¥1,305,109
pledged of 300.000 ¥pledged of 300.000 ¥ goal
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backers
39days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, September 28 2018 11:53 PM UTC +00:00.

Tyas SōsenBy Tyas Sōsen
First created
Tyas SōsenBy Tyas Sōsen
First created
¥1,305,109
pledged of 300.000 ¥pledged of 300.000 ¥ goal
150
backers
39days to go

All or nothing. This project will only be funded if it reaches its goal by Fri, September 28 2018 11:53 PM UTC +00:00.

About

Contemporary industrial tea manufacturing mainly relies on artificial methods. The industry uses mass-production and exploitation for the sake of capitalisation and monopolization.

I am in favor of the natural variation of tea, which offers a greater diversity of authentic teas that improve our health, and quality of life.

This is why I admire - and thus wish to acknowledge, honor, and support - the aspirations and the unstinted labors of small, independent, local Japanese-tea farmers.

And you can help me do that!

What is The Tea Crane™?

The Tea Crane™ is your personal tea sommelier for artisan Japanese tea. As an expert in the art of tea, I will make a monthly selection of Japan's premium, naturally produced artisan teas in the form of a monthly subscription, providing all the details that will allow you to enjoy that tea to its fullest. 

Tyas Sosen serving tea at Asahiyaki in Uji.
Tyas Sosen serving tea at Asahiyaki in Uji.

Who am I? 

I am Tyas Sōsen. Over 10 years ago, I relocated to Japan in order to discover its culture and tradition. Having trained in various martial and traditional performing arts, I eventually fell in love with the Japanese rite-of-tea and the tea culture as a whole. Now, as a certified Nihoncha instructor and accredited instructor of Japanese tea ceremony, I conduct workshops and lessons and share my knowledge with a broad audience of interested people. 

Not a day goes by in my life without a tea-related activity, whether that be in the form of the rite-of-tea or just a fragrant cup of sencha at home. I travel throughout Japan in search of the most exceptional producers who cultivate naturally nurtured tea. From them, I learn their organic, and natural farming methods as well as the underlying philosophies in their techniques. Tea is a way of life, and it's a way of viewing the world we live in. From tea, I have learned to be more appreciative of the things we have, more respectful towards other people, and have more reverence to our natural environment. I believe that tea helps us live a more fulfilling, happy life, and I want to share this joy with you.  

I am on a journey to rediscover and spread an awareness of the deeper values embedded in the Japanese tradition of tea, which helps us develop as respectful and appreciative spiritual beings. I would like to do this by introducing authentic, environmentally-friendly teas produced by passionate artisan producers. 

That is why I am working on a dedicated subscription service. With this service, you will be able to: 1) enjoy tea at a deeper level, 2) discover a wide variety of unique teas that are unavailable in the current marketplace, and 3) receive only what is good by entrusting a specialist with making the right choices for your delight.

Contemporary adaptation of a tea ceremony by Tyas Sosen
Contemporary adaptation of a tea ceremony by Tyas Sosen

What will I do for you?

Each month, I will provide you with the following: 

  • A selection of at least 100g total of a minimum of 2 authentic, naturally produced teas that otherwise cannot be obtained elsewhere.  
  • An informative pamphlet that includes a profile of the producer, an interview with the farmer, tea reviews, notes on farming methods, brewing guides, and much more to give depth to your experience of savoring tea. 
  • Access to subscriber-only videos of that month's specific tea plantation and an interview with the producer. There will also be access to additional information and pictures to further enhance your understanding and enjoyment of the tea.
  • Access to back numbers and direct access to me for answers to your questions on Japanese tea.
  • Free delivery to your home address. No additional shipping fees apply. 
Tyas Sosen selecting premium tea for your delight.
Tyas Sosen selecting premium tea for your delight.

What are the advantages of this project? 

This project advantages both of us. It advantages you by providing you with a monthly supply of artisan tea that is unobtainable elsewhere. And it advantages me because it will allow me to increase my search for authentic and organic producers throughout Japan.

Moreover, organic farming – especially in tea-farming – is still shamefully undervalued in Japan. By introducing a variety of tea from artisan tea producers and their stories, I can support them with modest contributions.

The beauty of an organic tea farm.
The beauty of an organic tea farm.

Why focus on artisan, natural teas?

Industrial tea manufacturing is inclined to rely on artificial methods of production, so that businesses reap the greatest amount of profit without spending any money on 'less profitable' natural methods. 

