The 155-year history of KITANI TEA
KITANI TEA was established over 150 years ago in Ujitawara, one of the oldest tea-growing regions in Kyoto. The Kitani family are the descendants of Soen Nagatani, the inventor of the manufacturing process used to make “sencha,” which is currently the most popular green tea in Japan. Ever since our founding, we have continued to manufacture a wide range of teas such as sencha and matcha, making us one of the oldest tea manufacturers in Japan.
The characteristics of KITANI TEA’s tea
The primary elements that make up the taste of green tea are aroma, umami, and astringency. Our tea is characterized by its low astringency and high levels of umami and aroma. Our customers have graciously rated our tea as being both easy to drink and remarkably delicious.
A simple distribution channel
As tea distribution becomes increasingly complex as the distance from a tea-growing region increases, tea can often be quite expensive. Most tea is procured at tea markets. Kyoto has just one tea market in which only about 100 companies participate. The companies that account for the largest share of purchases are not retail shops like ours but wholesalers. In order to get tea from wholesalers to overseas distributors, it often involves around three companies (for example, wholesaler → exporter → overseas retailer).
In contrast, our distribution channel is extremely simple. We process tea leaves at our factory that have been procured directly from tea markets and contract farmers, and deliver the finished products to customers. Since our distribution channel is so elegantly simple, we’re capable of providing a product you can trust at reduced prices.
Our motivations for making tea
We make tea in order to help improve people’s mental and physical health. The fact that drinking green tea is beneficial for health has already been published in many scientific papers. To give an example, there is data showing that people from regions that habitually drink tea are up to 20% (Nakakawane-cho, Shizuoka) less likely to develop stomach cancer than people in other regions. Moreover, it has long been known that green tea improves blood flow by inhibiting hypertension and preventing arteriosclerosis. In recent years, green tea has also received a lot of attention for its ability to reduce the risk of dementia.
Japanese tea promotes health not only physically but mentally as well. The theanine contained in green tea has a calming effect, while the caffeine helps to improve concentration. There are many other studies on the benefits of green tea, but we will discuss them at another time.
Motivated by the desire to spread a culture of drinking tea that promotes mental and physical health, we will do out best to continue growing and improving as a tea manufacturer.
Isn’t international shipping a bit expensive?
At the end of this page, we will answer a question that has been asked by many of our customers. International shipping inevitably incurs costs. But since Japanese tea can currently only be cultivated in Japan, there are bound to be shipping costs when purchasing overseas, regardless of the distribution channel. Moreover, since we — as mentioned earlier — have set up the simplest type of distribution channel, there are no unnecessary costs. Therefore, we are confident that we can sell delicious tea at affordable prices.
When we make this claim, there are those who say that other stores are selling Kyoto tea for so much cheaper. However, the reason for this is that, since all tea looks quite similar due to the nature of the product, it’s actually quite difficult to know for certain whether tea is expensive or cheap. Moreover, various tea shops sell tea that has been ranked as “high quality” or “standard quality” when, in reality, there are no set quality standards, and each shop defines these rankings arbitrarily. Therefore, it’s possible that the cheaper shops’ high quality products are at a similar level to our standard quality products.
We want to provide information to help you differentiate quality as objectively as possible, but ultimately, the only real solution is to buy tea at a shop you can trust. Although it may not be very convincing for me to say that we are a company that you can trust, we are confident that we can live up to this statement. Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions or concerns.
Please enjoy some of our delicious Japanese tea.