THE HISTORY OF YAMAMOTOYAMA
Founded in Tokyo in 1690, Yamamotoyama is a family-owned company specializing in green tea and nori seaweed production.
In the 1700s, Kahei Yamamoto II learned that steaming tea leaves resulted in a delicious tea that had a fresh yellow-green liquor, balanced sweetness, and a mild astringency. This green tea became an instant sensation and made Yamamotoyama a household name in Japan.
Tea leaves as they appear in the early steps of Japanese-style green tea production. The leaves need to undergo roasting and final touches before it is ready for brewing.
Yamamotoyama’s culture of innovation continued with Kahei Yamamoto VI and the invention of gyokoro tea in 1835. Gyokuro is known as the highest quality Japanese tea with its dense, rich sweetness and pleasant astringency.
THE BRAZIL TEA GARDENS
In Japan, tea sales are nationally regulated; farmers must submit their tea to auction for buyers to bid on and buyers cannot own their own tea fields. This system is in place to prevent a monopoly. However, at the same time, the tea market tends to become dominated by Japanese consumer trends.
In their ongoing pursuit to perfect green tea, Yamamotoyama decided to establish their own garden in Brazil. By removing themselves from the influence of Japanese market trends, they focus on setting and maintaining their own high standards for quality, and can create flavors that would appeal to an international audience. Yamamotoyama founded their gardens outside São Paulo, Brazil in 1970, having carefully selected and transported tea bushes from Japan to Brazil to plant. Five years later, Yamamotoyama America was established to handle the final steps of the tea-making process, making the entire process (from growth to final tea) completely local.
Traveling through the garden.
Brazil is Yamamotoyama’s ideal location for Japanese-style tea gardens for many reasons. The soil and weather are perfect for tea growing and harvesting. The gardens also support local employment in developing communities in Brazil. Most importantly, farming their own gardens in Brazil allows Yamamotoyama to more thoroughly control the quality of their production, where they can hold their gardens to the highest standards.
The freshly-picked tea leaf and the tea leaf after production.
JAPANESE GREEN TEA PRODUCTION
Japanese tea production is very modern and utilizes machinery throughout the entire process. Due to the increasing demand for quality Japanese green tea, machines allow farmers to produce much higher volumes. Japanese fields are much larger than the typical tea fields and the plant’s growth cycle is quick, so machines are able to produce a high yield despite the short harvesting season.
Harvesting tea leaves by machine.
BREWING JAPANESE GREEN TEA
Unlike all other green teas, Japanese green tea is steamed immediately after the leaves are picked. This is what gives Japanese teas their signature fresh, vegetal flavor and vivid yellow-green liquor.
We recommend brewing at 160 to 170 degrees Fahrenheit for short infusions, no longer than 2 minutes each. Use about 1 teaspoon per 8 ounces. However, with high quality Japanese green teas, we recommend a longer steep at a lower temperature. Japanese tea requires a gentler steep to bring out the highly enjoyable and uniquely sweet “green” flavor notes; brewing for too long or using water that is too hot can make the tea a little bitter.
Tasting Japanese sencha green teas in our Stash lab.
We held a tea tasting with Yamamotoyama to compare the flavors of various traditional Japanese green teas, including matcha, sencha, gyokuro, and hojicha. Despite the difference in terroir, the Brazilian-grown Japanese-style tea was very similar in comparison. Being a very old Japanese company, Yamamotoyama worked hard to make sure their tea from Brazil meets the same high expectations as Japanese-grown green tea.
GREEN TEA UNLIKE ANY OTHER
Whether you prefer the complexity of gyokuro, the rich consistency of matcha, the lighter balanced flavor of sencha, or the roasted notes of hojicha, there is a wide variety of Japanese-style green teas to suite any palate. We encourage you to explore and experiment to find the perfect green tea for your taste.
We are proud to offer Yamamotoyama’s exceptional Japanese-style green tea. When brewed with a gentle touch, their green tea yields a richer, rounder, earthier flavor that truly sets it apart.