Established in 1879, Shichimeien has sold tencha and matcha produced locally in Uji from its foundation until today.
Through an integrated system spanning from tea cultivation in one of the few tea gardens in Uji, to production, processing, and sales, Shichimeien offers high quality Uji tea you can delight in drinking.
In 1924, the third generation owner, Chojiro Horii, amidst advancements in tea processing machinery, conceived of drying machines for tencha, the base ingredient for matcha, and from this, was able to produce uniform, consistent products in a short time, becoming a fount of prosperity for Uji matcha. The tencha drying machines used in Japan today are an improved version of the drying machines invented by Mr. Horii.
The tea gardens which Shichimeien cultivates are the oldest in the city of Uji and have been chosen as Japan Heritage sites. Shichimeien also maintains Okunoyama Tea Garden, the last remaining of Uji’s Seven Tea Gardens, whose quality tea was recognized by the Ashikaga Shogun of the Muromachi Period.
Narino, a tea cultivar developed in these tea gardens for over twenty years by the previous generation of owners, has twice as much theanine, a source of umami, compared to other run-of-the-mill products, making for a matcha with a rich flavor without a bitter or astringent taste. Beginning in 2010, this cultivar has been awarded the top prize from the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries every year in the nationwide product competition. Further, it was awarded the grand prize in the matcha category of the 2020 Japanese Tea Selection hosted in Paris.
The matcha sold by Shichimeien is all milled on stone mortars in Shichimeien’s own matcha factory.
Although only a small quantity of 40 grams is milled in the span of one hour, an indescribable scent wafts across the factory floor as the 80 tea mortars work simultaneously in order to meticulously produce a matcha with a freshly-ground smell and flavor that brings joy.
From matcha used in classic schools of the Japanese tea ceremony, to that made to be an ingredient in food products, Shichimeien produces the best tea, all grown under shade in Kyoto.