茶園森福 Chaen Morifuku
Farm leader Ryo Morisaki has a unique story among tea producers. Rather than being born into the industry, Morisaki-san was born in Tokyo and studied IT and environmental engineering at university before working as a system engineer for five years.
In 2015, however, he started training as a tea farmer in Kyoto, deciding to pursue a career in Japanese culture. Since then he has become a certified tea farmer in 2016, a Nihoncha Instructor in 2017, and recently won 3rd place at the Uji Temomicha (手揉み茶 - hand-rolled sencha) Competition in 2020.
On the 88th night (八十八夜 - hachijuu-hachiyoru, the traditional day of tea picking) of 2016, Ryo Morisaki (森崎領) founded Chaen Morifuku with goal of producing tea that is friendly to the Earth, society, customer, and producer. Though not JAS certified, they use only high-quality organic fertilisers and avoid pesticides and herbicides.
They pride themselves on preserving the traditional heritage of Uji tea production, such as 100 year old native Zairai tea plants, light steaming, and delicate charcoal firing (火入 - hi-ire). One of their four tea fields, Matsunō (松の尾 - Pine Ridge) has been registered as a Cultural Property of Japan Heritage.
Here they grow Uji Zairai and seedlings from Yabukita, alongside Okumidori and Gokou tea plants. In their other fields they also grow Samidori, Uji Midori, Sayamakaori, Yamakai, Kanayamidori, and Yabukita.
Altogether, their four tea fields measure only 1.2 hectares. In addition to sencha and tencha (matcha), Chaen Morifuku produces genmaicha and charcoal-roasted houjicha. In the past 5 years, Morisaki-san has also been making small amounts of exquisite white tea by hand.
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