July 5, 2011 at 14:19 #6024
We are having a lively discussion on Japanese machine picked teas on the forum, which prompted me to think about black teas in Japan. By far most Japanese teas for sale are green teas, why are there so few black teas?
Has anyone ever tasted some, or knows something more about black teas of that country, and why more aren’t produced? I have a hunch or two why that might be the case, but if you have any more info on this I’d love to know.
July 6, 2011 at 14:41 #6025
I read (but I am not sure it is true) that Japan only produces green tea.
July 12, 2011 at 01:06 #6026
There are definitely Japanese black teas out there, as I have tried 2 of them!Here is one I have tried: http://www.serendipitea.com/Details.aspx?productID=896&CategoryID=3
July 12, 2011 at 13:13 #6027
I stand corrected.
November 13, 2011 at 21:22 #6029
I’ve tried (and reviewed) two Japanese black teas. One was a tribute tea put about by Den’s as a customer gift. It came from a private farmer in Shizuoka. (My thoughts on that can be found HERE.)
The second one I tried was from Kumomoto – home of the “guricha” variant of sencha. I liked that significantly more than the Shizuoka grown stuff. (Again, thoughts HERE.)
The reason for Japan’s lack of black tea growth is the same for the U.S.’s lack of ANY tea growth. Cost and demand. Sri Lanka could produce black tea in larger quantities and far cheaper than Japan – hence the reason the Rising Sun stuck to what it knew best.
A final thing, Japan does produce a small quantity of oolong. Example: http://www.yuuki-cha.com/japanese-oolong-tea
(It’s on my to-drink list.)
March 27, 2012 at 15:52 #7527
I suspect historical reasons. Until 1854, Japan was not open for trade with the West, so demand for black tea was likely low or nonexistent before then. During the 19th century, one of the major buyers of Japanese black tea was Russia. I imagine, however, that the Russo-Japanese war in the early 1900s probably soured that trade. As early as 1905, black tea in Japan was a minority product. Before WWII, the United States was a big fan of Japanese tea, but tastes seemed to be for Japanese greens rather than blacks, so I imagine the ratio exported there was set up accordingly. I think that as part of the postwar reconstruction effort, Japan experimented with black tea fannings export for teabags, but with rising prosperity and costs was unable to compete in that particular tea market. The British had easy access to their own plentiful supplies of black tea. So who would have been the designated market for Japanese black tea?
March 28, 2012 at 17:47 #7532
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