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Hojo Tea, Nagano, Japan

There is something wonderfully Zen about tea master Akira Hojo.

Now that his knees can no longer take the hammering they used to get skiing the moguls of his hometown of Nagano, he gets his kicks from “natural herb picking and mushroom plucking.” And tea: “I have loved tea and everything about tea since I was young,” says Hojo, who grew up on an apple orchard in Nagano.

He acquired degrees in Agricultural Chemistry and Food Science Nutrition and built a career in the food industry, but his passion for tea remained unfulfilled. “I left my corporate life to spend time learning directly from tea masters at plantations in Japan, China, Taiwan and India.”

“The price you pay for tea is sometimes not in proportion to the quality. In Japan, the earliest plucked green tea usually gets the highest bidding price, because most people believe that is the best. Unfortunately, this is not true. For the tea gardens located at higher altitudes where the quality of tea is the best, the spring comes later and the tea plucking begins much later.”

“The definition of good tea is that it grows slower with less number of leaves and with longer roots that can more effectively absorb minerals from the ground.”

Hojo explains many of the factors that influence the quality and flavour of his great teas, and debunks many of the myths surrounding tea on his website: hojotea.com/en.

Artisans
Akira Hojo, Founder
Website