Benifuki green tea is a natural allergy relief remedy for allergies and hay fever.
This tea was featured in the April 2021 Tea Club. Because of this tea’s medicinal powers I secured some additional quantities to offer limited quantities to customers here.
The Benifuki cultivar is rich in O-methylated catechins, naturally occurring plant-based chemicals that give certain foods their color and taste. Of particular note are epigallocatechin-3-O-(3-O-methyl) gallate (EGCG”Me) and epicatechin-3-O-(3-O-methyl) gallate (ECG3″Me). These catechins disappear during the process of manufacturing black tea, but green tea produced from this specific cultivar retains them. This tea is known to contain natural allergy relief effects thanks to these catechins, and research shows that it also provides benefits for fighting inflammation and obesity as well.
In contrast the same month’s kamairicha, this Benifuki green tea (sencha) from Nara is intended to be functional as opposed to simply a delicious tea. The tea leaves used for manufacturing this rather crude looking green tea are from the autumn harvest. According to the manufacturer, this is favorable as later pickings tend to contain larger amounts of catechins. It’s these natural chemicals – specifically ECG3”ME – found in the tea that give the Benifuki cultivar its reputation as an effective natural allergy relief remedy.
・Origin: Nara, Tsukigase, Japan (single estate).
・Farmer: Fumiaki Iwata.
・Cultivar: Benifuki cultivar.
・Harvest: Autumn, 2020.
・Type: green tea / loose leaf.
Cultivar chart – Benifuki
・Breeder: Tea and vegetable Research institute in Mie Prefecture.
・History: Registered in 1993 as number #44. The mother of this variety is the Benihomare cultivar, which is a direct descendant of Assam’s native species, and was mated with the ‘Makura Cd86’ cultivar, a variety with Indian Darjeeling roots. It was chosen in favor its fermentation potential, producing a balanced black tea with aroma, color and flavor gathered together in a harmonious whole. When produced as an oolong it is said to have great potential for the production of the ‘Iron Goddess’ or Tieguanyin.
・Growth: Intermediary grower, 7~9 days prior to Benihikari. 1~2 days later than Yabukita.
・Specifications: Strong against most of the primary diseases common on tea bushes.
・Suitable land: Best suited for growth in areas with a mild climate, where winter colds are not too fierce.
While this kamairicha contains helpful catechins, I suggest brewing this tea for taste and fragrance alone as opposed to medicinal use due to its exceptionally fresh flavor.
To brew for flavor
・Amount of tea ：3g
・Steep duration：20~40 sec.
Similar to other natural and organic green teas, I suggest to steep the tea briefly at a high (right-off-the-boil) temperature. This will release sufficient aroma without releasing all the flavor of the tea at once, allowing for multiple brews from the same tea leaf.
To brew for allergy relief benefits
・Amount of tea ：3g
・Temp & Duration: Boil for more than 5 minutes
In order to be able to release the EGCG”ME and ECG3”ME to obtain their anti-allergy natural remedy benefits, research has shown that this brewing method produces the best ratio of necessary catechin components vs. concentration in the amount of water. Persons with allergy symptoms who are receptive to the effects of the EGCG”ME may see symptoms reduced in a matter of minutes. However, this is not a medically advertised product and benefits are therefore not guaranteed.
It is obvious that this brewing method is not a means to obtain the most delicious taste of the tea, but merely an approach to obtain its health benefits. Remember the phrase “The best medicine always tastes bitter!”
Watch The Tea Club ed. April 2021 Preview video here: