Ashikita Okuyutaka Wakocha (芦北町おくゆたか和紅茶) is a balanced 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 Okuyutaka cultivar plants, which results in a tart profile with intriguing spiced notes and complex flavours. We source it directly from the grower, Mr Toshihiro Kajihara. The current batch is the second flush summer harvest from June 2021. We also have a Kamairicha green version of this tea!
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 Okuyutaka Wakocha is made from the leaves of Okuyutaka (おくゆたか) cultivar plants. Just like his other Wakocha teas (Benifuki, Izumi, Koshun, Yabukita and Zairai), this is made solely from single cultivar plants and, unlike some of his Kamairicha green teas, these are not blended at all. As the sections of the garden with the new Okuyutaka plants are still relatively young and much smaller, the production every year is very limited.
The name of Okuyutaka cultivar means ‘deep richness‘, referring to the deep green colour of the leaves and the rich umami flavours produced. The cultivar was developed from descendants of a Yutakamidori plant and an unknown test plant. It was registered in Japan in 1983 and is mostly favoured for sencha green tea due to the richness of savoury umami flavours produced. It also does seem to produce quite an interesting black tea version with some more unusual flavours.
Ashikita Okuyutaka Wakocha is a second flush summer harvest, so the flavours are not as light as with some of the earlier harvest teas from here. The leaves produce a dark liquor with good clarity and a lightly spiced aroma. The tart profile offers up a balanced and complex taste. There are interplaying malty, mineral and cocoa notes that are reminiscent of dark tart chocolate and underripe fruits. The taste finishes on a clean aftertaste that has a lightly mineral and malty flavour and a pleasant level of tannins. This Okuyutaka cultivar tea makes for an interesting comparison to teas made from other cultivars by Kajihara-san.
It is best brewed at 90°C for around 2-3 minutes, with multiple infusions.
You may also be interested in other teas crafted by Kajihara-san.
This tea was first featured in our March 2022 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.