2011 Tea Reflections from Japan


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2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby Chip » Jan 4th, '12, 15:33

How were you affected in your enjoyment of Japanese greens in the post tsumami era?

I was pondering this as I was working on my personal tea of the year for 2011 in today's TeaDay ... but I think this is worthy of its own topic ... :idea:

I think 2011 was a challenging year for Japanese greens in general following the series of disasters. Then problems in Shizuoka shifted a lot of demand to other regions ... some of which were not usually available to the West. Not to mention those who stepped aside in the pursuit of Japanese teas based upon fear and uncertainty.

I think most casual drinkers all the way up to aficionados of Japanese greens were affected in some way or multiple ways. I certainly was affected in multiple ways.

So, how were you affected in your enjoyment of Japanese greens in the post tsumami era?
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby AdamMY » Jan 4th, '12, 15:54

I would not say the effects on my Japanese Tea Habits were staggering, or even noticeable, except or a few small details.

I severely cut back on the amount of Shincha Ordered.

I didn't buy a 2011 sencha (non shincha) until September or October, prior to then I was drinking mostly stuff I stocked up on from 2010.

A few teas I had looked forward to reordering and stocking up on in 2011, were not carried due to them being from Shizuoka.

Even though I had originally planned on buying more Japanese teas than usual, and more Japanese teaware, that didn't quite pan out for budget reasons more than anything else. I definitely ordered pleanty of tea as I think I had ordered something from Japan about every other month.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby Chip » Jan 4th, '12, 15:56

Some personal observations ... and food for thought perhaps.

It goes without saying that we were profoundly affected by the tragic events in Japan as we tend to be plugged into the cultures and peoples. I am affected to this day ... (and will have an announcement this week on something I am doing about it ... something I am able to do).

1. I loaded up on 2010 Gyokuro in the aftermath, I never purchased so much gyokuro. In fact, I likely purchased 5+ years worth in normal years. But now I am down to two 50 gram bags. It has been an incredible year for gyokuro enjoyment.

2. Still, sencha is my first focus. I purchased sencha late into the harvest as well. I was buying 2010 harvest sencha and in quantity on the "eve" of 2011 Shincha. Like many, I seized what was available NOW, not knowing what the future may hold.

3. During shincha and as we began to receive reliable reports, I was determined to not abandon Japan at this crucial time, but I would not purchase Shizuoka teas for a period of 6 months ... then reassess the situation. While I personally felt bad about this decision, I felt it was the responsible thing to do at the time ... we really had no idea what to think of the situation in Shizuoka.

4. I focused my purchases on my tried and true vendors, vendors who I trusted.

5. I purchased a lot of regular offerings, but also some not so regulars from some not so regular regions.

6. After the 6 months sans Shizuoka tea purchasing, I decided I would purchase 1-2 Shizuoka 2010 teas. 100-200 grams compared to a guestimated 1800 grams of Shizuoka tea in a normal year.

7. And I look forward to a resumption in buying Shizuoka 2012 teas based upon early reports of the major decreases in radiation contamination ... time will tell.

8. All the misinformation ... first the misinformation from the utility and then governments within Japan ... this hurt Japan tremendously, IMHO.

Then the knee jerk reactions from the naysayers and anti nukes and media who generously supplied sensationalism and their own brand of misinformation.

Their was misinformation in abundance for us to filter through and try to discern fact from fiction ... and some heated topics even here on TeaChat.

Tea buying of Japanese tea was certainly an interesting proposition as a result ... not the normal no-brainer.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby rdl » Jan 4th, '12, 16:04

Chip wrote:How were you affected in your enjoyment of Japanese greens in the post tsumami era?

i was, as i still am, affected by concern for those who suffered due to the tragic events, and their recovery.
for tea drinking, i was not affected, as i prefer japanese teas from non-effected regions and continued to purchased those teas in 2011. (kyoto area and kyushu).
a bit off topic but i think can be mentioned here, obubu tea has a tea relief caravan: "we will travel through northern japan to serve tea to those who have lost their homes." jan 5-19
it is on their web site, which doesn't seem to open to that page right now. but i find it a kind gesture to bring healing through tea.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby Amaikokonut » Jan 4th, '12, 16:45

A tea relief caravan.. that sounds so comforting. Thanks for bringing that to my attention.

