Okumidori Kabusecha (Shaded Sencha) 2023
From the ash-covered soils of Kagoshima, under the gaze of Kirishima volcano, on the southern tip of Kyushu Island, comes this sophisticated single-varietal Japanese tea, picked from the organic Nishi family garden. The garden is owned by Nishi-san and his brothers, and is a pioneering garden for organic tea farming in Japan. The photo on the left shows the spring (ichibancha) harvest which I took at the Nishi family garden. You can see the plants being covered from the sun…
Kabusecha means ‘covered tea’. To be a kabusecha, the tea plants must be covered from the sun for at least a week before the leaves are picked. This increases the amino acids in the leaf, which gives kabusecha an umami (savoury) flavour profile which is highly sought-after in Japanese teas. This batch had 7 days of shading before picking. The leaves were then steamed for 30s (which keeps the tea green). Like wine grapes, tea has many varietals. This tea is made from one varietal of tea plant called Okumidori which tends to have a leafy, legume flavour profile.
A delicious example of an Okumidori kabusecha. The tea opens with leafy vegetal notes, followed by legumes, edamame and peas, then a long umami finish. If you love Japanese food, this tea is for you.
Infuse at 6g (a tablespoon) per 150ml (teacup size) at 40°C for 2 minutes or at 60°C for 1 minute if you prefer. This is the authentic Japanese way which brings out the umami. The leaves will re-infuse three times.