Description | 詳細
The Saemidori tea trees at Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen’s Miyayama tea garden grow at an altitude of about 250 meters on a steep southeast-facing mountain side. On the western side a ‘curtain’ of tall trees stand, providing shade from the afternoon sun and thus adding a mild and natural kabuse effect to the tea garden. Apart from an annual distribution of fallen leaves and dried pampas grass, the tea trees are grown completely without fertiliser which – combined with the cool Nara mountain air in spring – causes the tea trees to grow slowly, intimately shaped by their immediate environment.
After the spring harvest in May, the tea leaves are spread out in the shade of the treetops of the nearby forest to wither lightly – a special, and in Japan today rare, processing step known as 萎凋香 ichōka. By applying the ichōka-step, a unique range of delicate aromas and flavors unfold not normally encountered in more orthodox sencha productions – prominent aromatic notes of citrus fruit reminiscent of yuzu rind blend beautifully with subtle floral sensations of white flowers and their green stems, calling to mind certain types of lightly oxidized oolong.
In the cup, Tsukigase Ichōka Sencha brews a clear, almost neon-green tea where the bright aromas echo on the palate. A well-balanced astringency adds a refreshing edge to the tea and gives it structure. Little by little, a mild but pleasant umami unfolds, especially during the later infusions, while a distinct sensation of Tsukigase minerality, here more reminiscent of hot iron than rocks, becomes increasingly pronounced as well. Combined together, it makes Tsukigase Ichōka Sencha a sophisticated and wonderfully complex Japanese green tea – a unique encounter that speaks to us of a distinct terroir as well as Tsukigase Kenkō Chaen’s highly original approach to their cultivation and production of Japanese tea.
Tea trees | 茶樹
Age: approx. 30 years
Elevation: 250 masl
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 2022
Production method | 製茶方法
Steaming: medium (futsūmushi)
ichō: outdoor withering after harvest in the shade of trees in nearby forest
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