HOME > Uji-cha tea Hand Knead Tea Production Technique (Uji production method)

Uji-cha tea Hand Knead Tea Production Technique (Uji production method)

Source: “Uji-cha tea Hand Knead Tea Production Technique” The website of Kyoto Prefecture Chamber of Tea Industry

Hand knead method was started by Soen Nagatani, who was a tea farmer in Ujitawaracho in 1738.Compared to the pervious tea, color, scent, and flavor was better so it spread throughout the country and developed into the Uji hand knead method today. The valuable technique is preserved as an intangible cultural asset of Uji-City by Uji-cha tea Production Method Preservation Association and is passed down.

Furthermore, in 2001, “Kyoto Prefectural Uji-cha tea Hand Knead Method Technique Preservation Liaison Conference” was made by 5 preservation associations in Kyoto such as Uji-cha tea Production Method Preservation Association. Uji-cha tea Hand Knead Method Technique” is passed down and preserved even more.

In 2009, these activities were recognized by the Kyoto prefectural board of education and it was designated as intangible folk cultural asset.

he traditional technique of Uji method is passed down in the machine kneading done presently. Machine tea production has hand kneading as a base and is mechanized.

Hand Knead Machine Kneading
Picked new leaves are spread on a steaming basket and steamed evenly with abundant steam. Steamed leaves are fanned and cooled to eliminate the steam dew.
2.Tea cutting (Cut the dew and dry the leaves) about 25 minutes
About 3kg of steamed leaves are used. Scoop the leaves carefully not to scrape it on the jotan(traditional instrument on which tea leaves are rubbed) and shake and drop it from 30 to 40cm high. It needs to be done quickly so as not tomake the leaves stuck on one another.
3.Yokomakuri (Rolling on the side) about 1 hour and 30 minutes.
Using the whole surface ofJotan, tea leaves are gently rolled first. As it dries, more pressure is applied. They are rubber firmly for the last 20 minutes.
Rough Kneading
4.Tamatoki (Breaking up the ball) about 5 minutes
Leaves chunked up in Yokomakuri are broken up by hands moving quickly.
5.Nakaage about 10 minutes
Leaves are pulled up and cooled to even the moisture. At this time, small chunks of tea leaves are broken down. Also, jotan needs to be cleaned well.
6.Chazoroe (Nakamomi, Momikiri) about 30 minutes
Kneading method called “Momikiri” (rubbing) and “katatemakuri” (single hand rolling) are repeated in turn. Katatemakuri has to be done vigorously and over 7 times per processing. Be sure to set the direction of leave that became thin and long in twisted shape.
Twisting and Kneading
7.Denguri (Aisei) about 20 minutes
In this process, the tea leaves are shaped to prevent them from getting too humid or dry, and to make the scent and flavor of the tea better. The leaves are gently scooped up and are alternately moved from the right hand and the left hand. This is done lightly at first and then with more pressure toward the end in order to make the leaves into round shapes.
Middle Kneading
8.Itazuri (Kamauchi, Shiagemomi) about 50 minutes
This is the final process that is done only in Uji production method.
Tea leaves are kneaded with a board to make them thin and round shape to bring out the color and the scent.
9.Drying about 40 minutes
Spread the kneaded tea leaves over jotan evenly and dried well.
Tea leaves processed in good hand kneading method is kneaded into thin and long shape and has shining deep green color.