Ashikita Koshun Wakocha (芦北町香駿和紅茶) is a fruity Japanese black tea grown on Kajihara Tea Farm that is run to organic standards in Ashikita District of Kumamoto Prefecture. This tea is crafted from the unusual Kōshun cultivar plants, which results in a distinctive profile that is sweet and fruity. We source it directly from the grower, Mr Toshihiro Kajihara. The current batch is the second flush harvest from June 2021.
While Kajihara tea garden mostly focuses on heritage native ‘zairai’ plants, they also have a number of various Japanese cultivars planted on their farm to further differentiate and extend their range of teas. This Ashikita Koshun Wakocha is made from the leaves of Kōshun (香駿) cultivar plants. This cultivar is still quite rare and it is largely used to make green tea, known for a pronounced floral aroma. However some farmers like Mr Kajihara are starting to experiment with producing both Koshun Kamairicha and some more unusual black teas with a unique Japanese character that cannot be found anywhere else. And it turns out that Kōshun is a great ‘green tea’ cultivar for making wakocha with!
Wakocha (和紅茶), or Japanese black tea, is still rather rare and sourcing it can be quite a complex process due to small production levels and mixed results. Different cultivars are utilised for producing various Wakocha black teas with different flavour profiles. For example our Makinohara Benifuki Wakocha has a more broken leaf and a much bolder black tea profile. Some of these Japanese black teas aim to emulate their counterparts from India, China and Taiwan to capture some of the established market. Some however, just as this Kōshun Wakocha does, create something completely new and exciting – a distinctive flavour profile that is unique not only to Japan, but to specific cultivar and farmer.
Ashikita Koshun Wakocha black tea has a mixed twisted very dark leaf that produces a dark amber liquor. The taste starts off on sweet fruity notes of apricot jam, quince marmalade and is followed by an array of deep floral flavours. It is undoubtedly a supremely smooth tea with no astringency or bitterness and minimal tannins. The overall impression is that of enduring fruity sweetness. The flavours progress to a lasting aftertaste that develops some malty and intriguing mineral notes. This tea makes for an extremely satisfying drink.
It is best brewed at 90°C for around 3 minutes, with multiple infusions. The sweet fruity flavours also make this tea perfect for cold brewing in your fridge overnight!
You may also be interested in other teas crafted by Kajihara-san.
Ashikita Koshun Wakocha black tea was featured in our September 2021 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.