About Den's Tea
Den's Tea was established in California in 2000 with a commitment to providing the freshest and most authentic Japanese green tea outside of Japan. Whether you're interested in the health benefits or simply searching for the taste of authentic green tea, Den's Tea makes it simple. We offer a diverse selection of quality tea and are dedicated to offering unbiased information on health benefits and tea culture. We also offer tea accessories for the ultimate experience. You can brew and serve your tea in style with selections from our impressive inventory of teapots, teacups, and other accessories.
Den’s Tea is a subsidiary of Japanese tea manufacturer, Shirakata-Denshiro Shoten, Inc. (SDS). It was established to distribute a variety of authentic and, most important, fresh Japanese tea to the North American tea market. Most of Den's teas are grown in the prestigious growing regions of Shizuoka prefecture. They are processed and packaged under the direction of SDS. Den’s Tea imports these premium teas directly from Shizuoka into California and, once in California, all teas are placed in a climate-controlled storage facility. Today, Den’s Tea supplies tea to individual customers, cafes, restaurants, a major coffee chain, sweets and ice cream manufacturers, global distributors and grocery stores.
Den's Tea brings together three key elements for the North American tea lover:
- Meet the Owner
About Den Shirakata
Den's Tea is owned by Den Masanori Shirakata, a third generation Japanese tea merchant with several decades of hands-on experience in growing and manufacturing Japanese green tea. Den is also President and CEO of his family's tea business in Japan, Shirakata Denshiro Shoten, Inc. This puts Den's Tea in a position to supply the freshest and most authentic varieties of Japanese green tea in North America.
Den was born in Shizuoka, a premier tea growing region in Japan. He has been involved in his family's tea business since childhood and has worked at just about every job, including many hours in the processing area and tasting room. In 1996, he succeeded his father as President and CEO of SDS and four years later established Den's Tea in California as a subsidiary of his company in Japan.
Den holds the title of 'Japanese Tea Instructor' conferred on him by the Japan Tea Association. He is well versed in the history, culture, production and health benefits of Japanese tea. In addition to his commitment to supplying the best tea, Den is also dedicated to sharing his extensive knowledge of tea and tea culture. He has conducted numerous workshops for tea merchants and educational seminars for the public. His background includes participation in the World Green Tea Association, Specialty Tea Institute and the World Tea Expo to name a few.
In 2018, Den won a prestigious award from the Japanese Government. The Minister's Award for Overseas Promotion of Japanese Food is awarded to individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the introduction and spread of Japanese cuisine, Japanese food and other Japanese agricultural and fishery products overseas. Den was very proud to receive the award and was encouraged to promote Japanese teas and tea culture even more.
- About Shirakata-Denshiro Shoten, Inc (Parent company)
About Shirakata-Denshiro Shoten (SDS)
Shirakata Denshiro Shoten Inc. has been in continuous operation in the Shizuoka Prefecture of Japan since 1923. The company was founded by Denshiro Shirakata and began as a small family run wholesale tea distributor. The family's expanding tea trade eventually led to the opening of a retail shop, tea processing plant and the implementation of a nationwide mail order system. After years of being recognized as the premiere domestic source of fine Shizuoka tea, the company began exporting.
In its operation, SDS has demonstrated deep respect for the land, the people and the culture of tea. This, coupled with astute business and financial practices has contributed to the company's evolutionary transformation into the highly esteemed company of today. SDS is certainly not the largest of Japan's tea producers. The company is more concerned with expanding the availability of fine tea and the quality of the tea is awarded greater importance than growth simply for the sake of growth.
Since 1996, SDS has been proudly led by Masanori Den Shirakata, the grandson of the company's founder. Worldwide exports have grown every year, now exceeding initial projections. The company is eager to share the richness and beauty of tea with people far and wide. SDS's long held mission is to be innovative and to continually improve tea quality resulting in the finest Japanese green tea available at competitive prices. The company is proud to be certified as an organic tea producer under Japanese Agricultural Standard (JAS) organic program that is equivalent to National Organic Program (NOP) in the US. Their facilities are also certified as Kosher and Halal to accommodate more cultures in the world.
- Meet Denshiro Shirakata (a founder of Shirakata-Denshiro Shoten, Inc.)
About Denshiro Shirakata
Denshiro Shirakata was born into a farming family in 1898. At that time it was expected that children started to work at a young age; so at 15, after graduating from school, Denshiro started to work at a tea company in Kyoto. His education had given him the basics of the tea trade from manufacturing to sales. At the age of 18 with the brash enthusiasm of a teenager, he decided to start his own tea business.
He moved to Tokyo and sold tea from various manufacturers. After a while, he decided to move to Shizuoka. For him, Shizuoka was the Mecca of the tea business in Japan. However, the Shizuoka tea industry was very tight and a stranger was not readily accepted. He persisted in his efforts to establish himself in Shizuoka and gradually he was accepted as a tea merchant.
His big success came almost 40 years later when he started selling tea via mail order. In the 1950's mail order was not very common in Japan and his entry into this way of selling tea became a model for the tea industry. He believed that mail order was not only convenient for his consumers but also the best way to deliver the freshest tea. With mail order the tea quality could be managed before shipping and the tea would reach the customer directly without any other stops. (Today Den's Tea is based on his idea.) With this success, Denshiro expanded his business, employed more people, and built a new factory and office.
Denshiro was very healthy, living to the age of 86, partly because he drank tea constantly. (His wife lived to the age of 100, though.) He loved to walk and sit in the various tea gardens. His business had him visiting many tea farms and as a result he made many friends and business partners among the growers. He was straight and sincere, and trusted by all of his business partners. His business philosophy was "I will quit the business before selling unsatisfactory products." Through his philosophy, our company has many customers in Japan who are third generation customers. His enthusiasm for Japanese tea was passed on to his son, Yuzo, and grandson, Den. Den endeavors to make his family successful for several more generations both in Japan and globally.