Ureshino City, Japan
Ureshino is the home of the oldest tea tree in Japan — planted 400 years ago — as well as the newest Japanese Tea Culture Museum just completed in 2018. The tea garden at the museum welcomed a group of tea enthusiasts on a World Tea Tour with the opportunity to try out two of the modern methods. One is a tractor-sized riding harvester designed for more open, large areas. A smaller version can function in smaller areas where the riding harvester is not practical. Like a large hedge clipper, it is light enough to be held level by two people with clipped leaves being blown into a collection bag.
Approximately 95% of the tea in Ureshino City is mechanically harvested. It is then processed into either pan-fried (Kamairi) tea or steamed for Tamaryoku tea (which is also rolled to get a curved shape). These processing methods come from Ming Dynasty China. It is a pairing of ancient tradition with modern technology to create fine tea.
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As someone that has done a fair amount of content on tea, I have a lot of mixed thoughts on the way information is passed. With tea reviews or discussing a specific tea I have struggled with the question: how to talk about an individual tea or tea in general in an interesting or useful way.. Whether you like or dislike TeaDB episodes largely depends on whether you enjoy watching two particular people drink and binter. This is fine enough and it is certainly fun for Denny & I to create, but I’ll also agree with the sentiment that it’s not necessarily the most substantive way to review a tea in depth. There’s some signal but there’s also a lot of noise. Writing about a specific tea also isn’t easy and I think is actually very difficult to execute in a way that is actually consistently interesting or useful for people. Most people just want to know if you liked or didn’t like a specific tea. Making something that piques interest beyond that is a challenge and even if you don’t like them a place like Mei Leaf has succeeded in creating content that really does engage their viewers. You also have to consider that the majority of people have not had the tea or are even unfamiliar with the basic taste profile (i.e. Denny & I describing a traditionally stored pu’erh, when the audience has never had one).. Here are some phrases I dislike and hear frequently enough that I find them unhelpful and sometimes even counter-productive.
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