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Shincha of Kabusecha in Kumamoto

【2020 Shincha of Kabusecha (New covered tea) by Mr Sakaguchi in Kumamoto】

His glossy dark green shincha has a round and gentle umami together with freshness. The second infusion is richer and has more savory taste and satisfying aftertaste.

Kabusecha is sometimes called kabuse or nettogyokuro (lit; hot water gyokuro) too. It’s a kind of sencha with covered for shorter period than gyokuro, and often described as “tea between gyokuro and sencha”. That means it has both umami of gyokuro and freshness of sencha. When you brew it with lower temperature water, you will get more umami to help you relax. When you want to feel more refreshing, brew it with hotter water (around 80 ℃) for a shorter time to bring out more astringency. Kabuse is versatile :).
I brewed it to get some umami this time. I also found some downy hair floating on the tea . 

This is not dust, but it’s called “moji”, which is the sign of high quality tea made from the youngest and the best sprouts . Moji tells it's a good …

Kyoto Wazuka Black Tea

Wazuka in Kyoto is well-known tea producing area. Mr Sugimoto has been producing black tea there. His tea is served at several tea shops including Lipton in Kyoto.

The Kaori cultivar's tea has a distinctive flavor with a bit of roasty and savory note. More it brews, more deep savoriness comes out. This tea is 2 years old and I think it's aged well.





In many cases, I prefer wakocha (Japanese black)  without milk, but this is great with milk, which is good! Unfortunately, this is very rare cultivar, so this cultivar's tea is not always on the market. Hope it will come back again ;)
*Wazuka Kocha website:  https://www.wazukakoucha.jp/

2020 Shincha of Fukamushi-Sencha

Shincha and sencha might sound confusing. Shincha is new / fresh tea while sencha is steamed tea, so this is 2020 new deep-steamed green tea from Kagoshima.


Unlike freshness and greenish of new tea of regular sencha like Kyoto type, fukamushi sencha has milder and deeper taste and greener color. But both shincha have more freshness, but it won't last long. Tea people say that if you want to enjoy Shincha-like freshness, it's better to use up the tea, at the latest, by the end of rainy season, which is around beginning to mid of July. Otherwise, tea is aged, and deeper flavor comes out, which is also good though. 

Anyway, still Shincha season. I make the most of it together with “gyokuro anpan(sweetened beans with gyokuro stuffed bun)”. 

Tea with Milk Face Masks

A tea friend of mine made these washable face masks for me! One is lined with tea-designed cloth, the other is lined with milk-patterned one. 




Now, face covering is a must-wear item for our daily life. It can be annoying once in a while, especially when it’s hot. But these are too lovely to feel annoyed. 


Stay safe!

Tea at a botanical garden

Luckily, there is a big park nearby, so I often take a walk for exercise during stay-at-home time. Furthermore, there is a botanical garden in the park. Actually, I haven't entered the botanical garden for long time, but I've been there for a change,and I came across several things I didn't realize before.

1st: I've found a rose called "Black Tea". What a lovely name!



2nd; I've found tea tree. That's too late for Shincha (new tea) though.




The 3rd; I've found a cafe called "James Taylor". I dont think this is named after the pioneer of Ceylon tea though.


Even if not drinkable,  something "tea" makes me happy.


Keep on Drinking!

Since I spend much more time at home, I drink much more tea as, I believe, most of tea-lovers do.

This is Benihikari cultivar’s Wakocha by one of the well-known producers, Mr Iwata. His lovely menthol flavour tea gently steeps in my body as if I feel purified.



Mr Iwata’s tea gardens are scattered in 33 places (more than seven-hectare in total) at Tsukigase, in Nara and each field has its own character; soil is different, and the slope is different…. He makes good use of its "terroir" and sticks to “organic farming” and “natural farming”, processing unique tea which can only be produced in the area. His tea is nice and gentle both to environment and people.


In addition, I love the package, drawing tea trees, processing machines, teapot and a cup of tea. Mantis and ladybirds look happy too. 




More Tea At Home

We are having 5 consecutive holidays in Japan. Usually tourist spots are packed with people, a lot of events are held. For tea lovers, this is the most exciting season and are willing to go to the tea areas and tea events. But, obviously, it is completely different this year. Luckily, I have enough tea at home, which helps me relax.
The tea today is Takachiho cultivar's Japanese black in Miyazaki.


A flowery and menthol-ish aroma is coming from the cup.  It also has a nice round aftertaste. Together with a seasonal sweets "waka-ayu (young sweetfish)", which tells the arrival of summer.  Although this is not the best "waka-ayu" that I've ever had, I feel that summer is just around the corner. 

Stay safe!



Freshly Roasted Hojicha at Home

I joined a webinar via Zoom for the first time. Since it started at 9 pm, I needed something less caffeine tea like hojicha. But no hojicha left at home…In that case...make my own hojicha!! 

