Product Information Kakegawa Matcha

The matcha is single origin and certified as JAS Organic. The matcha is produced in Kakegawa City, Shizuoka Prefecture. The tea leaves of matcha are cultivated by the Chagusaba farming method which was recognized as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the United Nations in 2013.*
This matcha is eco-friendly tea and CHAMART calls the matcha CHAGUSABA tea.

Type of tea:
MATCHA (Powdered special high-quality green tea)
Leaf (particle size): Powder 100 mesh pass (10 µm)
Color of brewed tea: Light green
Rich MATCHA aroma (a kind of salt aroma of the sea), smooth, mild, better taste

Organic farming (certified Organic JAS) *:

CHAGUSABA farming method *:
The tea is cultivated using the CHAGUSABA farming method in Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS) recognized areas.
*The CHAGUSABA farming method is NOT an organic farming method.

How to use the matcha:

Production place: Kakegawa City, Shizuoka, Japan
Shizuoka Prefecture is a representative tea production area of Japan, located at the center of the main island of Japan. Shizuoka Prefecture has a warm climate with many rivers, and is often foggy. These conditions are suitable for tea cultivation. There are many facilities related to tea such as tea museums, a hotel with a tea theme, etc. Kakegawa City is one of the major tea production cities in Shizuoka Prefecture.

Variety: Yabukita
Yabukita is the most popular variety of tea plant in Japan. Yabukita is a well-balanced variety, with a high yield and has a strong umami flavor. Yabukita is suitable for any kind of green tea.

Producers of tea:
A family-run tea garden that manages the production of tea from cultivation through processing.

The philosophy of the tea farmers is a respect for nature and cultivating tea. They do not want to destroy the ecosystem using agricultural chemicals. Thus, they don’t use any chemicals for their tea cultivation.

They mix Chagusa (grasses around the tea fields) and rice bran with soil and ferment them to make nutrient rich soil. Microscopic organisms work in the mixture and it becomes organic compost. The soil is put into their tea fields.

Making nutrient rich soil with CHAGUSA and rice bran
The photos were taken between August 2022 to January 2023

Putting the soil into the tea field (January 2023)

Tea field with the soil and Chagusa (January 2023)

The tea leaves for tencha, which is the raw material of matcha, are plucked around at the beginning of May in Kakegawa City. The tencha tea fields are covered with man-made black mats to block sunlight for around 2 to 3 weeks before the tea leaves are plucked (poles are not used to support the mats in the tea fields).
When the sunlight is blocked, catechin (bitterness components) development is suppressed, and amino acid (umami components) development is promoted. Tencha tea leaves are steamed, but not rolled like sencha (steamed green tea).
Tencha is then ground by a stone or ball mill into a fine powder.
The matcha is produced from leaves picked in the year, and stored in the refrigerator for a while to allow the matcha to ripen and improve the richness and mellowness of its flavor.

Tencha 碾茶

*Shizuoka’s Chagusaba farming method (Traditional Tea-grass Integrated System in Shizuoka)

The Chagusaba farming method is a farming method traditionally practiced in Shizuoka Prefecture using grass mulch.  It is an example of circular agriculture that harmonizes humans’ relationship with nature to preserve the environment and protect biodiversity.
The Shizuoka’s Chagusaba farming method, which is conducted in 4 cities and 1 town including Kakegawa City, has been recognized as a Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System (GIAHS) by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) in 2013.*

Cha (茶) means tea, Gusa/Kusa (草) means grass, and Ba (場) means place. Chagusaba (茶草場) refers to the semi-natural grasslands around tea fields. The Chagusaba farming method makes use of natural resources by cutting pampas or bamboo grasses that grow around the tea fields and laying them in the furrows between the tea fields. These grasses used in the tea fields are called Chagusa (茶草).

Chagusaba and tea field with Chagusa (January 2023)

The grasses laid in the furrows are fluffy and look like a Japanese futon (like a duvet). The Chagusa gradually breaks down to become compost. In addition, the laying of Chagusa makes it difficult for weeds to grow, and prevents moisture evaporation and the soil from being displaced by rainwater.

Tea fields with Chagusa
Left October 2022, Right January 2023

Tea farmers cut pampas or bamboo grasses in autumn and winter, dry them and cut them into smaller pieces. During the winter, tea farmers put the Chagusa into the tea fields. By cutting the tall pampas or bamboo grasses around the tea fields, small animals and plants are given access to sunlight, allowing them to thrive.

Grass mulch farming was once conducted all over Japan. However, it is a burden on tea farmers. Thus, the number of tea farmers who conduct grass mulch methods has been decreasing.

For more information on the Chagusaba farming method, please see the link below.

*Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)

GIAHS is a traditional agroecosystem made up of communities that have lived in an intricate relationship with their territory across generations while adapting to changes in society and the environment. It is recognized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO). Additionally, the system is resilient, characterized by remarkable agrobiodiversity, traditional knowledge, invaluable cultures and landscapes, sustainably managed by farmers, herders, fisherfolk, and forest people in ways that contribute to their livelihoods and food security.
FAO has designated a GIAHS related to tea in 2 sites in China, 1 site in Japan and 1 site in South Korea.

*Organic JAS:
The JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) System is based on the Law Concerning Standardization, etc. of Agricultural and Forestry Products (Law No.175, 1950) which governs all the agricultural and forestry products, except for liquors, drugs, quasi-drugs and cosmetics. The Organic JAS system has been further developed with the addition of the JAS Standards for organic livestock products, organic processed foods of animal origin and organic feeds which took effect in November 2005.

Source: Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries website
Japanese tea certified as Organic JAS is considered to be conformed to equivalent standards as EU produced organic goods and the Japanese tea labeled Organic can be imported to EU if the product satisfies fixed conditions. However, it does NOT mean that the Japanese tea can be certified as EU organic food.

The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), GIAHS Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System
联合国粮食及农业组织 全球重要农业文化遗产
FAO, GIAHS Globally Important Agricultural Heritage System, Traditional Tea-grass Integrated System in Shizuoka

Globally Important Agricultural Heritage Systems (GIAHS)
Chagusaba in Shizuoka