I can't say that the tragedy affected my consumption of Japanese greens too much, as I'm not a huge consumer of them personally. I do go through my obsessive phases, but my tea moods change like the weather. I was careful to check that the teas I was ordering were coming from generally safe sources, but otherwise my purchase/drinking habits were not really affected.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby Bryan_drinks_te... » Jan 4th, '12, 20:52

The biggest way this even affected me was from having Japanese friends who I knew were involved. They were safe, but their respective emotional states were shattered.

At first I didn't drink tea, I simply sat. As time went on, and I knew that the people were recovering, I began ordering tea from various vendors - mostly anything from kyushu. Right now, I drink sencha regularly, and am planning a quick 'tide me over' order until the new crop comes in later this year.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby debunix » Jan 4th, '12, 23:30

The concern for contamination meant some shifting in tea orders as they were being prepared, but otherwise the events of the spring there had no direct impact on my tea habits. I was glad to get the lovely teas I did get from Japan, and I probably spent a little more than I would have otherwise, glad to support the farmers and tea artisans and merchants there in a bad time. There seemed little enough I could do to help.

I'm looking forward to helping their economy in a larger way this year, with a trip to visit friends there, and I'll be trying to fit some extra tea-related sights in along the way.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby puerhking » Jan 5th, '12, 12:47

There was no shincha in 2011 for me. I did buy some Shizuoka teas from 2010, but any 2011 teas came from Kyushu/Kagoshima. I bought a bit more than usual. This season should be interesting.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby JBaymore » Jan 5th, '12, 15:51

Absolutely no change whatsoever.

With a reasonable background in technical science, as well as of Japanese language/culture/geography and so on, I knew that the hazards to me from any possible radiation involving from simply drinking normal amounts of teas from almost anywhere in Japan was absolutely miniscule.

I got far more exposure on the two flights back and forth to Japan in May and September.

Most here on TeaChat probably know of the efforts I put into helping foklks in Japan with the recovery this year from readings elswhere here.

best,

...............john
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby iannon » Jan 5th, '12, 20:39

I didnt really change much. I had consciously reduced my shincha/sencha ordering from previous season cause...well.. in 2010 I went a bit overboard (for me) with shincha fever. that and I was exploring more into the world of oolongs and pu's this past year. I just made sure I was aware of what region I was ordering from and stayed away from Shiz
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby SlientSipper » Jan 5th, '12, 23:10

Personally, if anything, my experience was a good one with Japanese green teas.

I actually went to Japan and got a ton of great discounts. (After the quake)
I went to Uji and they were very happy to see a tourist.
Simply wonderful tea time this year.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby JRS22 » Jan 6th, '12, 00:38

I used the hard times in Japan last spring to justify purchasing the gyokuro shiboridashi set that I had my eye on. I've continued to buy tea, but just from merchants that I trust to review test results, which is actually the same people I bought from before.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby shinobicha » Jan 6th, '12, 16:54

I'm with JBaymore - no change whatsoever.

I bought most of my shincha from Shizuoka (and also Uji/Kago).
For the amount of tea I drink, I had no concern about the possible, miniscule amount of radiation that could have been present.
And, I figured the companies in Shizuoka/Sayama would probably need support, as a lot of their customer base would be pulling back out of concerns.

I'm just thankful to hear that the radiation situation is improving.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby brlarson » Jan 7th, '12, 16:32

I bought more Japanese teas than usual and I spread out my purchases over more vendors, including some new ones, and purchased over a broader period of time. I did that to ease their economic impact which resulted from of the disasters. As a result, I still have 770gr of shincha, 360gr of sencha, plus gyokuro matcha and kamairicha, even after giving away some tea.

I suspect that tea production in Japan is a labor of love. This year seemed like the time to show that we support them.
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Re: 2011 Tea Reflections from Japan

Postby Chip » Jan 8th, '12, 02:10

... and continuing my list ...

9. I have not altered amount of overall Japanese teas I have purchased and enjoyed. I am sure it is comparable to 2010 harvest purchases.

10. a. I have tried to be proactive in my approach this past year including fund raising efforts

b. and most recently offering to present a timely Japanese tea program at the World Tea Expo this coming June. The program will hopefully help those in the domestic tea trade to focus forward to a new dawn for Japanese teas.

http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=11&t=16824
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