2012 Japan Shincha has Arrived!

Our Position on 2012 Japanese Green Tea

With great joy we will be supplying our shelves once again with spring harvest green tea from Japan. Among these new 2012 teas, look for old favorites as well as tasty new teas from Uji and several regions on Kyushu Island (Kagoshima and Kame).

As fans of our Japanese tea know, we immediately cancelled plans to import our usual supplies of Japanese tea last spring when news of the disaster at the Fukushima Daichi nuclear power plant became known. Instead, we quickly arranged to purchase as much tea from the 2010 harvest as we could. Because of the good keeping qualities of Japanese tea, that decision served us and our customers well.

Our actions, as it turned out, may have been somewhat premature, as much tea from the 2011 harvest tested negatively throughout the year for contamination. But, as this was a serious matter we believed that caution should prevail, and we did not waiver from our original decision.

Now, a new tea season is beginning, and we look forward to expanding our selection of safe and clean Japan green tea. We have contacted our suppliers, made our initial choices, and will receive tasting samples once the teas are harvested and manufactured (this will be around the end of May until the middle of June depending on the location of the tea gardens). At the same time we will evaluate the testing results for those teas that we are interested in.

Our growers and producers are confident that their upcoming teas will pass the test with NO CONTAMINATION DETECTED. The majority of their teas tested well in 2011, and the numbers should be even better this year. We will rely on Japanese testing to be our guide in these matters. Why? Because Japanese standards are MORE STRICT than those set forth by the US.

For example, test results for cesium radioactivity in food is expressed in becquels per kilogram (Bq/kg). Japan bans the sale of food products emitting more than 500 Bq/kg. But testing conducted in the U.S. according to Food and Drug Administration regulations permits foods registering up to 1,200 Bq /per kilogram to be sold.

We will make our final tea selections from among those teas that test NEAR or AT ZERO for contamination. The first tea from the 2012 spring season is our HASHIRI SHINCHA from Shizuoka Prefecture. Its test results are very clean – less than <2BQ/kilo – which is about as close to AT ZERO as we think it is possible to attain.

We promise to do the best we can to provide transparent information – all of the test results from our 2012 Japanese green tea will be posted on-line and available in the store for those who are interested.

Of course, purchasing Japanese tea is a personal matter and we respect each customer’s decision. We will do our best to help you make an informed decision, and to feel comfortable purchasing Japanese tea from us.