I roasted green tea that I have with a “horoku”, which is used for roasting tea leaves, sesame etc. While roasting gently, a beautiful aroma spread in the kitchen. 



Once roasted, the tea is coming from the Horoku handle.
I enjoyed the webinar together with the freshly roasted Hojicha in a very special cup designed by a friend of mine.:-)


2020 Tea Season Has Started!

Mr Kajihara is one of the best-known tea masters for his kamairicha (pan-fired green tea) in Ashikita, Kumamoto. Recently, his wakocha (Japanese black) also attracts more tea lovers at home and abroad. 



His original and the best is kamairicha made from wild tea leaves. Nowadays, most of tea fields in Japan are well-cultivated, and we don’t see many such a wild and natural field any more. 





He also grows various cultivars including Yabukita, Okuyutaka, Benifuki, Koshun, Izumi etc to produce green, black, and sometimes oolong teas. 

According to Mr Kajihara, all the leaves have been growing healthy and beautifully, and he’ s been sleep-deprived. Now is the busiest season for Japanese tea producers.2020 Kajihara tea production, and his sleep-deprived season have started. Can’t wait.


The photos are sent from Mr Kajihara. Thanks!

* Mr.Kajihara tea farm's website :http://www.kajihara-chachacha.com/


Yabukita First Flush by Mr Kajihara

Mr Kajihra is originally well-known as a tea master of Kamairicha (pan-fired tea) in Kumamoto. Nowadays, his black tea attracts so many tea lovers. He grows various kinds of cultivars for green and black, and this is one of them, Yabukita. 
Actually, since Yabukita is the most popular cultivar in Japan, most of green tea have been made from this cultivar nationwide. In addition to green, many tea growers also produce black tea from the same cultivar. 
But I have to admit I usually don't like Yabukita black tea. It is great for green tea, but it often ends up producing over-greenish black tea. Good news is Japanese black is getting more refined year by year. Even some yabukita black are getting better, and create a unique taste. This is one of them.
Unlike Indian or Ceylon teas, this delicate tea has a round texture, almost no bitterness, and you will feel Umami to it. Longer it steeps, more savory note and natural sweetness brings out. 


This year, he's installed  new tea productio…

Wakocha Pioneer -- Mr Muramatsu --

The history of Japanese black tea dates back to 1870’s. The tea was one of the most important export items during Meiji period (1868-1912). Although Japan exported large quantities of the tea overseas, it gradually lost its competitiveness in terms of price and quality. The production sharply dropped, especially after the import restrictions were lifted in 1971. In the end, the industry was virtually destroyed in 1970’s. By around 2000, Japanese black tea came to be found here and there again, and is now becoming more popular as “wakocha” and “jikocha” Mr. Niroku Muramatsu, who just turned to 80 years old, is a pioneer who has revitalized the current black tea industry in Japan. Unfortunately, some of his tea factory and his house were burnt down a couple of months ago. But he’s pledged to rebuild his factory and continue to produce tea. His passion and love to tea will never fade.
Benifuki is one of the most popular cultivars for Japanese black. His tea has a beautiful copper color with…

Sakura Fragrance -Shizu7132 cultivar -

Although the cultivar, Shizu 7132, is not officially registered, it's well known among tea geeks for its unique aroma. 





The natural aroma  reminds us of Sakura leaf, attracting people. 


Unfortunately, I don't have it today, but it's perfect with Sakuramochi, Japanese rice cake sweets wrapped in a pickled sakura leaf.

More Tea at Home - Kashiwa mochi -

A bowl of matcha and a seasonal sweets called "kashiwa mochi", which is the rice cake wrapped in oak leaves and filled with sweet bean paste. 



Traditionally, this sweets is eaten on May 5, the children's day in the hope of their happiness, health and family’s prosperity. But.....I couldn't wait till then:-)

Wakocha from a small island TSUSHIMA

Wakocha (Japanese black tea) from a beautiful island, Tsushima in Nagasaki. 


Mr Oishi started tea production to create a new industry at the small island. Due to his dedication, the tea with an apply note and a pleasant bitterness has been attracting many tea lovers. 




Now, his son, who shares the same spirit and passion to his home and tea with his father, works together for the community.

Kogane midori cultivar Sencha

Believe it or not, this is sencha, steamed green tea, made from a special, mysterious and umami-rich cultivar known as Kogane Midori (lit: Golden Green). 


It's unique to Sato family, and can not grow anywhere else. Interestingly, the color of the new buds turn into gold by mutation when the buds are exposed to sunlight in spring. 


As recommended, the first cup is brewed by water. 


Punchy and mind-blowing umami is condensed in such a tiny amount of tea. Fascinating!