Every year Japan Tea Industry Association holds a conference to present the recent research topics on Japanese tea.
Every major tea producing prefecture in Japan (such as Shizuoka, Kagoshima, Fukuoka, Kyoto, Mie, etc.) has their research centers and they all work on making improvements on Japanese tea. The yearly conference gives them an opportunity to present their recent research topics and showcase their findings.
As GJTea has joined as a member of the Japan Tea Industry Association since this year, Matsu and Simona went to attend the conference in Shizuoka on 6th November. Over 60 researchers presented in the conference and the talks were held simultaneously in 3 different rooms. The program was packed with interesting topics about Japanese tea agriculture, processing, tea properties and many others.
Researchers talked about improvements in tea planting and plant management. It was interesting to learn that submerging baby plant roots in salt water can prolong their life and increase chances of survival in case of draught.
In terms of production you could learn how steaming impacts the level of catechins in the tea leaves – the longer the steaming the less catechins remained in the tea leaves.
And of course, the look into the future – the use of robots and drones in tea production. We learned that drones can help in estimating the tea yield. Tea harvesting robots also have advanced further, where not only they don’t need human control for harvesting, but can also harvest during the night simply by using sensors.
The long and intensive day was completed with a celebratory dinner, that gave a chance to mingle and chat with the researchers. We are looking forward to having many of them come to teach at the Japanese Tea Master Course next year.