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Before the Tea is Ready (Cultivation)

1. First, Plant Saplings

  • Before planting, the soil is dug to a depth of one meter and the top soil and layer below is thoroughly mixed, in a process called tenchigaeshi. At this time compost is blended in, vitalizing the soil. Then a hole is dug for planting, and the saplings are planted. The saplings are taken from cuttings of the uppermost portions of plants that have been growing for 2-3 years. Straw is laid out after planting, to prevent the soil from drying out.

2. Tending the Garden

  • It takes about 3-5 years before planted seedlings are ready for tea harvesting. Until then, weeds must be pulled (it's especially common for weeds to grow among young shrubs) and organic fertilizer laid. From the second year, a pruning process called shitate (tailoring) begins. Without pruning, the shrub will keep growing taller and not much tea will be produced. By pruning the main trunk side branches grow out, which leads to a higher tea yield.

3. Picking the Tea

  • Until tea harvesting will be possible 3-5 years later, for now harvests are made on mature tea shrubs. The timing of the harvest has a direct effect on the quality of the tea, and requires the utmost diligence. If the right harvest time is missed the quality will fall, so in order to avoid letting the moment slip away, all the tea is harvested at once.