Today we received a little message from Shutaro Hayashi from Kirishima. He is already preparing for Shincha 2023, even though the harvest in Kirishima will probably not start until the end of the month.
During our video phone call a week ago, Shutaro and his brother Kenji already told us that it has become quite warm this year. The daytime temperatures are a comfortable 23°C. Nevertheless, the nights are still cool and there is a fresh wind.
The weather forecast had already predicted that it would get cold again before the harvest. This is basically good for the quality of the tea, because the plants do not grow too fast and taste more intense. A large difference between day and night temperatures also has a positive effect on tea quality. But if it gets too cold, there is a risk that the fresh shoots will freeze. Last night was indeed so cold that the fans in the tea garden started blowing air into the tea fields to prevent ground frost from forming. But since the fans cannot cover the entire tea plot evenly and it was really very cold last night, some of the fresh shoots died.
In the photo these are the brown spots. You can also see very nicely which side the fans are on. The front part of the field and the right side of each row are green, while further back and to the left of the rows a lot has frozen off.
These shoots have dried up and fallen off by the time of harvest. So there is no sign of this in the finished tea. This has no influence on the quality of the tea, but it does on the quantity of tea. Shutaro reckons that the amount of Aracha harvested from the early bush varieties is about a third less than last year.
However, since Shutaro Hayashi mainly grows later bush varieties in his tea garden, the impact on the entire farm is fortunately manageable.