YU Brazil Green Tea Garden
Posted on September 13 2019
The Tea Leaf’s Journey in our Garden
Long before we became a Certified B Corp, we believed in building a more inclusive and sustainable economy through growing the best tea ingredients.
More than 40 years ago, one of the owners of our parent company, Yamamotoyama, traveled the world looking for the best soil to plant a tea garden. As one of the oldest tea companies established almost 330 years ago, he had very high standards for what a great green tea should taste like, so Brazil was chosen to be the future home of our tea garden.
From Tree to Cup
Brazil is a tropical country, therefore there is not much seasonality from a temperature perspective compared to the U.S., which allows us to harvest 8-12 crops a year with consistent quality and flavor.
The first harvest takes place in September; in preparation, the workers on the farm cut across the top of the tea trees to make them flat. We do this to cut down the tougher stems between the leaves, so we can ensure that during the crop we are only picking the most tender, fresh leaves for your cup.
How many years does a tea tree live for?
Tea trees last for nearly 40 years! That’s why it’s very important to ensure the tree is constantly being cared for throughout the year so it has all the nutrients, good soil, and sun to grow healthy and strong.
Green Tea Flavor
In Japanese culture green teas usually have a bolder and more vegetal, grassy flavors. For American taste, on the other hand, green teas are more appreciated when they have a subtler flavor.
To adjust to the different palate preferences, our farmers plan the harvest, allowing the leaves to grow more or less depending on the flavor of the final tea leaf. Younger leaves have a stronger and more vegetal taste, while leaves that are allowed to grow a bit longer have a subtler taste with more body.
Japanese or Chinese processing method?
Once the leaves are harvested, they go through a very important process where thermal heat stops the oxidizing of the leaves and prevents them from becoming black tea.
In our garden, we use the Japanese method for processing the tea. We carefully steam the leaves, which undergo multiple rounds in the drying process, helping to ensure the leaves will keep their delicious flavor and stay fresh for consumption for a longer period of time.
After they are dry, the leaves go through a rolling machine that reshapes them from flat and open to a needle format using heat.
In contrast, the Chinese method consists of pan-firing the leaves to stop the oxidation process. This type of process eliminates the need to dry the leaves as they are already drying by the heat from the pan. This is a much faster and cheaper processing process, explaining why Chinese green teas typically cost less.
B Corp Impact
We are very proud to be part of a global community that balances purpose and profit and that believes in using business as a force to build a better world.
With the introduction of new farming techniques, strict fertilizer planning, and the reduction of the amount of pesticides to a minimum, we are committed to producing a true green tea that can be enjoyed with faith that it has been brought to your cup without harming the environment. Our production is exported to Japan, the United States, and Europe. Due to our strict control of the application of pesticides, our tea has been approved in all countries, including Europe where the pesticide residues control is extremely strict.
Farming our own tea garden allows us to more thoroughly control the quality of the production and hold our gardens to the highest standards. We source the best ingredients with the tea drinker and the planet in mind while controlling our supply chain from tea to cup and supporting local employment in developing communities in Brazil.