Sourcing 2023 - In Search of Japan's Finest Teas

Posted by Zach Mangan on

I am excited that you've found this little corner of the site. Tomorrow I will be leaving NYC for six weeks in Japan. I am looking forward to trying something a little different - to document the experience not just for myself, but to keep a sort of journal for folks who might be interested in a deeper look into the farms, fields and forests of Japan during harvest season. While I am not totally sure what the cadence of my posts will be, I can imagine it will be a a few longer form pieces a week with some photos, quick essays (or sentences?), or perhaps just a video other days. I am not that good at following a set formula, so please bear with me on that. 

In addition to run on sentences and poor punctuation, I do hope to share the moments spent at origin. It is the place I find most important to my own personal learning, and the very place that almost all of my knowledge about Japanese tea has been accumulated. I learned this years ago and it is still true - it is very hard to learn more about Japanese tea unless you spend time in Japan. The access to information, even among western tea professional circles, is just not there. There are plenty of reasons why - language (translation, or lack thereof), the fact that much of what farmers know lives in their head and not on a page, and also that until a few years ago - no one really cared to know more (well of course a select few did). And of course, writing books about the subject is a great way to share, but the truth is they take years (Part of this trip is in the service of my next book - more on that later) so this to me feels like a quick and nimble way to broadcast what I am learning, and seeing, and hearing as it comes in - a real time transmission of the information. No waiting for the book. 

I hope you find it at least entertaining and at most helpful. I am really excited that so many people have been coming to our cafes and taking classes with us - the desire for deeper knowledge is clearly something thats growing. It is inspiring to see so many folks who are already so knowledgeable as well. It makes me really believe in the future of the industry and its maturation into something beyond cursory overviews that have the same, often incorrect, information. 

So I look forward to making this up as I go along. 

Thanks for reading! Talk to you from Japan...

PS. We lost a huge, towering figure in the world of creativity March 28th- Ryuichi Sakamoto. If you don't know him, he was a fearless trailblazing artist / musician /missile of peace - a giant in the world of designing a life around the beautiful. Like many, I am feeling the weight of the loss. If you haven't checked him out, below are two links to listen to his music - and a playlist of things he loved to listen to as well. 

RIP Ryuichi Sakamoto

Playing The Piano - Ryuichi Sakamoto



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