Gyokuro Tea Picking -chatsumi

It was a lovely sunny day out during a Golden Week, away from a bustling city centre in a small town of Uji, there is a tea producer called Hattori.

The owner, Hattori-san, is a cheerful old man and told me that he is the only one in Japan who let tourists to pick up Gyokuro-tea, so people from Shizuoka also come and try.

First, he poured his first flush of Gyokuro. Oh it was sweet and mild. He told me the history of green tea in Japan and how to make tea, which.., I didn't say but I already knew ;)

Then he showed his factory of processing tea.

Then three more machines to rub and dry.

Getting smaller...

Second rubbing

Final rubbing

Voila!

These are done in a few hours. Always the freshness is important. Now to the field!

Gyokuro is as high quality as Matcha. Trees are very well-taken care of. Covering the whole field with the black sheet is to prevent the direct sunlight, not to burn the leaves.

You have to find fresh young leaves. The dark ones are already too old for Gyokuro.

I personally love to do simple tasks. You can completely concentrate and devote yourself into it. I'm from a grape farming family and yes I do enjoy field works. It's in my blood :)

Rarely you can see the tea blossom. You see why it's camellia too :)

An hour work and got one basket full!

We received a pack of their first flush and tried at home. Aah, good!

If you find kanji says 新茶 in a tea shop, it means first flush leaf tea. Don't forget to try one, only this time of the year!