“Green” Green Tea
Green tea is produced through a “kill-green” phase to halt oxidation within the leaf, but our headquarters takes many measures to preventing killing the green in the Japanese countryside. We are committed to sustainable practices, both at the farm and factory levels.
Our farmlands have been recognized by the United Nations as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS). In order to receive this designation, farmers of a given area must partake in traditional, sustainable farming practices that create a symbiosis between human agriculture and the local flora and fauna. In the Kakegawa region of southwestern Shizuoka, the practice of using chagusaba (“tea-grass fields”) benefits both tea farmers and a disappearing, fragile ecosystem.
The chagusaba are grass fields near the tea farms. They harbor many rare species of Japanese grasses, and the animals that depend on them. These fields are protected from grazing, burning, and cutting all throughout the spring and summer. In the fall, after the grasses have flowered and spread their seeds, the farmers harvest the dead grasses, mulch them, and spread the mulch between the rows of tea plants. This provides natural fertilizer, water retention and erosion control, and pest prevention. Amongst the wildlife that benefits is the Fujitaigeki, a critically endangered grass species, and the Kakegawa Fukibatta, an endemic flightless grasshopper.
Our tea processing facility, as with any factory, has large energy requirements. Our headquarters in Shizuoka has taken steps to reduce their environmental impact by installing solar panels on the factory roof and swapping out factory mercury-containing lighting with super energy efficient LED lighting. Thus far, most months the factory produces more energy than it uses, and the excess energy is fed back to the local power company!