How is green tea manufactured?

Have you ever thought of the manufacturing process of green tea?



Last May I visited tea fields and a tea factory in Sayama to see farmers producing the first picked tea of the year.


So now I’d like to share the fascinating experience there with you.




Firstly do you know when the first tea leaves of the year are picked?



The first tea leaves of the year are picked in early April in warm areas and in the middle to the end of May in cold areas.


In Sayama, I visited, it starts in early May normally.






Although people picked tea leaves by hand long time ago, recently it has been common that machines do the job .


The tea farmers we met used a machine held by people standing on both sides of a ridge as you see on the photo above.


It was quite interesting to see how the picked tea leaves were being sucked into a big bag on the machine.


By the way, high-quality tea leaves are still picked by hands carefully.




This lovely tea farmers allowed us to visit their factory of tea manufacuturing.


The leaves have to be carried to the factory as soon as possible because it starts oxidized right after it’s picked.


Basically green tea is not supposed to be oxidized.


If it happens, the color of tea will turn darker.


Just for your reference, Oolong tea and back tea need oxidation for their processing on the other hand.






In this tea picking period the farmers are very busy.


They pick up tea leaves in the mornings and stay in the factory till midnight…


It is a hard work…




Now let’s look at the manufacturing process of standard green tea together.


Firstly they steam the tea leaves and stop it from oxidizing.


After cooled down a little bit, it’s moved to a couple of kneading and drying process with heat or no heat.






Finally it’s processed and looks like the tea we usually see.


However this condition is not yet the same as what it is in the stores.


The unrefined tea has to be classified into different parts of a leaf, such leaves, stems and sprouts. Also low-quality leaves have to get removed.


Finally they heat and dry it even more in order to keep its best quality for a long period.






In the case of this factory, they make unrefined tea and sell it to a tea company which has a factory to refine and finish up the tea.



One of my relatives who runs a green tea shop has a factory for completing tea and makes their special blend tea.


Even if you get unrefined tea from the same farmer, tea shops have their own unique recipes and make a difference from others.




The farmers were as nice as offering some unrefined tea for us at the end.


Actually I like its ununified taste with various flavors although it tastes a bit rough at the same time!






Anyway that’s how the tea leaves on the field is manufactured and turns into tea for drinking in our daily lives.


I hope you can roughly imagine the process of tea manufacturing now 🙂





ja Japanese