Wakocha Farmers in Mariko

The other day, dozens of tea farmers got together at Mariko tea factory in Shizuoka in order to refine their skills to produce Wakocha. Not a farmer, l was fortunate to join them thanks to the invitation from an organizer of this meeting.

As of 2010, at least, 200 tea farmers produce Wakocha, and the number is surely bigger and bigger.

The process of making black tea is different from that of green tea, especially withering and oxidizing processes. (Those processes are not required for green tea.) Interestingly, Wakocha are made from various kinds of tea varietals. Some farmers use the small-leaved Chinese varieties (that is, the same as green tea), and others do Japanese improved varietals suited for black tea. Therefore, the optimum condition of each process differs according to variety, and the farmers have to pay great attention to teas not to miss the right moment individually.

While having their competitive spirits, yet exchanging information what they have, all the farmers are pursuing the finest “Wakocha” everyday.

How long should these tea leaves wither??