Green tea production is a long process, including the growing of tea bushes and the processing of tea leaves. Tea leaf processing is divided into two steps, the primary processing of freshly picked tea leaves into crude tea, and the finishing process in which crude tea is made into finished tea leaves.
We have divided our overview into two sections, &“How Green Tea Is Grown in Japan” and “The Processing of Sencha Green Tea”.
Ideal Growing Conditions
The three largest producing regions for Japanese tea are Shizuoka, Kagoshima and Mie. Although tea is grown throughout most of Japan excluding Hokkaido in the north, green tea grown in commercial quantities requires certain climatic and geographic conditions to be viable. In particular, since the tea plant has its origins in subtropical areas, it does not grow well in cold climates. In addition, the roots of tea bushes not only supply moisture and nutrients from the soil but also serve to temporarily store nutrients. For this reason, the soil used for growing tea should be well-draining, have good aeration and moisture retention properties and be of sufficient depth to allow the roots to grow and spread.
Soon after green tea leaves are picked in the field, they undergo their first phase of processing into what is called "crude tea" (crude tea manufacturing process). From the time raw tea leaves are picked they begin to oxidize and ferment. Crude tea refers to tea leaves that have had the action of oxidizing enzymes halted, fermentation prevented, had their moisture content reduced somewhat and processed into a state able to withstand storage. Subsequently, crude tea undergoes secondary processing whereby it is made into a finished product. The tea may then be sold as tea leaves or become the ingredients for beverage products.