Soil so healthy you could eat it
Pesticide-free, organic green tea produced from hand-raised soil
Tea is a drink that has been used as a medicine in China since ancient times. Later, it was introduced to Japan and has a history as a drink that is good for one’s health. We would like you to take another look at the charm of tea, which has supported the physical and mental health of people from ancient times to the present day, and incorporate it into your modern life. With this in mind, CHILL TEA provides Mr. Irie’s tea to the world.
Mr. Irie discusses how important soil is when growing tea.
“There are a lot of microbes in the soil, and they strengthen the crops’ resilience. If the soil is healthy and strong, it will be resistant to diseases and will not attract a large number of pests. If there is a natural cycle where insects who eat the crops appear, we can just support the crops by making some minor adjustments. I think it is important that instead of protecting the crop with the use of pesticides, that the crops themselves become stronger and be able to thrive on their own.”
“Here, try some of this,” he said as he passed me some soil from the tea plantation, which had a slightly sweet taste when I put it in my mouth. There was no bitterness or roughness. It melted lightly in the mouth like powder, and it had a flavour that made me wonder if it is really soil.
The left side of the photo is soil taken little further away from the plantation, and the right side is the soil from the tea plantation made by Mr. Irie. At first glance, you can see that the moisture of the soil is different.
“That being said, up until now, there were no tea plantations that could make tea without using pesticides or chemical fertilizers, so no one could understand how it was possible.” However, I was lucky that my tea plantation sits at the top of a mountain. Due to the lack of other fields around me, I was able to test different methods without bothering any other farmers. Moreover, the fan-shaped terraced fields were facing south, so the sunlight could reach the whole field which is suitable for making tea.”
However, the soil preparation is not straightforward. If the soil becomes healthy, it will be good for growing tea leaves, but weeds grow rapidly. Particularly, it seems like the stems of snake gourds and yams grow back right after being removed. Apparently, all the weeds in the tea plantation that grow every day are removed by hand.
“In our field, we stick to the rule which allows the natural wildlife to work for us. We created various measures to prevent insects from entering, but we never harmed the tea leaves with insecticides, so the soil has changed over the last 5 years. Insects come, but the tea leaves do not get sick. Furthermore, natural predators actually get rid of pests such as aphids, butterflies, and caterpillars. I realized the soil gave birth to its own ecosystem.”
Presently, Shunnosuke Irie is struggling as the second generation, inheriting the tea plantation from his predecessor, Toshiro Irie. The harvested tea leaves are carefully processed at the factory. “Even though our pesticide-free and chemical-free fertilizer method is different, I think that we cannot avoid doing the same thing as everyone else. We spend more time weeding than spending time with the tea leaves. There are many people spending a long time working hard and spending most of the time weeding. However, the hundreds of millions of microbes found in the soil belong to our employees. It is important to do what we can to get those employees to work in good health. I often discuss this with my father.”
The tea leaves produced by Mr. Irie have passed the world’s strictest EU / Germany pesticide residue inspection. In 2007, he cleared all the special precise inspections where even a single drop of chemical substance can be detected in a 25-metre pool. His tea has been certified as a world-class genuine organic green tea. For this inspection, Mr. Irie went to Germany alone, even though he could not speak a word of German. I want people all around the world to drink organic green tea, which is packed with Mr. Irie’s thorough commitment to healthy tea.
The organic series provided confidently by CHILL TEA is made with such passionately produced tea leaves.
For the tea produced by Mr. Irie –
Click here for “Premium Organic Yame Sencha”