Grown in the foggy hills of Kirishima, this tea is made by two brothers who are producing some exceptional quality teas. The moisture of the air and fertile soil from the nearby volcano create a perfect environment for growing complex teas. This Sencha is plucked from a single farm that is completely self-sustaining and bio-dynamic. This is one of the most full bodied and balanced senchas I've had the pleasure of cupping. Part of that is because the tea plants are nearly 100 years old with gnarled trunks and roots reaching deep into the earth to pull up all the minerals the volcanic soil holds. The aroma of the leaves is invigorating and fresh and steeps to an amazingly smooth tea. The mouthfeel is silky with a deep umami character and a bright finish. This is an asamushi tea so the leaves are not as broken as the Asatsuyu, creating a softer tea that is often more approachable for people new to Japanese greens.
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.
Harvest: Spring 2020
Note: Due to closures of international shipping avenues during the COVID-19 crisis, we had to use alternative shipping methods this year. Unfortunately this has resulted in a substantial cost increase for us and we have had to increase our prices accordingly.
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 air-dried.
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.
Here is an intriguing offer for the adventurous oolong lover. This oolong is made in Kagoshima, Japan from the second flush benifuki cultivar. Known for its astringency and bold flavor, benifuki softens a bit in the summer, and makes an interesting starting point for producing an oolong. Best flash-steeped in a gaiwan, this oolong has similar characteristics as a baozhong, but with more umph. Sweet and floral at the start, with a lingering dryness that keeps you wanting more.