In Search of a Legendary Tea
The highest quality tea leaves from a legendary tea field overlooking a sea of clouds
Since their marriage, the couple have grown tea for many years at Mt. Narao. Respecting his wife’s wishes to live in the mountains, surrounded by lush nature, rather than urban living, Naganori thought tea growing would be suitable and jumped in without any experience.
In the beginning, they ran a huge tea estate. However, they stopped expanding their fields when they decided to keep a closer eye on the fields. The Mori couple realized that they needed to reduce their fields to a more manageable size if they wanted to grow high-quality tea. This became an opportunity to further grow tea leaves full of warm attention from Mr. Mori.
As he experimented with careful tea leaf cultivation, Mr. Mori realized that new buds come out stronger if the older leaves that are just under the harvested leaves are larger.
“It’s not easy to grow larger buds. Definitely not possible in a year or two. You need to put in many, many years to make stronger buds. Tea growing requires the accumulation of many years,” says Mr. Mori.
Since Mr. Mori’s tea fields are at a high altitude compared to ordinary tea fields, the temperature is much lower during the night until morning. The resulting thick fog that occurs during the day shields the fields from sunlight at just the right level and also protects the leaves from frost. The cool nights also help tea leaves that worked hard at photosynthesis during the day to fully rest. All these conditions lead to delicious tea leaves.
In this environment, Mr. Mori also grows “Kabuse-cha,” which is grown by a method of covering the top of the tea leaves with a sheet to increase the time shielded from sunlight leading to more umami. Together with a unique technique that Mr. Mori devised by arranging arch-shaped bamboo under the sheet at equal distances, he ensures that the tea leaves do not touch the sheet and can grow lushly. This is an original method that Mr. Mori discovered from his long years of experience.
He says, “There is so much work that it is overwhelming just to think about, but umami and sweetness are totally different with the amount of care that you put in. Although I can only harvest a limited amount of tea leaves, I am very happy to be able to deliver this tea to those who think it is delicious and love it.”
Mr. Mori processes the tea leaves by himself. Through meticulous inspection with care, he detects even minute daily changes. Feeling the climate and humidity of the mountain that changes by the day with his own senses, he adjusts the tea leaves accordingly.
Within the factory, lingers the scent of tea leaves that is fragrant, but also pure. Mr. Mori touches the processed tea leaves with his fingers and checks the moisture and dryness. This is something he can do because of his years of experience. The slight adjustments cannot be written down or even expressed as numbers. Repeatedly working in a way that only he can, from some time ago, everyone started to call Mr. Mori as the “Ocha Meijin (Tea Expert).”
“The most important person is the person who drinks the tea. If someone says the words, “It’s delicious,” that is like a diamond to the person who produces the tea. It is possible to face all the hard work every day just to hear those words.”
At Mr. Mori’s tea estate, Gyokuro is being produced now. Just for CHILL TEA, Mr. Mori will be working on it as a grand summary of his experience so far. “I really put in a lot of thinking and effort into it. I think I’ve created something very good. But the method is a secret.”
In fact, CHILL TEA does not have all the details about how this Gyokuro was grown. All we can do is deliver the delicious taste of this legendary Gyokuro as a single origin tea product to you.
Made by Mr. Mori: