MARIMO tea - Manufacture, Import & Wholesale
JAPAN: FUMIAKI'S AND LUNA'S ORGANIC SUIKYO TEA GARDEN IN NARA-PREFECTURE
The Suikyo Tea Garden is deeply connected to historical methods of traditional tea cultivation and tea manufacture. However, at the same time, thanks to the inspiration and dedication of Fumiaki and Luna to exceptional teas that are produced by using also new methods, the qualities of teas made by Suikyo are on a high level while beeing unique. The garden and manufacture of Suikyo is located not far away from the city of Nara, which is well-known for its old Buddhist temples. The gardens of Suikyo are intergrated in a very beautiful and green landscape with many small hills. The different sorts of soil from different ages opens a huge potential of divers characteristics of tastes, thanks to their influence on the tea bushes.
Photo: The Suikyo Tea Garden - a parcel on the top of a hill surrounded by trees
Suikyo's "Tea gardens" versus "Tee mountains" in Nara
One important key in order to understand the concept of Suikyo is the differentation between "tea gardens" and "tea mountains": Suikyo is structered in parcels, which are reffered to as "tea garden" (ocha-batake) and those which are marked as "tea moutains" (ocha-yama). An interesting point is, that the words used by different generation changed in the course of time: While Fumiaki's grandfather usually said "I go to work in our tea mountain" (ocha-yama), already Fumiaki's father said "I go to work in our tea garden" (ocha-batake). In the categorization used by Suikyo, "tea gardens" are tea parcels, which have been planed and straightened by humans. From the mid until the end of 20th centurly, agriculture was mechanized step by step. In order to by able to do the fertilization and harvest with machines, tea gardens where arranged to be plane.
Photo: Fumiaki (right) and Luna (left) in a parcel of their tea company Suikyo, which is reffered to as "tea mountain"
On the plane parcel of the Suikyo gardens, there are only tea plants grown from cuttings. The roots of them are quite flat, so that they fit well to the structure of the ground made by humans. The surface of the ground was mixed with soil rich in humus, when the tea garden was established. Thanks to this, the roots of the cuttings can reach the soil with a lot of nutrients easily. Because the tea bushes grown from cuttings have roots that are not able to reach the deeper layers of the ground, the plane tea garden parcel of Suikyo are not only fertilized with grasses, but also with leaves and pomace. Therefore, the tea bushes grown from cuttings in the plane parcels of Suikyo are able to get enough nutrients to grow well and create tea leaves with a flavorful taste.
Photo: Suikyo uses self grown grasses for the fertilization of their tea bushes
In the tea mountains, the situation is different to the plane tea garden parcels. Because here, humans have not planed the ground, the structure of the ground is mostly still like it has feen formed by nature. In the tea parcels reffered to as "tea mountain" there are only tea plants that have been grown by seeds. But, this does not mean that all of this plants can by categorized as zairai. No, in many tea mountain parcels, there are sead grown tea bushes, which have been grown from seeds of a certain tea bush variety, which means the plants have to be categorized as "mishou", for example "Mishou Sae Midori". These tea bushes have a long root which goes very deep into the ground. Therefore these plants can reach nutrients located deep in the soil very well. There are some tea mountains of Suikyo with zairai, but most of them have mishou-plants. Some tea mountain parcels have tea bushes older than 50 years, and one zairai-parcel is already older than 100 years.