Green Tea from Shizuoka Japan
Kukicha, or “stem tea”, is a specialty green tea made from the stems of green tea leaves. Kukicha typically is only made during the spring using a careful process to separate the leaves and stems. This kukicha is made even more delicious by using the flavorful first flush of the tea plants, after they have gone through their period of winter dormancy.
This wonderful tea is from Toshiaki Kinezuka's small, completely organic farm in Shizuoka. Their natural growing practices are an anomaly in the midst of Japan’s typically heavy use of chemicals in their industrialized tea industry.
The farm is now being led by Toshiaki's eldest daughter, Ayumi Kinezuka. Her passion is to keep Japanese tea traditions alive, while also gaining knowledge from other tea traditions. She studied black tea production in Sri Lanka.
She works alongside her father, mother, younger brother, and younger sister on the farm. Leaves of Cha is especially proud to support women-run tea businesses in what is a primarily male-run industry.
- Origin: Nakayama Village in Fujieda, Shizuoka, Japan
- Grower/Teamaster: Kinezuka Family/Ayumi Kinezuka
- Elevation: 350m (1150ft)
- Harvest Date: Spring 2016
- Cultivar: Yabukita
- Cultivation: Natural (Organic, no cert.) Toshiaki Kinezuka started farming with all-natural methods back in 1976, so the farm has been grown with organic practices for 38 years.
- Plucking Standard: First flush pluck.
- Processing Notes: made completely of stems carefully separated during the production process
- Nickname: Stem Tea
- Brilliant bright green appearance and a bright, rich aroma. The flavor is sweet and grassy with fresh citrus notes and a hint of seaweed, with very little bitterness and a very refreshing aftertaste. Cold-brews great for iced tea!
Find it on the website here.
Yunnan Green Tea
This Bao Hong green tea is just the kind of tea that gets me excited in this world of generic, commodity teas. It’s delicious, it has history, and it is cultivated and made with dedication and love. I’m still trying to sleuth out the name of the cultivar, if it has one, but the original plant is believed to have been brought to Bao Hong Mountain by a wandering monk from Fujian. Cultivation started during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907) around the same time as the Bao Hong Si Buddhist Monastery was being built on the mountain and has continued ever since. The Liu Family has been growing this tea for at least 10 generations.
This tea is similar to Long Jing/Dragonwell is many respects. It has a unique history and provenance, a similar appearance in the dry and steeped leaf, and in its taste. Yet it is unique in its own right and a great value given the skyrocketing price of authentic Long Jing.
- Origin: Bao Hong Mountain, Yi Liang County, Yunnan Province, China
- Grower/Teamaster: Liu Family
- Elevation: 1550-1630m
- Harvest Date: March 2017
- Cultivar: Still researching; from a Fujian varietal
- Cultivation: Natural cultivation in a remote un-adulterated environment
- Plucking Standard: Fine Picking; bud & two leaves
- Processing Notes: leaves picked in a two hour early morning window
- Nickname: Bao Hong
- History/Pedigree: Cultivation started during the Tang Dynasty (A.D. 618-907). The Liu Family has been growing this tea for at least 10 generations.
- The leaves brew up full and plump for their small size, with the downy hair from the leaves floating in the liquor. Fragrant with grassy and mineral notes coming through especially on the second infusion.
Find it on the website here.