The best Japanese green tea is shin-cha or “new tea” which is the year’s first harvest. May is the tea harvest season throughout most of Japan and many farmers take special care to select the best leaves for use in making shin-cha. While hiking in the hills near our home we met a nice family who were spending the day picking shin-cha the old fashioned way, by hand. Most Japanese farmers use machines to harvest the tea and it was a real treat for us to have a chance to watch this family bring in the harvest the old fashioned way. This friendly family were quick to invite us to join them and our daughter Emily received special instructions from the grandmother on how to properly pick green tea by hand. We were invited to share summer oranges as they took their break and they told us of how the people of their village had slowly reclaimed land from the river bed over several centuries to produce the tea fields they were now working in. Their large farmhouse stood at the top of a nearby hill overlooking the beautiful valley. They even gave us their cards which they made themselves and which proudly featured photos of their tea fields and their lovely village. At the end of this video you will see the extend of this family’s tea field which they told us would provide them with enough tea for their own consumption for a single year.
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