I joined a workshop to process handmade black tea under Yoshiyuki Takeda, D.Agr.
He brought various cultivar tea leaves including Benihuki, Benihomare, Benifuji, Izumi etc.
After the tea leaves are picked up, the leaves need to be withered (icho in Japanese) so that, mainly, the aroma can come out beautifully. The leaves he brought to the workshop have already been withered.
Next, rolling (junen). We kept rolling and rolling. If we roll them too hard, the finishing tea can be very harsh. But if it’s too soft, it wouldn’t work…..What should I do!????
Then, oxidization (hakko) on a hot plate. It is very homemade-ish, isn’t it? If the time to oxidize is too short, the taste would be very rough. If it is too long, it could have a bit of acid, which is bad. To be honest, I couldn't tell what was the Goldilocks time. I just followed his instruction, ha, ha.
And this is the very last, the tasting.(shiin)
We made a cup of tea and sampled the teas we produced. I knew it, but the taste and the aroma clearly differs from the cultivar to the cultivar, and depending on the person who produced, which was very interesting.
BTW, he showed us some interesting samples. The middle one in the photo is the Camellia sinensis var.assamica. Both side are Benifuki cultivar, which is hybrid in Japan. What a Huuuuuuuge difference!!! Everyone can imagine easily that the tea character between Wakocha (Japanese black tea) and the tea like Ceylon and the African can never be the same, right?. They don’t have to be the same, anyway. I believe Wakocha should seek its own character.
And this is mine made from "Benihomare" cultivar. It looks tea, doesn't it? This is "my cup of tea":-).