I was raised on a green tea farm. Since my mother was often busy at work, I spent a lot of time with my grandparents in a green tea farming household.
At the beginning of the tea harvesting season, I would ride on the back of a pick-up truck, up the steep hills to the tea plantation every day.
While they plucked the tea leaves, I would spend time picking flowers, eating snacks, and playing with my cat Chiro.
I would say my first encounter with green tea was the indescribable "aroma" that I smelt at the tea plantation during the time of harvesting.
The fresh, gentle and subtle aroma of the young leaves.
When my grandparents carried me onto the truck, I could smell this aroma all over their body.
Filling the harvested tea leaves into a large bag, we could deliver it to the Aracha factory. *Aracha = material of green tea
At the Aracha factory, the tea leaves are steamed at once. The aroma during this steaming process is much more intense !
Steaming at high temperatures, releases a deep grassy aroma, which made me feel relieved.
During my childhood, "that aroma" was so ordinary and familiar, but as I grew up knowing "that aroma" that nobody else knows felt very special to me.
Each time I encounter a new "aroma of green tea", I recall my childhood memory.
For me aroma of green tea = "A fond and happy memory"
To recall that "fond and happy memory", I repeatedly sniff the "aroma of green tea".
I actually have a unique habit. When I first open a fresh bag of green tea, I inhale the aroma in one breathe. As if there would be no more aroma left to enjoy.
Even after I pour the tea from the teapot, I open the lid and sniff the aroma of the steamed tea leaves.
For me, it may be more of a privilege than actually drinking the tea.
The aroma of green tea has various characteristics according to the type of tea and the manufacturing process.
The aroma may smell like a beautiful flower, a breeze in the meadow, or even like Japanese soup stock...
I love the aroma of steamed newly picked tea leaves, but the roasted aroma after drying, is also irresistible.
When you open a bag of new tea leaves, please take a deep breath and inhale the splendid aroma of the tea leaves. (Not too hard or you may inhale the tea leaves by mistake !)
I am sure it will make your day, even before you drink the tea !
By Miyazaki (Japanese Tea KIMIKURA staff / Japanese Tea Instructor)