The tea trees on this Yabukita tea garden are as old as the official introduction of the cultivar to tea farmers in Japan.
While the Yabukita tea cultivar has been discovered in the 1920’s, it was first registered under the official cultivar registration system in 1953. Cultivars didn’t become widely spread for use on tea gardens until the 1970’s, but this farmer had already planted one whole garden just after its official registration, in 1953.
This is perhaps the oldest Yabukita tea tree garden existing from which we can enjoy the tea today.
The Yabukita cultivar is known to be a generic and fairly well suited cultivar for the manufacturing of green tea. Commonly cultivar trees are pulled out and replanted every 50 years since it is believed that they loose their vigor and strength as they grow older. This makes it fairly uncommon to encounter a Yabukita cultivar tea older than 10~20 years.
Tasting the tea of these 69 year old tea trees, we can get an appreciation for what a more matured and calm Yabukita tea has to offer, as opposed to the springy youthfulness of most similar teas on the market.
About the tea
・Origin: Yame, Fukuoka, Japan (single estate).
・Farmer: Masashi Harajima.
・Type: Green tea – Sencha.
・Cultivar: Yabukita cultivar.
・Harvest: May, 2021.
・Tea bush age: 69 years (since 1953).
* Due to a mistake in the earlier calculation, the age of these tea trees was marked 67 years on the package, but the year of planting wasn’t 1955 but 1953, which caused the mis-calculation.
Cultivar chart – Yabukita
・Breeder: Sugiyama Hikosaburō.
・History: Discovered at Sugiyama’s tea garden north of his bamboo grove. Hence the naming ‘Yabukita’. Chosen as promoted cultivar in 1945, registered as # 6 in 1953.
・Growth: Mid-season grower, taken as the yardstick for other cultivars.
・Specifications: Strong growth and good yield; Average cold and disease resistance; Excels in quality criteria.
・Cold resistance: Fairly strong against cold and average against frost damage.
・Suitable land: Versatile. Grows in Shizuoka and Kyushu. Is highly adaptable, which is why it is chosen as the preferred cultivar throughout Japan, now for over 70% in use at tea farms.
About the tea garden
・Name: Sugiyama (杉山).
・Area: 10 ares.
・Category: Tea farm.
・Soil type: Red – yellow Loamy soil.
・Direction an angle: 5% slope.
・Ridge direction and shape: South-North crescent shaped lanes of bushes.
About the climate
・Climate: Especially cool in summer. In winter the bushes get covered in thick layers of snow.
・Surroundings and environmental circumstances: The morning sun reaches the bushes early. In the evening the sun disappears rather soon.
About the production process
・Manufacturing: regular steaming / Futsumushi.
Measurements per portion.
・Amount of tea ：3~4g
・Steep duration：40~60 sec
Suggested no. of infusions: 
Cool down your water slightly for the first brew to allow the tender tea leaf to unfurl slowly and gradually begin releasing flavor. For successive brews, raise the temperature of the water little by little or brew shortly with off-the-boil hot water to release a stronger aroma.