News / Japan

New Teas in the Leaves of Cha tea chest!!!

Sencha Asanoka

Heirloom cultivar Sencha from Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan 

This delicious sencha is made with the Asanoka cultivar. Asanoka means “Morning Aroma” and is a cross between Japanese Yabukita and a Chinese cultivar. It was developed at the old Kagoshima Tea Research Center.

One of the things I’m passionate about with tea, and food in general, is unique and heirloom varietals or cultivars. So I was very excited to find this single cultivar sencha NOT made with the ubiquitous Yabukita cultivar. Of course there are fabulous senchas made with Yabukita but I’m all about preserving and encouraging diversity in specialty tea. The region of Kagoshima where this Asanoka was grown has a high temperature difference between day and night which helps the tea develop a deeper flavor that is vegetal and umami with a light sweetness and without much bitterness


  • Origin: Hioki, Kagoshima Prefecture, Kyushu, Japan
  • Grower/Teamaster: Itaru Kawaji
  • Elevation: 250m
  • Harvest Date: April 2019 (1st Harvest)
  • Cultivar: Asanoka
  • Cultivation: Certified Organic at source but not at packaging point (Leaves of Cha)  
  • Plucking Standard: Machine harvested
  • Processing Notes:  Fukamushi (deep) steamed
  • Nickname: Asanoka means “Morning Aroma”, but is also sometimes called “Senkou Ka” (“Incense Stick Aroma”) for its unique fragrance.
  • History/Pedigree: Grown only in Kagoshima prefecture, Asanoka is a cross between Yabukita and a Chinese tea cultivar (鹿Cp1  or Kago Cp1)

Tasting Notes:

  • Vegetal, bright, slightly sweet, with prominent umami. The brewed tea has a pronounced scent that is reminiscent of Thai Basil and Honeysuckle flowers with a hint of brine.

Find it on the website here.

Yame Gyokuro

The amazing shade grown Green Tea from Yame 

Gyokuro (“Jade Dew”) gets its name from its intense green color and the historical ball-shaped preparation of this tea. Nowadays, the leaves are straight needles like sencha, but the shading process prior to harvest still gives the tea its deep, saturated green color and rich umami flavor.

The Yame growing region is known across Japan for its excellent Gyokuro. Production of Gyokuro involves a 10-day period of shading the tea plants prior to harvest. The shading forces the plant to boost its chlorophyll production and retain its store of amino acids, leading to a deep green color and rich umami.


  • Origin: Yame, Fukuoka, Japan
  • Grower: Hoshino Village Farmers
  • Elevation: 200m~300m
  • Harvest Date: May 2019 (1st Harvest)
  • Cultivar: Yabukita & Oku Midori
  • Cultivation: Conventional
  • Plucking Standard: Machine
  • Processing Notes:  Fukamushi (deep steamed), high firing
  • Nickname: Jade Dew
  • History/Pedigree: Developed in 1835 by Yamamoto Kahei in Uji, Kyoto, Japan, Gyokuro became the first shaded tea in Japan to be consumed as a loose leaf tea. The original Gyokuro was called “Tama no Tsuyu” and involved the leaves being curled into tight balls, but through the years, this tea came to be processed like Sencha, with the familiar needle-shaped leaves.
Tasting Notes:
  • Savory, marine, buttery
Find it on the website here.
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