techniques that create even more delicious blends.

Ingredients

Yame Green Tea is noted for its subtle astringency, bitterness, and highly concentrated flavor.
YAME GYOKURO Water Total Nitrogen Free Amino Acid Theanine
4.0 7.1 5.4 3.2
Fiber Tannin Caffeine Vitamin C
16.8 8.5 3.0 0.1
YAME SENCHA Water Total Nitrogen Free Amino Acid Theanine
3.5 5.3 2.9 1.5
Fiber Tannin Caffeine Vitamin C
19.9 14.1 2.4 0.2
CHINA SENCHA Water Total Nitrogen Free Amino Acid Theanine
5.2 3.6 1.6 0.8
Fiber Tannin Caffeine Vitamin C
26.2 12.0 2.2 0.2
CHINA LUNG CHING Water Total Nitrogen Free Amino Acid Theanine
4.8 4.5 0.9 0.4
Fiber Tannin Caffeine Vitamin C
16.8 20.1 3.8 0.2

How Producers Sell Tea

In Japan, it is common to buy delicious tea at specialty tea shops. The shops reflect the changes in seasons. Flags are flown to announce when new tea is harvested, and in the summer, shops sell cold tea and matcha ice cream.

Drink samples are an important marketing method. At times, shops serve customers sweets with tea that has just been brewed. Some shops sell tea through mail-order catalogs several times a year. Selling online has also become popular. There are also tea producers who actively give plant tours. Consumers witness the straightforward manufacturing process and become fans of local brands.

Local Initiatives: To stimulate the sluggish market for high quality tea, the local community of Hoshino Village, Yame District, began holding “The National Contest for the Best Brewing Method for Gyokuro” 3 years ago in hopes of rejuvenating the production area. Many consumers from around Japan came to compete in the exciting contest, exhibiting their method of brewing Gyokuro. Contestants included grandfathers with small grandchildren in tow, making a heartwarming scene. First-time participants expressed surprise at how different Gyokuro tasted depending on how it was brewed. This event has succeeded in increasing the number of people who are familiar with the rich, high quality Gyokuro tea.

Where is Yame?

The Yame Region of Fukuoka Prefecture is located on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. Its tea plantations cover an area that ranks 6th in size in Japan. Although it is not the largest tea-growing region, Yame is famous in Japan for its high quality tea.
Location: Yame Central Tea Garden

The History of Yame Green Tea

Shofuku Temple
Japanese tea has close ties with Zen Buddhism. Eisai, who studied Zen Buddhism in China, brought Zen teachings to Japan and built the first Zen temple, Shofuku Temple, in Fukuoka Prefecture in 1195. While in China, he became impressed with the potency of tea, and when he returned to Japan he brought with him tea seeds. He also wrote about the virtues of tea in Kissa Yoyjoki (Drinking Tea for Health).

Yame Tea can be traced back to Shuzui, a pupil of Eisai who returned from China with tea seeds of even higher quality. He sowed those seeds when he built Reigan Temple in Yame in 1423, and taught the local farmers how to cultivate and process the tea.

Reasons Japanese People Drink Green Tea

Tea and Sweets
Green tea was introduced to Japan for its medicinal properties and was regarded within the ascetic training of the Zen temple as a drink that cleansed the spirit and helped achieve a high degree of mental concentration. Tea etiquette was an important aspect of the ascetic training. The general public began drinking tea through the Zen temple rites, and in due course, the public began enjoying tea for its rich flavor in teahouses and in the home.

Today, tea is enjoyed after dinner to refresh the palate, for hygienic purposes, to balance out the sweetness of desserts, or as a way to relax for a few moments. Japanese people drink several cups throughout the course of one day.

Indulging in a cup of delicious tea or partaking in a tea ceremony is the best form of enjoyment. Recently, as the benefits of tea have become clear, the number of people who drink it for its virtues has increased.

Yame Tea Videos

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