Regional Trading: Japan
With their premium teas like gyokuros, high grown spring senchas and ceremonial matchas, buying direct from farm isn’t uncommon if you know how to locate them (assuming you’ve got the language down pat as farmers don’t speak English). This is because premium quality teas have premium prices and the price isn’t going to change no matter the buying volume. These teas are also expected to be savoured, so buying high end teas in small volume is generally a cultural standard anyway. So growers are happy to accommodate and even arrange shipment.
Anything that isn’t considered “premium” grade, you won’t have much luck getting direct from farm. Such teas are processed by large companies that either own gardens or procure from numerous farms. Nearly all teas below premium levels are made from leaves from multiple sources. They get grouped together based on like attributes. They do however, often come from the same prefecture. Also, despite using numerous growers (even up to a dozen) for a particular tea, some company records are meticulously kept identifying each grower per specific tea lot.
Our non-premium range is sourced from our Japanese agent whilst our premium teas come direct from farm and from farm owning small businesses.