In the evening after touring and learning about Mr. Saito's organic tea farm, Seb and I retired to Mishima, and walked around the only town in Japan where the hedges are not perfectly trimmed. The Bronx of Japan, I said. Nonetheless, the local Shinto Shrine was beautifully gilded golden and full of detailed carvings of nature. I left Seb to visit with his friends and returned on an almost 20 hour trip back to the U.S. It will be a long way to go before our customers can experience and appreciate all those wonderful teas from these unique, almost one of a kind craftspeople around Asia. But in any case, we travel endlessly to find them for everyone, so remember all of our blood, sweat, and tears (and forget all the good food we've had along the way)!!
I hope this explains why the teas are considered expensive. We are supporting innovative yet traditional farming techniques that do not strip the earth/sustainable, we are supporting small farmers whose pride and joy is their teas, we are supporting academics at research institutes who develop new varietals that are more disease and pest resistant, and most of all, we are searching for good people to make good tea. At the same time, we are building our community of like minded tea professionals and sharing and exchanging information, so that the public can enjoy better and better quality teas, in turn supporting tea professionals like ourselves. Thanks for reading!