My first introduction to Japanese tea culture was while living in Kyushu Japan, working as a business consultant in Fukuoka City. I had the opportunity to travel to Nagasaki prefecture to collaborate with green tea farmers on a project to help draw attention to time honored methods of tea production, as well as the history of their special craft. The farmer’s growing practices spanned generations, on family lands producing some of the most sought after, rare, seasonal teas in the world.
It wasn’t long before I fell in love with the culture, beautiful setting, warm welcome and hospitality but most importantly, amazing teas with a staggering variety of fragrances, colors and flavors.
Upon my return to the United States, I shared the wonderful story of my experience, as well as Japanese black tea, with my wife Susie who immediately became a number one fan. We founded The Ichigo Trading and Travel Company, and continue to spread the joy of fine Japanese teas via trade shows, in-home tastings and corporate events.
The Ichigo Trading and Travel Company’s philosophy is based on the Japanese principal of “Ichigo Ichi-e” (一期一会); the concept that every experience only happens once, must be savored, and treated with respect. Our Japanese teas, and the family farms where they are produced, are truly a once in a lifetime experience that we are honored to be able to share with you-Gerry and Susie Blaise