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Machinery Developments Founded on Manual "Temomi" Tea Processing Method|
are two basic methods of processing tea: hand-rolling (temomi) and machine-rolling
Temomi Processing Method (Hand-Rolling Method)|
This manufacturing method
was invented by Souen Nagatani in 1783. Until the tea rolling dryer (soujuuki)
was invented in 1896, manual rolling was the most widespread method of processing
tea. Today, most teas are processed by machines; however, the manual hand-processing
method serves as the foundation for these technological advancements.
Toshikazu Yamashita, introduced in our animation movie, is Japan's greatest expert
in hand-rolling the highest quality Gyokuro in the country. He has won the most
prestigious awards for his excellent teas, including seven times the highest
national award possible from the Minister of Agriculture. It is no surprise that
he is a very prominent figure in the tea world.
Machine Processing Method|
the invention of the tea rolling dryer (soujuuki) in 1896, machinery began to
replace the orthodox hand-kneading "temomi" method.|
Today, due to developing
technology, there are automated factories processing tea completely by machine
may be inevitable for machinery to replace manual labor. However, it is important
to remember that the orthodox hand-processing method serves as the foundation
for machine developments. In the column below, we introduce the
Gyokuro Research Center Kyoto (Kyotanabe Gyokuro Seicha Gijutsu Kenshu Koujo)
which exclusively produces
Gyokuro tea. This research center relies partly on machines for processing tea.
Although they may all look the same, each batch of tea leaves varies from others
in many aspects such as moisture content. The length of time suitable in each
step of processing differs for each batch. In factories where processing is completely
done by machine power, these careful and exact adjustments cannot be made.
How tea is processed at the Gyokuro Research Center Kyoto (Kyotanabe
Gyokuro Seicha Gijutsu Kenshu Koujo)|
production begins with tea plucking. Here, we introduce how the tea farmers in
Kyotanabe process tea from freshly picked leaves.|
most tea-picking has been done using tea plucking machines. Hand-plucking, as
shown in the picture to the right, has become rare.
Tea shoots start
to ferment if left too long after picking; they acquire heat and become discolored.
Tea leaves must be processed soon after picking. Freshness is crucial in producing
Japanese green tea.
Tea Picking (Animation)
picked tea shoots are steamed in high temperature. After removal, the steamed
leaves are instantaneously cooled. This steaming process is to prevent oxidase
activity within the leaves, to rid them of the unwelcome "green" smell, and to
make the leaves tender.|
The quality of many aspects of the tea such as its
flavor, aroma and color depend on this important steaming process.
Aramomi (Primary Rolling)|
to the Chakiri (draining) and Yokomakuri (rolling) steps in the Temomi Method|
Moisture is removed as the leaves are rolled in a dryer.
This step takes approximately
fifty minutes. During this time, the amount and temperature of the hot air current,
and the speed of the revolving rolling pin are adjusted so that the leaves do
Nakamomi (Secondary Rolling)|
to the Tamatoki (tea ball breaking), Nakaage (untangling) and Chazoroe (sorting)
steps in the Temomi Method|
Moisture is regulated as tea leaves are formed
into appropriate shape.
In this step, moisture is evenly distributed and the
tea leaves are further rolled and kneaded under a weight. This forces the moisture
from the stems to evenly seep into the leaves. During this step, the leaves form
interesting round balls that have to be unraveled.
Shiagemomi (Final Rolling)|
to Denguri (pressing) and Itazuri (rubbing) steps in the Temomi Method.|
is an important step to shape the tea leaves.
The leaves are twisted and kneaded
to take on the appearance of fine needles under a weight. The amount of weight
to apply is difficult to adjust, as too much will flatten the tea leaves, and
too little will produce bent leaves.
the tea leaves are dried in a dryer. Too little drying will cause the tea to be
discolored, badly preserved, or have a defect aroma. Too much drying will also
discolor and deprive tea of its important flavor.|
tea is sorted into leaves, stems and powder. After sorting, they are packaged
to be sold as Gyokuro, Sencha, Karigane and Konacha.
handles teas from plants grown under diligent attention and processed with ultimate
care. We blend the teas according to plentiful experience gained in the tea market
to bring about a unique flavor throughout the year to serve our customers in the