Izumo is a city located in the middle east of Shimane Prefecture. It is known throughout Japan as a “mythical country” and is blessed with a rich history and cultural heritage, including Izumo Taisha Shrine, which has the benefits of matchmaking. Shimane has the characteristic that there are many cloudy days and has been selected as the No.1 Bihada (beautiful skin) prefecture several times. In the same principle as the general cultivation of matcha and gyokuro, the tea leaves try to receive more sunlight in the cloudy weather, so they increase chlorophyll during photosynthesis. Many other tea producing areas have relatively long daylight hours, so the tea leaves of Shimane have a brighter green color than the tea leaves of those producing areas. It is believed that the most important point to manufacturing is how to retain the vividness of leaves. At Tousuien, the vivid green color is retained by instantaneous treatment with a small amount of steam and high-temperature hot air during “Sessai”(process that suppresses oxidation).
All producers were born and raised in Shimane Prefecture. “Making delicious matcha to make people satisfied” That is the only thing they wish for, and they go to check the tea plantations every day regardless of rainy days or snowy days. Please enjoy their proud matcha made with great effort.
Tousuien’s Tea Master
A tea master Yuta Oka was born on September 15, 1987 in Hikawa-cho, Izumo City, Shimane Prefecture. He attended local elementary, junior high and high schools and after graduating from college he worked in the TV industry in Tokyo. Having a unique background of working in the TV industry, Yuta has the creativity to see things from various perspectives, which is very useful for examining and discriminating tea. He won the “SAN’IN* TEA TASTING CONTEST” at an unusual speed of just one year after getting a job in the tea industry. At a national competition he also had an excellent result, and achieved the brilliant feat of acquiring the 5th dan-i at the age of 28. All Tousuien’s Izumo matcha is carefully examined by Yuta Oka.
*a region name in Japan
A major factor in the start of low-pesticide-cultivated matcha was that before Tousuien’s foundation(March 2006) they believed that overseas demand of matcha would increase and then low-pesticide cultivation should be essential for making Izumo Matcha’s debut to the world. Low-pesticide cultivation has the disadvantage of increasing the probability of outbreaking of pests, but their tea leaves are cultivated in a near‐natural environment to minimize the strain on the tea plant as possible, for maximizing its bright green color. As a result, they are confident that they are cultivating more beautiful green tea leaves than other production areas. Also, the fields are directly connected to the firefly conservation area, and the water and soil are very clean. In the beautiful nature of Izumo, Tousuien is making matcha that can only be made here while considering the environment.
The First Matcha in Izumo
Even though the per capita consumption of matcha in Izumo area is at the top level in Japan, no matcha has ever been made in Shimane. Therefore, Tousuien embarked producing Shimane’s first matcha. They started the project by planting 433,700 tea trees all by hand in a vast tea plantation.
Tea trees suitable for the environment in the Izumo area will not grow with the way of cultivation in the textbooks. Tousuien has the own schedule management and thorough quality control, keeping in mind the environment for tea trees to grow vigorously.
Furthermore, they have changed the long-established method of “using lots of fertilizer”. They have designed fertilizers suitable for tea plant varieties, and soils in each field, and are focusing not only on nutrients but trace elements as well, and they are cultivating tea leaves in consideration of their color.
The Climate of Izumo Area
The Japan Sea side(Western coast) where Izumo City is located, has less rainfall and longer sunshine hours. Although it is a harsh environment where the temperature is high in the summer and deep in the snow in the winter, the tea trees have grown vigorously.
Processing of Izumo Ｍatcha
This is a dedicated fire pit that is indispensable for making tencha, the raw material for Matcha. It is made of bricks and the temperature inside is raised up to 200℃ to process tea. The far-infrared rays emitted by bricks create a unique flavor of tea that cannot be obtained with other fire pits.
Processing of Izumo Hoji-cha
Manufacturing Process (Excerpt)
・Roast tea leaves in a roasting machine at 180 ° C for 25 minutes. ↓ ・When it turns brown and has a strong aroma, remove it from the roasting machine. ↓ ・After letting the leaves cool slightly, put it in a crusher. ↓ ・Grind it in a crusher for 24 hours. ↓ ・Pass it through a 60 wire mesh. ↓ ・Weight and package the finished hojicha powder.
It costs money to issue the certificates and documents following (exept the Tousuien’s original authentication document of being 100% Izumo Matcha). If you would like the certificate and documents, please contact the person in charge.
– ASIAGAP (The GAP certification system approved by GFSI) – Radioactivity – Viable bacteria, coliform group, fungus(mold and yeast) and salmonella – Cadmium – Lead – Arsenic – Original authentication document of being 100% Izumo Matcha (other tea leaves are not mixed with)