Tsukigase Ichōka Tamaryokucha | Natural farming | 2021

月ヶ瀬 萎凋香玉緑茶

Briefly steamed (asamushi) and lightly oxidized (ichōka) green tea made in Tamaryokucha style from pure Saemidori tea trees in Tsukigase Kenkō Chaens Miyayama tea garden. Cultivated by natural farming methods without any use of fertilizers or pesticides.

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Description | 詳細

The Saemidori tea trees at Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen’s Miyayama tea garden grow at an altitude of approximately 250 meters on a steep southeast-facing mountainside. On the west side grows – in Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen’s own words – a ‘curtain’ of tall trees, providing shade from the afternoon sun and thus adding a mild, natural kabuse effect. In addition to an annual distribution of fallen leaves from the nearby forest, the tea trees are cultivated completely without any use of fertilizer, which – combined with the cool Nara mountain air – allows the tea trees to grow slowly in accordance with their own natural rhythm.

After the spring harvest in May 2021, the tea leaves have been spread out and allowed to wither lightly – a special processing step known in Japan as 萎凋香 ichōka, which at Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen gently takes place in the shade of the trees in the nearby forest before the oxidation of the tea leaves is stopped by a brief asamushi-steaming. The asamushi-steaming helps to preserve the natural shape of the tea leaves, and the ichōka step imparts an intricate range of fragrances and flavor notes not typically found in Japanese green teas. Notes, which furthermore are emphasised by the final Tamaryokucha processing: a special rolling technique that gives the tea leaves their distinctly curled appearance and allows the ichōka aspect to be experienced more directly during brewing.

The result is a unique Japanese green tea that speaks of a distinct natural environment as well as Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen’s highly original approach to tea production. Prominent aromatic citrus notes of fresh Yuzu are present and blend with subtle floral sensations of white flowers and green stalks almost evocative of certain lightly oxidized forms of fine Oolong. In the cup, Tsukigase Ichōka Tamaryokucha brews a partly cloudy yet bright green tea, where the fresh aromatic notes reappear on the palate and combine with a clear sense of Tsukigase minerality. Recommended for anyone curious to explore Japan’s rarer forms of green tea!

Tea trees | 茶樹

Cultivar: Saemidori

Age: approx. 25 years

Elevation: 250 masl

Shade: none

Fertilisation: none (but dry fallen leaves from surrounding forests are being scattered among the tea trees every year)

Cultivation method: natural farming and certified organic (read more about organic and natural farming here)

Harvest: May 2021

Production method | 製茶方法

Steaming: light (asamushi)

Hi-ire: none

Producer | 生産者

Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen 月ヶ瀬健康茶園 under the direction of Fumiaki Iwata 岩田文明

Origin | 産地

Tsukigase in Nara, Japan


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