The Kurihara Family
Grower: The Kurihara Family
Tea Maker: Akio Kurihara
Location: Yabe Village - Yame, Kyushu, Japan
Elevation: 680m (2230ft)
Cultivation: Conventional, Eco-Farmer Certified for low/no chemical use
Signature Teas: Yame Gyokuro
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The Kurihara Family lives in the small village of Yabe, in Yame, Japan. Thanks to their dedication, skill, and ideal growing environment, they have won multiple awards for tea craftsmanship in Japan and internationally. Most recently, the Kurihara Family won 1st Place for Japanese Tea at the 2014 North American Tea Conference in Niagara Falls, Canada for their Yame Gyokuro.
Of the tea-producing regions in Japan, Yame is the highest in elevation. The extremes of hot and cold temperatures between night and day cause the tea plants to release flavorful compounds to help them cope with the climate. This results in a richer, more intensely textured tea.
Yabe Village is a tiny community, where everyone knows each other and many people grow tea. Some neighbors refine their raw leaf at the Kurihara Family's processing facility, allowing them to create their own teas. The Kurihara Family helps sell other families' teas. However, as the village's refiner, they have priority to process their own leaves before any other families, and can maintain the quality of each lot by isolating each harvest. They also apply their own techniques to make the tea-crafting more consistent, like providing better aeration during the withering process.
Akio Kurihara, the younger son, manages the tea garden and processes the teas. Yuji Kurihara, the older son, is in charge of marketing and accounting, and also helps in the garden.
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