Today was spent at the farm firing tea. Firing is an important part of green tea production, imbuing tea with depth and character.
Aracha, or crude tea may be fired several times. In the many steps to first create, and then finish aracha, the tea itself can be fired three times or more. The temperature and length of the process is up to the production manager. Leaf size, moisture levels and varietal are all taken into account when firing a tea.
Our sencha is unique in that all the parts (the leaf, stem, and konocha, or smaller particles) are mechanically separated, fired on their own, and recombined. This adds a level of control not available when a tea is fired all together. Depending on the tea, the large leaf may need to fired at a higher temperature for a shorter amount of time, while the konocha a lower temperature for longer. This is a key component to Kettl’s tea. A noted depth and “hazelnut” aroma can be found, largely due to our unique process.
Today we re roasted some shincha to add a level of depth. This is not a common occurance, and much of it was experimental. The process was fun and great research into exactly how time and temperature effect the leaf. It also made great tea! Shinya san’s sensitivity and experience led him to create something special. The freshness and aroma of shincha with the richness of sencha. So interesting.
The fun part was A/B-ing the tea pre fire and post fire. So much of the distinct aroma of sencha can be attributed to its time in the “fire”. It was fascinating to discover.