Asami Itoh/伊藤麻美 at Saikou Chaen Co. Ltd./彩香茶園有限会社
“Always trying to expand business onto new avenues”
Tea bags have been an established business for long in Europe and in the Americas, but Japan is only coming very slowly to accept the idea for its green tea.
This is a business opportunity with great potential but also fraught with risks as the Japanese do not easily forget their traditions even they are obviously narrow-minded.
Asami Itoh is a young entrepreneur who only recently joined her father’s long-established tea factory business to find new ways to expand the family business.
The compulsory “cleaning room” all visitors and staff have to go through.
She spent 5 years in Tokyo and Shizuoka studying and working in architecture and interior design. This experience proved useful when designing her own annex in her father’s company, Marufuku Tea Factory/丸福製茶.
It had to be conceived small, compact and in an absolutely clean environment.
Any visitor or staff must first go through the “cleaning room” where powerful air jets will take care of any dust or particles you might carry on your clothes.
A staff of 5 is looking after all operations including the transformation of tea into powder/funmatsu/粉末 (I was not allowed to take pictures of that particular process as they use a machine of their own concept), tea grading, blending and packaging.
Space had to be planned for the inclusion of 2 tea bags machines and more equipment for packaging.
Temperature and humidity have to be controlled very tightly, especially during the rainy season and in Autumn.
Static electricity is the biggest problem.
The place must be cleaned every morning mainly with vacuum apparels and everything has to go through one more and complete cleaning session every week.
Tea bags as they come out of the machine.
Green tea being blended with genmai/whole rice/玄米.
Tea sometimes does have to be treated the traditional way!
The final product as a package of tea bags!
All tea bags are made on order to avoid any waste and to provide best quality.
The competition is fierce and copying is inevitable, but the key of a successful business is quality and service.
As for the future Asami knows she still has plenty to learn including the English language for business expansion and the manufacture of Chinese Oolong tea for a new type of tea bags.
Do visit her official homepage/CHA-O and you will realize how much work is put into her venture! Great explanations and pictures to be discovered!
Saikou Chaen Co. Ltd./彩香茶園有限会社
420-0006 Shizuoka Shi, Aoi Ku, Wakamatsu Cho, 94
Free dial: 0120364188
Business hours: 09:00~17:00
Closed on Sundays and 2nd + 4th Saturdays
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