June 2023 Ikedoki Tea News

As June came to a close, the summer rain season was in full swing outside, with a strong winds rattling the windows and bringing forth a barrage of rain sprinkled with thunders in the background.

June is the first month of summer in Nagasaki region. In the latter half of June the rain season arrives and causes June (and July) to see the most rainfall of the year.

Most farmers aim to have their nibancha (二番茶) summer harvest done by the time rain season fully sets in.
We met some farmers still harvesting tea leaves in late June on the sunny moments in between the downpours to process as wakoucha (和紅茶).

Many tea fields in the first half of June were covered with shading nets (as here in the photo on the left) for a week before harvest to produce tamaryokucha (玉緑茶).

We joined tea farmer Tozaka out in the tea fields to help harvest his nibancha leaves.

Most farmers have adapted their tea fields to harvest with a large combine harvester that can be operated by one person. Farmer Tozaka, aided by his father and mother still mainly harvest with this handheld harvester that needs 3 people to harvest.

As the first half of the harvest was done by lunchtime, Tozaka stayed in the factory to start processing the fresh leaves, while the rest of us headed out to the next tea field to bring in a second round that he would process later that day (or night).

We briefly joined tea farmer Oba to observe how he processed his wakoucha (black tea).

It was fascinating to see how he uses a green tea factory line-up of machines to process a black tea.

In between the nibancha harvest and the rain season, farmers planted out the rice paddies and the reflecting pools of water with the delicate green shoots give us such gorgeous landscapes!

Early June we had our first online tea session this year and were so glad to welcome back many familiar faces and to share tea and chat about news and recent events. Thank you to those who joined us and we hope to share many more cups of tea with you our future monthly online tea sessions!

Stay connected with the monthly news from the tea fields! Subscribe to the Ikedoki Tea newsletter

* indicates required