Processing and homogenising tea reduces the tea's intricate flavor to a singular taste, providing consumers with the same taste each year. This idea is unnatural and inauthentic. Tea, just like wine, produces different characteristics according to the environment they are grown in. This natural variation of flavor produces a greater diversity of tea.

By drinking artisan, natural tea, you will experience the tea's regionality and terroir, a wider variety of aromas, and joy from comparing teas of different harvests and discover their vintage character.

Artisan tea can also preserve the health of our bodies and protect our environment because they are produced by safe and natural methods.

Traditional hand-picking in Mandokoro
Traditional hand-picking in Mandokoro

Why a subscription?

My goal is to make the beauty and joy of authentic artisan teas accessible to anyone in the world. I could simply do this by sharing information through blogs or videos, but I believe that you can't really get an understanding for tea unless you savor it first hand.

I could also choose to continue selling individual teas in my store, but the diversity and variety of the teas I can offer will be limited due to necessity of maintaining stocks and focussing on sales-oriented methods. By limiting my monthly selection, I can provide unique, delicious choices of tea that you may otherwise not have the opportunity to taste.

In short, a subscription will allow me to introduce you to the realm of artisan Japanese tea by providing you tea and insightful information that will no doubt contribute to your delight of tea.

Tasting and selecting teas for your delight
Tasting and selecting teas for your delight

In what way is this subscription exceptional? 

The following is a complete list of characteristics of this subscription package that other services lack. 

  • Your subscription is managed by an artisan Japanese tea specialist. The selection of tea, the presentation of information, and the surveys of the concerning plantations are all conducted by me. 
  • Your subscription is a different package of artisan Japanese tea delivered to you each month. 
  • Your subscription is a course on artisan Japanese tea comprised of detailed information on natural farming techniques, interviews with farmers, brewing guides, and much more.
  • Your subscription is a monthly newsletter concerning artisan Japanese tea.
  • Your subscription only includes tea that is naturally or organically grown, which will help you support a healthy lifestyle.
  • Your subscription is a source of support for Japanese organic tea farmers’ families. It will help boost organic tea production and, in turn, organic tea consumption. 
  • Your subscription is your monthly access to relaxation and enjoyment.
An impressive, if not the most impressive, native cultivar 'zairai' tea garden in Japan.
An impressive, if not the most impressive, native cultivar 'zairai' tea garden in Japan.

Does this mean that all tea offered in this subscription is organic certified?

Japan has various certification-bodies such as JAS and JONA that issue certifications to organic producers. However, acquiring this certification involves a cost which some smaller yet very engaged and motivated producers unfortunately can't afford. 

For these producers, who cultivate tea with the most natural and environment-friendly methods, it is undoubtedly frustrating that they have to sell their tea as apparently non-organic. While my intentions are to assist all organic and natural tea-producers in Japan, it is especially these farmers that I want to support. Hence, the direct answer to this question is no, but not because any tea I select to supply is itself non-organic.

Then how do you know the tea delivered is reliable? 

Each selection of teas is accompanied by a pamphlet that includes a profile of the manufacturer, an interview with the farmer, tea reviews, notes on manufacturing methods, brewing guides, and much more. 

In order to create this material, and of course to ascertain the reliability of each farm, I personally visit and survey its grounds. By obtaining and providing information about the suppliers, you will be able to see why I approve certain uncertified farms.

Why should you back this project? 

Three very simple reasons: 

1. According to the statistics for 2014 reported by the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, only 2.5% (2.167 ton) of all Japanese green tea production (85.900 ton) was organically produced. By backing this project, you help me make a contribution that will support the production of organic Japanese tea. 

2. Each month’s selection includes tea you won’t be able to get elsewhere. All teas have been carefully evaluated and chosen at the farm with the farmer. 

3. This is the only existing subscription for reliable artisan and organic Japanese tea, and you won’t find a better specialist to guide you in your exploration of craft tea.

Inspecting the tea gardens of artisan tea producers.
Inspecting the tea gardens of artisan tea producers.

What makes organic tea superior? 

  • It is environment-friendly. It recognizes the irreplaceable value of mature topsoil, the natural rhythm of the plant, and its surrounding fauna and flora. 
  • It is health-friendly, and free from chemical pesticides and fertilizer residue.
  • It is cultivated with care, passion and love
  • Its flavor is pure and clear. No superfluous additives have been added to the roots. Nor has it been unnecessarily processed. 
  • It is representative of the traditional flavor of Japanese tea. 

These are, at the same time, my guidelines for quality-control.  

Organic tea quality control guidelines
Organic tea quality control guidelines

What's next?

