It was when a sudden change occurred in a single Yabukita cultivar tea-bush that this golden tea was first remarked upon.
After a subsequent quarter-century of painstaking and patient reproduction from cuttings, that bush has become the ancestor of what is now an extensive farm, comprising field after field of bushes. Although these plantations are quite unregimented, retain their natural top-soil, and receive no protection from sunlight, the leaves yielded by their bushes contain a high proportion of amino acids, resulting in a strong, savoury and yet sweet flavour, similar to that of gyokuro.
Since these leaves most resemble not more robust types of tea-leaf but instead small, yellow flowers, they can be harvested only by hand. Although they at that point remain but faintly fragrant, by resting the tea after processing, its aroma and sweetness mature, and thereby become intensified.
This species of tea can be cultivated only in the micro-environment in which it was first discovered. Moreover, these leaves require hand-picking, which means that the quantity that can be annually harvested and processed is comparatively limited. It is therefore far from unreasonable that this brand should be quite – and even deservedly – costly.
Deservedly for a start because the resultant brew proves initially rich in umami flavor, and yet soon surrenders a hint of astringency (this chiefly registered by taste-buds situated in the sides and reverse surface of the tongue). Nevertheless, its aftertaste is paradoxically coloured by a lingering, full-bodied sweetness, within which can be caught an intriguing tinge of orange-citrus, and, finally, a suggestion of ambrosial honey.
・Origin: Moroko-zawa, Shizuoka, Japan (single estate).
・Cultivar: Yabukita cultivar.
・Harvest: Spring 2016 handpicked, hand-rolled.
・Type: Green tea / loose leaf.
・Additional impressions: Full bodied sweetness; Tinge of orange-citrus; Ambrosial honey.
Measurements for 3 persons.
・Amount of tea ：5g