Winter time is the training time for the Japanese Tea Professionals Competition.
The competition is based on sensory evaluation of tea. The participants have to identify tea harvesting season from dry tea appearance; tea cultivar from wet tea leaves and the brew, tea kind and producing region from dry tea leaves, etc.
The competition also includes chakabuki – a blind tea tasting, in which the participants have to identify the kind of tea and producing region from its brew. The teas in the professional chakabuki are really similar to one another: usually 2 Gyokuro and 3 Sencha. They are served one by one; and judging their colour, aroma and taste, participants have to identify which tea it is, before the next cup arrives. It takes years of practice to be able to identify them correctly.
Chakabuki is also used for qualifying who will represent a town in the regional Japanese Tea Professionals Competition. In Kyoto the regional competition is usually held in March, and January is when, the qualifying takes place. Out of 5 rounds of chakabuki, 4 highest scores are added and people with the highest scores from each town of Kyoto prefecture are sent to the regional competition.
In Wazuka town, the qualifying step has just ended, and 10 participants have been selected to represent it in regional competition of Kyoto. We wish them the best.