When this project takes off, I plan to open a dedicated tea bar in Kyoto,where I will have a wide selection of rare, limited artisan teas for tasting. I will make this place the Japanese tea hub for tea lovers from all over the world to visit.

Accurate and detailed information about Japanese tea is still largely unavailable in English. The monthly subscription will already include lots of information for you to learn from, but I eventually intend to create traditional lessons and courses in Japan as well as online courses for you to take from wherever in the world. Additionally, I am also working on a book for Japanese craft tea, where I will present my view and understanding of Japanese artisan tea from various angles.

About the other reward craft objects.

Besides tea, I also aim to make your "tea time" and the experience of your tasting as enjoyable as possible. Therefore, I have created two great tools that will optimize the way you enjoy each month's tea.

Dedicated tea tasting set.

This is the best tea pot to use for the variety of tea you will be receiving through my subscription. The "shiboridashi" tea pot is fit for small servings and is limitless. It is suitable for almost any tea.

Furthermore, this compact set comes with a tea pot, tea cup and tailor-made bag, which will allow you to enjoy tea whenever and wherever you like.

Dedicated tea tasting set.
Dedicated tea tasting set.

Details:

Shiboridashi kyusu teapot [KYU-SU HITORI]

  • Size: φ95 H80
  • Volume: 130ml
  • Craftsman: Sawa Hozan (Shigaraki)
  • Design: © Ar piece factory Co.,Ltd.

Teacup [KO CYA-WAN]

  • Size: φ70 H42
  • Volume: 60ml 
  • Craftsman: Sawa Hozan (Shigaraki) 
  • Design: © Ar piece factory Co.,Ltd.

Tea set bag [CYA-KI-BAG]

  • Size:  H15(excl. handle) W20 D10
  • Material: 100% leather & cotton
  • Design: © Ar piece factory Co.,Ltd.
  • Made in Japan

Dedicated tea tasting notebook.

This is perhaps the most appealing, Japan-themed notebook dedicated for tea. Every book is assembled by hand and bound in the "toji" Japanese bookbinding style by calligrapher and bookbinding artist Sven Kraus.

It includes appealing calligraphies and illustrations, a tasting how-to introduction, about 60 dedicated pages for your tea tasting notes, and additional 40 ruled pages for more notes.

This book is the best companion for your tastings and a great place to keep your notes on the teas I will be sending you.

Dedicated tea tasting notebook.
Dedicated tea tasting notebook.

Specifications:

Content

  • 60 dedicated pages for your tasting notes.
  • 40 ruled pages for additional notes.
  • A "how to brewing" guide at the beginning of the book by Tyas Sosen.
  • Appealing calligraphy and illustrations throughout the book.

Measurements

  • Page no.: 120 pages.
  • Paper type: recycled paper 140 g/m2.
  • Overall size: 15cm by 18cm.
  • Cover: Double folded cotton paper 160g/m2.
  • Printing: grey scale.
  • Binding: linen.
  • Bookmark: viscose.
  • Production: sven-kra.us.

About the information pamphlet.

The information pamphlet included in the subscription will serve to provide detailed information about the teas sent in that particular month's package, an interview with the farmer, background information regarding the area, production methods and noteworthy cultivation practices, brewing suggestions, and much more. Specifications regarding printing and binding can be found below.

Stitched binding for the information pamphlet
Stitched binding for the information pamphlet

 Specifications:

  • Paper type: Concrete grey recycled paper.
  • Paper weight: 100g/m2.
  • Printing: Monochrome.
  • Binding: Black thread stitched central binding.

Risks and challenges

1) The first edition is scheduled to release in November, which is half a year after the spring harvest. By this time, producers' stocks will have lowered, and some of the most impressive teas may have already sold out. To avoid this, I plan to provide clarity about my intentions to the producers I wish to feature early on and secure sufficient volume of the teas I intend to feature.
2) Shipping of each month's package will be conducted through SAL (Surface Air Lifted) Economy Airmail. The cost is more economical than airmail, but packages are transported at lower priority. Generally, a package will reach its destination within 3 weeks. However, in busy seasons, the package may take longer to arrive. Our second edition, going out in December, may overlap with the Christmas season and New Year's - a season during which package transport peaks. This may cause delays in shipments.

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    For the Love of Tea

    Your contribution makes all the difference.
    Let's have a cup of tea when you are in Japan.

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    An Insight, One Off

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    A First Taste, One Off

    Receive a sample package of amazing artisan tea selected by your sommelier along with my pamphlet with information about the farmers, their methods, and their products for the first running month.

