Our guides to Japanese teas and tea plants were posted on the Guides section of this site after many months of work (on and off while we dealt with other things, such as trying tea samples received from various vendors). Since they were posted we have gotten comments on social media like “Gee, you’re not Japanese, so how can you dare to post something like this?” or “There are so many sites already about Japanese teas, so why do this?” and the occasional “Good work!” To you all, we say this…
No, we are not Japanese. Thankfully, that is not a requirement for acquiring and sharing knowledge with you about fine teas from Japan. We are also not Chinese, Indian, Kenyan, Sri Lankan, Thai, etc., yet we write about teas from those countries as well. Fortunately, we have come to “know” people in these countries where tea is grown and to learn from them as well as from authoritative sites online. (We list resources for the information contained in these guides on our site as part of the Japanese teas guide. See it here.)
We also are part of a large and growing group of non-Japanese/Chinese/Indian/etc people writing about teas. In fact, one fairly popular site dedicated to Japanese tea is by a guy with a Spanish (or Italian?) name. So, ethnicity and/or nationality was not a factor for us here.
As for the many sites out there already showing info about Japanese teas, we noticed that most only cover the basics and others go in-depth on only a few of the better-known teas. We wanted to present something as complete as feasible, so we forged ahead collecting verified information and arranging it in a way that you can easily reference. (We doubt that many of you will have the time to sit and read through it all at once, nor do we mean you to. Just bookmark the link for whenever you need info.)
For a relatively small nation in terms of land area, Japan produces a surprising array of teas and grows more tea plant cultivars/varietals than expected. They deal with issues such as climate (able to stand colder winters, for example) issues and disease challenges as well as a shrinking number of people who want to grow and process tea. Yet, the population’s demand for quality tea is growing. Importing teas from China, Australia, India, and other tea-growing countries has been common for quite some time. Exporting their teas outside of Japan has been another challenge, one that rests on the driving factors in the market, primarily where can the growers get the best price for their teas (some of which are rare and take lots of expertise to process properly).
We do not necessarily seek to add to that demand with these guides, but if it ends up helping raise awareness as well as the price for those hard-working tea growers, that could be a good thing, at least for them. For you, the consumer, we hope you will give some a try. Many of you already know about teas such as genmaicha (misnamed “popcorn tea” by some tea writers and vendors), matcha, sencha, and gyokuro. Our guide will tell you more about these as well as more subtle versions and teas that are rarely seen outside Japan.
We also cover teawares and the Japanese tea ceremony called “chanoyu.”
Some of the teas featured in the guide (click on photos for details):
Your edification was our goal. And considering how scattered a lot of this information was, saving you time was also important. We have done the heavy lifting. Now, you get to sit back and sift through it at your leisure, preferably with a nice cup of tea near at hand.
© 2017-2021 World Is a Tea Party photos and text
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