July 2, 2011 at 14:19 #6011
From what I’ve seen machine picked tea is the norm in Japan. When I first looked into harvesting methods there, I was surprised. It contradicted the somewhat romanticized image I had of tea pickers in traditional Japanese dress plucking away carefully by hand. Ever seen any such pics? I had.
Now I’m curious whether you as consumer mind, how it’s harvested? Does hand plucked taste better? Have you ever gone out of your way to buy artisan Japanese tea? Have you ever had any? Did you even know it’s usually machine harvested? What difference, if any does it make?
July 2, 2011 at 14:55 #6012
I didn’t know it was machine harvested but it is logical since labour costs are so high in Japan.
Does it make a difference? I don’t know.
July 2, 2011 at 19:25 #6013
The Japanese tea industry is ridiculously high tech. I’ve seen machinery that analyzes and separates leaf from leaf based on length and color (so as to remove stems and yield a consistent grade). As far as I’m aware, the vast majority of Japanese tea is machine harvested and processed, but because of their technological advancement and strict standards, the quality is unsurpassed.
July 3, 2011 at 06:04 #6014
Japan and high tech…
Do you have pictures of these machines?
July 3, 2011 at 16:58 #6015Here’s a pic and a video. The vid shows a more low tech machine, which is certainly less costly for the small farmer.
July 3, 2011 at 22:03 #6016
July 4, 2011 at 13:00 #6017
And I am sure the next video will show us a robot harvesting tea.
July 5, 2011 at 11:00 #6018
Sir William of the LeafParticipant@sirwilliamoftheleaf
Only on rare occasion will you find a hand picked and hand produced tea from Japan. Those are artisan teas that usually only are available in only a few kilos every year. As for the machine harvesting, it is still the most heavily utilized method for picking and producing tea in Japan. But as Charles said, they are very high tech and able to produce very high quality teas!
July 5, 2011 at 12:29 #6019
But none compare to the hand-picked stuff! Oh my goodness. I pick some up from friends whenever I am back there. Those ‘tea chopping cadillacs’ are hilarious aren’t they!? They are used almost exclusively for lower-quality Shizuoka teas, but it is fun to see them in action. The type of machine in the video is the standard for drinkable teas. Here is another pic of the cadillac, though 🙂
July 5, 2011 at 12:59 #6020
It seems you are disagreeing here. 😀
Are machine picked teas good or bad?
July 5, 2011 at 13:28 #6021
No, I don’t @sirwilliamoftheleaf is disagreeing with himself. He pointed out that Japan produces some very high quality machine picked tea, but that hand picked tea still exists, although it’s rare, and only a few kilos are produced each year.
Actually Sir W. didn’t pass any judgment on artisan teas, which leads me to ask if anyone here has tried hand picked Japanese tea?
July 5, 2011 at 13:41 #6022
July 5, 2011 at 14:13 #6023
I know you weren’t talking about my post ha ha, I said “sirwilliamoftheleaf”!
But I hadn’t seen @familyandtea‘s post. I have no idea why.
@familyandtea were you going to post another “Cadillac” pic? I’d like to know more about the differences you allude to. If I blind-tested you would you really be able to tell?
March 14, 2012 at 02:34 #7442
Hand-picked tea is generally superior to machine-picked, but that is simply because we don’t have the technology yet. There are a remarkable number of mechanically challenging actions involved in picking tea. 🙂 I’m glad that the Japanese are investing research dollars into it, though. Eventually other tea-producing countries will be in the same high-cost-of-labor boat Japan is in.
March 14, 2012 at 17:14 #7448
It’s all Japanese tea.
March 18, 2012 at 04:48 #7465
September 14, 2012 at 17:57 #8291
Machines cut to a deeper level, meaning that some of the leaves picked aren’t as young.
They will also probably cut more stems than when hand-picking.
However coarse leaves, stems and buds are sorted out (again by machine) so the resulting product should be still of good quality.
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