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    The Tea Crane, One Off

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    Choose this reward to receive the package for our first running month.

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    • A set of 2 to 3 specially selected artisan teas
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    Your Personal Tasting Diary [LIMITED 50]

    Receive my unique, hand-crafted, tea tasting notebook that includes appealing images, a tasting how-to introduction, about 60 dedicated pages for your tea tasting notes, and additional 40 ruled pages for more notes.

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    The Tea Crane, One Off + Notebook

    Bring a tea sommelier into your home. The Tea Crane brings you a different package of artisan Japanese tea each month.
    Choose this reward to receive the package for our first running month.
    Receive my unique, hand-crafted, tea tasting notebook that includes appealing images, a tasting how-to introduction, about 60 dedicated pages for your tea tasting notes, and additional 40 ruled pages for more notes.

    Includes:
    • Dedicated tea tasting notebook
    • Artisan tea subscription package, including:
    • A set of 2 to 3 specially selected artisan teas
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    The Tea Crane, 3 Months

    Bring a tea sommelier into your home. The Tea Crane brings you a different package of artisan Japanese tea each month.
    Choose this reward to receive the packages for our first three running months.

    Includes:
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    • A set of 2 to 3 specially selected artisan teas
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    Private Consultation with Tyas Sosen

    One hour private consultation with Tyas Sosen over Skype or physically in Kyoto.
    This consultation can be a "Japanese tea class", an online tea ceremony lesson, a guided tasting, a business consultation, or even just a relaxed conversation about mutual topics of interest.

    Includes:
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    A Dedicated Tasting Set [LIMITED 30]

    Receive the best portable tea-set with teapot, teacup, and tailor-made bag to taste the variety of tea you will be receiving through my subscription.

    Includes:
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    • Teacup
    • Tailor-made tea set bag
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    The Tea Crane, 6 Months

    Bring a tea sommelier into your home. The Tea Crane brings you a different package of artisan Japanese tea each month.
    Choose this reward to receive the packages for our first six running months.

    Includes:
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    • A set of 2 to 3 specially selected artisan teas
    • Information pamphlet
    • Access to subscriber-only videos and content
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    Private Consultation Value Pack

    Three, one hour private consultations with Tyas Sosen over Skype or physically in Kyoto.
    These consultations can be a "Japanese tea class", an online tea ceremony lesson, a guided tasting, a business consultation, or even just a relaxed conversation about mutual topics of interest.

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    The Tea Crane Pro [LIMITED 10]

    Start your tea habit today. This Pro set includes everything you need to bring a moment of peace and relaxation with tea into your day.
    Includes my tasting notebook, tea set, and the first 3 running months of our subscription, along with several other goodies.

    Includes:
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    • Shiboridashi kyusu teapot
    • Teacup
    • Tailor-made tea set bag
    • 1 hour consultation with Tyas Sosen
    • Sample of my favorite tea
    • Artisan tea subscription package, including:
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    • Access to subscriber-only videos and content
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    A Live Private Tea Tasting Event

    Looking for more than a package of tea?
    Bring Tyas Sosen to your reception, party or event for one day to experience a private tea tasting or tea ceremony.
    (excl. travel, lodging and shipping of implements from Kyoto, Japan to event location)

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    My Tea Tour in Japan [LIMITED 10]

    Let Tyas Sosen take you on a 5 day discovery tour through some of the most impressive tea regions in Japan, and get a first-hand experience of the beauty of the scenery, the amazing tastes, and the passion of the producers in the midst of harvest season.
    May 6 - 10, 2019.

    Includes:
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    • Private transport
    • Daily activities
    • Breakfast, lunch, diner
    • Great tea!
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    Business Patronage

    Fully support my cause, and get Tyas Sosen as your personal tea consultant and sommelier for your business for 3 months (approx. 10 consulting hours per week) to help you with the creation, implementation and launch of a tea menu, the development of a new tea product, brand or venture, or to support and provide fresh ideas regarding your project from a creative standpoint rooted in tradition, Japanese aesthetics, and tea.

    Includes:
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    • Patronage seal for your business on my homepage
    • A "The Tea Crane Patron" Certificate for your office wall
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    Earlybird, One Off [LIMITED 50]

    Bring a tea sommelier into your home. The Tea Crane brings you a different package of artisan Japanese tea each month.
    Choose this reward to receive the package for our first running month. (Limited availability)

    Includes:
    • Artisan tea subscription package, including:
    • A set of 2 to 3 specially selected artisan teas
    • Information pamphlet
    • Access to subscriber-only videos and content
    • Free delivery
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