A Small Tea Family:
Our tea-master’s great-great-grandfather was a tea farmer, working in the fields of Uji. Since that time, our family has had a connection with tea. In 1947, we founded our tea company, and we currently employ six people with various international backgrounds, all with a passion for tea. Our tea-master has more than 30 years of experience in the tea business, having been trained in the Way of Tea by his father.
Our Relationship with the Process:
Rishouen Tea is the final link in a long chain of tea-making events. We believe that every step of the tea-making process is absolutely indispensible, and so we stay familiar with the surrounding community, those responsible for providing our teas, and the cutting edge technology that goes into our tea’s production. The fieldworkers who till the soil and pick every leaf, and the factory-workers, who tend the machines used to prepare the tea for consumption, are all familiar with the name of Rishouen Tea in regards to being a fair and respectable teahouse. For their fine product we eagerly pay, as we can see first-hand the hard work and care they have put into presenting a tea of superior quality.
We are always looking for new ways to present tea in an enjoyable and stimulating manner. We volunteer in local tea-related events in an effort to strengthen our community. Recently, we have focused our attention on bringing our teas, and the profound culture of Japanese tea, to the world. We look forward to helping you explore our various high quality teas in English and French, as well as Japanese. We will be glad to assist you in any of the three languages, given the availability of our employees. There is no doubt in our minds that we can fulfill the expectations of connoisseurs and amateurs alike when it comes to Japanese tea. Orders can be of any size, large or small.
Freshness is Quality:
Tea is a perishable good, and we go through great lengths to keep our teas freshest. Using a vacuum-packaging strategy using a small amount of nitrogen gas, and through cold storage, we insure a maximum level of freshness is kept until delivery.
Rishouen Tea uses proper methods to ensure that sanitation is kept every step of the way. Proper protective attire is mandatory in handling our tea, and the machines that handle our tea are checked and cleaned regularly.
Attention to Fragrance:
Many people respect flavor over smell when they choose tea. But at Rishouen Tea, we strive to present excellent smelling teas chosen from fields long known for their exalted fragrances. For instance, the scent alone of Houjicha from Uji is quite famous in the world of Japanese tea. Thus we are confident that our thinking fits in with contemporary trends when we say that it is necessary to give as much importance to the fragrances of a tea as it is to its flavors.
On Organic Tea:
The question of whether or not a tea is “Organic” is a far more complex matter than it seems. However, at Rishouen Tea, we sell many teas that can be, without a doubt, considered Organic. To start, various teas have passed various certifications.
The strictest certification (and the most expensive) to obtain is the JAS (Japanese Agricultural Standard) Certification. This ensures that not just the tea, but the entire field and the production facility is Certified as JAS Organic. Teas bearing the JAS symbol (right) carry this strict certification. According to the Official Journal of the European Union, a product certified as Organic in Japan meets the requirements of the European Union’s regulations, and is therefore to be considered Organic within the European Union without the need for further testing. For more information on the criteria used for JAS certification, click here.
When we export our teas to Europe, it is mandatory that they be tested for Maximum Residual Levels (MRLs) of a pesticide, to ensure that the product is in accordance to the stringent requirements set by the European Commission. Eurofins Scientific of Germany tests each one of our teas thoroughly. Furthermore, the chemicals used must be in compliance with the list of acceptable pesticides. According to the European Commission’s website, a pesticide may be approved for use in the European Union only if it “Doesn’t harm people’s health; Has no unacceptable effects on the environment; Is effective against pests.” Please see the European Commission‘s comprehensive website for more information.
Some teas that we sell we consider to be of near Organic quality, but have not obtained an official certification. However, as we maintain a close relationship to those who grow our tea, we can determine whether or not a tea is the equivalent of a certified Organic tea, and we would be happy to share that information with you upon request. “Why is a tea not legally certified, if it is indeed the equivalent?” one may ask. In Japan, to be legally certified Organic is a very expensive matter, and some farmers simply cannot afford to certify their product.
As the supply of teas are constantly changing, we are not able to provide the organic status of a particular tea on our website. However, upon request, we will happily and hastily respond to all inqueries regarding such matters. Thank you for your understanding.
RISHOUEN TEA CO.
Monmae 4-10 Todo Uji, Kyoto Prefecture 611-0013, Japan
President Koji Kagata
Phone (+81) 774-22-0877 Fax (+81) 774-22-6550
E-Mail / Order: firstname.lastname@example.org
Business Hours 9:00A.M. – 5:00P.M. Japan Standard Time
Regular Holidays New Year’s week, from 12/30~1/3 Japanese Holidays