2011/01/26

"Wakocha" Japanese black tea

I hear more countries in the world have launched new tea business. Japan is no exception.

More Japanese black tea called *Wakocha are being produced at various areas including Shizuoka, Kyoto, Nara, Mie, Kagoshima, Kumamoto, and Okinawa. Perhaps, “Japanese black tea” sounds brand-new business to many, but technically, this is not. The Japanese current trend can be said “the rebirth of black tea”.

Its history dates back to 1870’s. Tea was one of the most important exported items, then. It is reported that about 8,525 tons of Japanese black tea was produced at peak periods, in 1955. However, its production sharply dropped, especially after the restriction on foreign trade of tea was relaxed in 1971. Japanese black tea was not as good as Indian tea and Ceylon tea in terms of quality and cost performance. Eventually, few tea farmers made black tea.

But now, Japanese black tea has made a comeback under the name of Wakocha. In addition, Japanese oolong tea (Waoolong) are also being made these day.

It shows tea made in Japan has entered on new phase. I hope the further improvements will bring much more refined Wakocha and Waoolong to our teatime.

*Wa for “Japan”, and kocha for black tea”