EXPLORING

the TERROIR

OUR FARMERS

We are proud to work exclusively with small family tea farms.
The terroir they have cultivated and their unique farming philosophies are clearly expressed in the flavour of their teas.

Japanese tea farmers have been struggling with low incomes, high distribution costs through middlemen, and a lack of young successors to carry on their work. With these problems in mind, ISSA GREEN is supporting the new generation of tea farmers by offering them an integrated marketing solution. We cut out the middle man and bring farmers’ products directly to market, helping them retain as much of their earnings as possible and promoting a new sustainable business cycle.​

As with wine, the seasonal flavor of tea is influenced by annual soil conditions, climate, and the particular way the farmer has navigated the growing challenges of the year.  It is our pleasure to offer teas that express all of these natural conditions, allowing you to fully enjoy their vintages.​
Sugimoto farm
in Kanaya SHIZUOKA

Yoshiki, the father of Sugimoto Farm, switched production to completely organic methods under the strong belief that “Agrichemicals harm the farmer most of all.” Now, Eigo and Shinri, two of his four children, work the fields under these same principles.

They refrain from using agrichemicals of all kinds, including organic fertilizers, choosing to naturally foster the growth of their tea plants as much as possible. The Sugimotos plant their tea in wider intervals than other farms, allowing the plants to breathe. They base their agricultural method on mowing the weeds on their farm throughout the year and spreading the trimmings at the foot of the tea plants to provide insulation and nourishment. This chagusa agricultural method was declared a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System by the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations in 2013.

Refraining from the use of fertilizers causes tea plants to grow slowly, but the development of roots and trunks under their own power more clearly brings forth the flavour of the Shizuoka terroir in the teas of Sugimoto Farm.

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Ishikawa farm
in Toyota AICHI

Ishikawa farm is the first certified “Organic Matcha” farm in Japan.

 

Real matcha is protected by shrouds before harvesting, so as to protect it from the harsh rays of the sun and develop its natural brilliant colors and sweetness. This protective covering produces a stuffy atmosphere around the tea plant, which can easily lead to the tea succumbing to disease. Therefore, it has typically been thought that growing matcha with traditional organic methods is not possible, as agrichemicals were thought necessary to keep the plants healthy.

The story of Ishikawa Farm’s organic methods begins with the father of the farm, Tetsuo, who started his tea farm in bitterly cold mountain terrain. Persisting through years of disappointment, Tetsuo finally succeeded in developing a tea variety hearty enough to survive the cold of the region. His son, Tatsuki has inherited this method of mountainside tea farming.

Organic teas are often looked down upon as being inferior to conventional teas in both appearance and flavor, but Ishikawa Farm has overcome these perceived limitations, and in 2020 was awarded the Japan Agricultural Grand Prize for the outstanding quality of its product.

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Regardless of the proliferation of the use of agrochemicals in the organic market due to the influence of large tea farms and powerful tea brands, Ishikawa farm is determined to continue to use its traditional methods to produce authentic organic tea.
Suzuki farm
in Shinshiro AICHI
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Suzuki Farm has been growing tea in the mountainous Shinshiro region of Aichi Prefecture for three generations.

When the Suzukis first began farming, they had already reduced their consumption of agrichemicals thanks to the cool climate of the region, which naturally helped prevent diseases and pests from ruining the tea crop.

By the 1990s, Suzuki Farm had halted all use of agrichemicals, and by 2002 it was recognized as a certified organic farm.

 

The third-generation inheritor of the farm, Katsuya, decided at a young age to carry on the family tradition of tea growing, and actively studied not only farm work, but tea branding and processing as well.

 

ISSA GREEN sells Suzuki Farm’s freshest and most innovative products, including in house roasted houjicha and delicious wakocha.

Recently, many farms have been going out of business due to low tea prices and the advancing age of farmers, and Katsuya has been switching this farmland to organic production.

He has also been working actively towards the revitalization of tea growing in Shinshiro, and since starting farming has tripled the amount of land he is managing and working.

More farmers are coming...