Today’s visit at Mr. Matsumoto’s tea garden Sakura-No En allows us again to make a lot of impressive experiences in just a few hours. The welcome is slightly hectic, because Mr. Matsumoto has already a great plan in mind, what he wants to do with us and our costumers. The time slot for our visit is narrow. This morning, Mr. Matsumoto was still processing one part of the Sakura-No Sencha. We now meet him during his break, until he has to work on in the evening. We are very grateful, that we are welcomed so affectionately, even though we came by in the most stressfull harvest time.
Kazuya and his wife Satomi Matsumoto pick us up directly at the station and fetch us to the new house of the young family Matsumoto. Here, they both live together with their four children. In the old house, which we were allowed to visit during the last years, live Kazuya’s parents.
After Mr. Matsumoto brought us to the first floor of this idyllic house, he firstly pours us a Shincha MOE, prepared with cold water, which has been harvested just a few days ago. We are lucky, because the amount which is already on its way to Europe is completely reserved for our costumers, so there won’t be anything left for us to taste. Here, on-site in Mr. Matsumoto’s home, we are able to enjoy the freshly harvested Shincha MOE and additionally to taste it together with the local spring water, which is of course a special pleasure.
It follows an infusion of the Sakura-No Shincha MOE using Kazuya’s special infusion technique: First, he pours a bit cold water in the open kyusu. After a short period of waiting, he then adds hot water and drains the leaves rather fast. We are once again blown away by the flavour and the intense smell of the Shincha MOE.
While we enjoy the delicous tea, again and again new food, which Satomi Matsumoto prepared for us, appears on the table. Concerning food, the Matsumotos do not only set value on local ingredients, but also think about which sort of tea goes well with which sort of food. These thoughts surely also come from the fact, that the teas from Sakura-No En are being served in some really noble restaurants in Japan.
As completion of this fantastic lunch, we are offered a matcha cake. A confectionary nearby uses one of Sakura-No En’s shaded powder teas for the preparation of this cake. While many cakes in Japan and in Europe too, are rather sweet, so you almost cannot taste anything of the tea’s slight tartness, this matcha cake is only slightly sweetened, so that we are able to enjoy the taste of the tea.
Well-fed, we now drive to the tea gardens. The gardens higher up, located at 450 to 600 meters over sea level, have not been harvested yet. Here, it is considerably cooler than down in the valley, so the tea bushes generally grow slowlier. The shaded parts for the Sakura-No Sencha, which are being covered for about ten days, are not ready for harvest, too.
During the ride from one parcel to the next, we drive over narrow twisting roads through a breathtakingly beautiful forest. In between, there are consistently splendid views into distance, which can hardly be more awesome.
Driving back, Kazuya shows us some fields of a friend of him, with whom he works together for quite a time now. This young farmer has adopted the bussiness from his father and continues it now in the forth generation. Kazuya Matsumoto succeeded in convincing him, to use, like himself, no pesticides and to produce the tea in a completely natural way. Together with the new harvest we will also get samples from this tea. We are already very excited.