What has been commonplace in tea making, and what will be commonplace in the future
The world has changed dramatically due to the 2020 novel coronavirus. It also turned out that the common sense that I took for granted and the things that I thought were necessary due to customs were not so.
It took me 1-2 hours every day to get to work on a crowded train. A meeting to go on an airplane only for tens of minutes. A lot of habits that I was just doing. Over the past year, people's values and lifestyles have been forced to change at a dizzying pace.
Under such circumstances, I had more time than usual to think about "What is the standard of tea making so far?" And "What will be the standard of tea making in the future?"
For example, so-called high-class meat in Japan refers to marbling meat with plenty of fat. It seems that you can't eat this kind of meat overseas. However, in Japan, everyone sees marinated meat and thinks it is a high-class meat that looks amazing and melts in your mouth. In fact, the price is also more expensive than red meat. Is it really meat that melts in your mouth? The cow is probably mushy.
In fact, ever since I worked at a tea store in Kyoto, I have been curious about the true flavor of high-quality tea. I was shocked by the taste of the 10g 1,000 yen tea that I drank for the first time after joining the company. It was no longer tea, but a flavor and aftertaste closer to dashi. Perhaps those who drank the finest gyokuro and sencha have had the same experience.
After that, I didn't know what it really was until I trained at a tea farmer. And one day, I found the identity of this dashi soup.
It was ammonium sulfate and other fertilizers.
Nitrogen, phosphoric acid, and potash are said to be the three major elements that are essential in the field, but nitrogen is very important to bring out the umami of tea.
That was exactly the chemical fertilizer ammonium sulfate. In other words, the more ammonium sulfate is used, the more flavorful the tea becomes, making it a smoother tea. If you go to a rural area, there are many cases where Ajinomoto (a component of umami) is added to tea. The only difference is whether ammonium sulfate is added at the time of farming or Ajinomoto is added after production.
Why is tea with strong umami so expensive? This is also something I have always wondered when I was selling tea in Kyoto. The reason was simple. In other words, in order to make tea with a strong umami flavor, there is a fertilizer fee, the associated pesticide fee, and labor cost (labor cost). (I will explain about the cover later)
The average consumer thinks that the higher the price, the better.
Certainly, it may be a good thing in the sense that it takes time and effort to artificially create a tea that gives a tremendous impact. But who really wants this delicious tea? And in order to make delicious tea, the earth and the health of producers and drinkers are sacrificed. (Of course, fertilizer vendors, pesticide vendors, and tea material manufacturers are happy, but…)
Thinking about the above calmly, I wonder who will be pleased with the tea that has been made so far.
To make delicious tea,
Use a lot of chemical fertilizers → Create an environment where insects and diseases occur frequently → Control with pesticides → Beneficial insects (insects that eat pests) and microorganisms in the soil also die → A large number of insects occur again I have drawn a spiral of.
Having learned about this background as a producer myself, I kept asking myself what it was like to make traditional tea. For five years, I continued to think about what the future of tea making should be like.
I haven't come to the answer yet,
I think that what TEA FACTORY GEN will take for granted in the future is “natural tea making”.
To please the tea tree, to please the earth where it takes root, and to make and drink a unique style of tea that brings out the best characteristics of the land, without doing artificial things as much as possible. It is a tea making that people can honestly enjoy.
First, create an environment that does not require the use of chemical fertilizers and pesticides. And finally, we will create an environment where tea can be made without using organic fertilizers. I believe that the taste will always follow as the environment improves.
Up until now, tea making was based on addition, but from now on, it will be important to make tea by subtraction. This is because the more chemical fertilizers are added, the more the environmental load is increased, and the taste and aroma will be the same regardless of the production area. If you drink without being conscious, you can say that it is almost the same. (Of course, those of us who work in the tea industry can understand even the slightest differences.)
Subtracting this means using less fertilizer and less pesticides, which emphasizes the taste of the land itself and makes it possible to produce sustainable and natural tea.
I think this will be the standard of tea making from 2021, which is with corona.
There are still many tea shops and farmers whose concept is "safe and secure tea making". So, was tea making so dangerous, unsafe, and unsafe in the first place?
Dreaming of the day when this word disappears, we will work hard to make tea as a matter of course.