These are the second cakes Blue Willow commissioned. The first-flush, pre-rain tips were plucked in 2018 from strictly old growth, wild trees and have a lot going on. Best when flash steeped repeatedly, this tea is like a slow drip of energy, and really can steep all day. The aroma is fresh, bright and incredibly floral. When sipped, the tea leads with an intense burst that is at once dry and silky, leaving a cooling sensation in your throat. The flavor is verdant with notes of dried apricot, and the fresh astringency is beginning to smooth out and embrace it's earthiness in the years it's been aging.
These cakes will only get better over time and supplies are limited.
This is a limited time offering that is available one month of the year. We only have 40 canisters available this year!
Translating to "Spring Cloud", Harukasumi matcha is a perfect representation of spring time. Suitable for usucha (thin tea) or koicha (thick tea), this tea is smooth and clean with a creamy mouthfeel, flowery high notes and a lingering cooling note that mimics a light breeze. The intensity of the flavors can be adjusted by how much water you use, but it always yields an invigorating and refreshing cup with the perfect balance of bright overtones accenting its soothing, full bodied foundation.
Currently all of our ceremonial grade matcha offerings are produced and stone-ground by Marukyu Koyamaen, a family tea business that has been growing and producing tea in Uji for over 300 years.
Our top grade sencha from Kirishima. This tea is from the Asatsuyu cultivar of tea and has earned the nickname of "Natural Gyokuro" for good reasons. Although it is not shade-grown, it has a vivid green liquor and deep umami characteristic that is typically associated with gyokuros. The farm it is grown on is completely self-contained, bio-dynamic and the oldest tea farm in the region. The aroma of the dry leaves is compelling and rich and only grows as it is steamed. The resulting tea is out of this world and a gift to any sencha-lover.
Due to poor weather conditions only a small amount of Asatsuyu was harvested in 2021. As a result, we could only secure a quarter of the amount we usually buy. For this reason, we will only be selling it in smaller quantities this year to help extend it's availability.
Harvest: Spring 2021
Origin: Kirishima, Japan
Here's a tea you won't find anywhere else. Awa Bancha is only made in one small prefecture in Japan, and is barely known even in Japan. It goes through a unique lacto-fermentation process that yields a tea like no other.
The uniqueness of this tea starts at the plucking, which takes place in the summer, when the leaves have grown large and hardened. Every leaf is stripped from the branches, so each year the whole plant re-grows and there is only one harvest each year. From there, the leaves are boiled to soften them and make them more pliable. They are then rolled, similar to an oolong, but then packed into fermentation jars, and covered with banana leaves and heavy rocks to soak in their own juices. Because the tea is harvested so late, the leaves have a higher sugar content, which increases the fermenation that occurs. About a month later, the leaves are removed and dried in the sun.
The result is a drink that is slightly sour, sweet, and tangy depending on how you steep it. It is incredibly versatile and can be boiled over a fire to get the medicinal properties, or steeped more delicately to extract the sweeter notes. Awa Bancha's nickname used to be "peasant's tea" because it was typically boiled and every leaf was used, unlike other teas.
The flavor is best suited for those who love pickles, sauerkraut and all things probiotic. It is great for the gut and the more you drink it, the more your body will crave its effects.