We would now like to introduce “Factory No. VI”: our newly established building among our collective matcha factories. The quality consistency of our products is a major theme within our company. It is important to our customers, thus, it is important to us as well. Factory No. VI is the embodiment of our beliefs toward production. It is a versatile production facility capable of meeting the requirements of a wide range of matcha products. While we imagine every scene where our products may be used, consideration was also given for a clean production environment, so that we can produce goods that are secure and safer than ever. Such efforts to improve quality can only be found in repetition of trial and error at our company. The experiences and achievements that we have repeatedly practiced using our own eyes and practicing with our own hands have created such an environment and have realized the high quality and diverse product development.
When we design a new factory, one of our main considerations is change and innovation. We ask ourselves: “How do we overturn the previously established concepts of tea production?”. In order to acheive such ambitions, we first needed an enviornment (production facility) capable of realizing our ideas. This enviornment would have to provide the opportunity for creativity to challenge traditional product development. If success was to be realized, we understood that this facility must be based on our knowledge that we have acumulated over the years.However, we soon had begun to realize that if we were to truly make use of our knowledge, a simple standard manufacturing facility would not suffice. Tea has always been a freely produced product based on reverse thinking. However, it is also a product destined to consumers and one must be well aware of its role as a consumer good.As a result, we have engineered highly productive equipment capable of processing tea leaves. This equipent allows us to take a closer look at the color, taste, and frangrance of the tea leaves. We will continue to improve our methods in the future in order to meet your expectations.
This particular facility was built to function as both a tea factory and a cooling facility. The cooling chamber ocupies half of the 1st floor. The raw tea is taken from the input chamber located on the west side (1F) and put into a hopper (particulate collection container). Then, it is transported to the steralization chamber (2nd floor) by pneumatic conveyors.The input room plays an important role as the tea’s gate to the sterilizing chamber. There are 3 workrooms located in the left half of the 1st floor.
All the tea leaves are sterilized in the sterilzation room. The tea is brought into the room by pneumatic conveyors and then scanned by metal detectors. The process of sterilization is comprised of high-pressure steam. Afterwards, it is then cooled and placed in a receiver tank. The last step is the bacteriological examination. Only tea that passes the examination will move onto the next stept of the production process (grading, categorization, measuring, sealing & packaging).
Bacteria is everywhere, even though we cannot see the various bacteria that exist in the air that we breathe. That is why no food of any sort can be 100% germ-free. For matcha, sterilzation and bacteriological examination is not always necessary. This is why some customers of matcha are very specific when selecting which matcha products to choose from and from whom they buy it from. At Yanoen, we use the latest equipment and examine all our materials (tea leaves) for safe production no matter whether the matcha will be used for baked or un-baked goods.
From inputting the ingredients to sterilization.The pneumatic conveyor process that transports the tea from the 1st floor to the sterilization chamber on the 2nd floor. From the sterilization chamber, the tea is transported in a similar manner to the receiver tanks. To further prevent contamination, the tea undergoes a metal dector inspection prior to advancing to the 2nd floor. We have accumulated data to calculate the ideal temperature for sterilization. After the sterilization process, the tea is carried to one of the three receiver tanks and stored as it awaits the two-day long bacteria inspection results. Then, the tea leaves advance to the grinding process where it is powdered into matcha.
The sterilized tea leaves are stored in the receiver tanks as they await the results of the bacteria inspection. In order to maximize efficiency, there are three tanks. Since the inspection results take two days, the remaining 2 tanks continue to sterilize two days worth of work. Thus, there is no need to halt the production process.
The pulverizer is one of the most important machines at Factory No. VI. The crucial aspect of the machine is that it allows us to adjust the grain size when we create the powder from the leaves. At Yanoen, we utilize an airflow pulverizer in order to lessen the damage sustained to the product. The air itself does not contain heat. This yields significant results in regard to lessening product deterioration.
The advantage of utilzing an airflow pulverizer is grain size adjustability. Most factories utilize a ball mill or a bead mill in order to grind their tea leaves. However, both are inferior methods of grinding. For example, in the case of ball mills and bead mills, product quailty diminishes. This is due to both processes utilizing friction as the tool for pulverizing the leaves. Unfortunately friction yields heat and the extreme temperature damages the color of the leaves. On the other hand, Yanoen’s pulverizer utilizes airflow. The damage is less significant due to the short nature of exposure. The process is almost instantaneous and it lacks the damages produced from extreme temperatures.
Yanoen’s original production methods (airflow pulverizer) is not just about preserving product quality. Another reason for utilzing the airflow pulverizer is that granularity is highly flexible. The standard grain size for matcha is 20 microns. However, our machine can change the size of grains whether its larger or smaller. This is beneficial because certain grain sizes are more compatible with certain products. Each matcha-related product has a optimal grain size for best results. Therefore, a machine capable of changing the grain size is key to producing the ideal matcha in any and every scenario. The airflow pulverizer is a rare piece of equipment. We also utilize a grain size measuring instrument for quick checks. Lastly, we have a device that measures the difference in color of the tea leaves. We are doing our best to maintain the high standard of our products.
In regard to making matcha products, such as confectionaries, people are left with a difficult choice. Which should be prioritized: color or safety? Unfortunately, there is a trade off. Preservation of color would mean no exposure to heat (bacterial sterilization) and thus, lower safety. If one prioritizes safety, the product loses its vibrant colors. Our pulverizers are better at preventing color-loss when compared to others. We selected our machine after viewing the results of a variety of different machines from a variety of different companies. It perfectly resonates with Yanoen’s original method of making matcha.
One of the important processes in producing safe goods is the inspection for bacteria. However, our concern is that the sterilization of matcha will result in discoloration of tea due to the steam from the machine. “We want to sterilize, but we also want to avoid color-loss.” In order to achieve both at the same time, we, at Yanoen, established a special inspection room built right into our factory.
At Yanoen, having an inspectin room inside the company enables us to check the number of bacteria on pre-sterilized tea leaves. We check them not only to compare the number of bacteria before sterilizing and after, but we believe it is essential to examine ingredients and the color of the leaves. In fact, when sterilizing with high-pressure steam, tea leaves will have more hydration. Therefore, the color will change according to the steam. Because of this, it is necessary to observe all changes from the beginning to the end of the sterilization process, by examining the amount of moisture, color and so forth.