Ashikita Yabukita Wakocha (芦北町やぶきた和紅茶) is a unique 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 Yabukita cultivar plants, which results in a distinctive profile that is fruity and has intriguing baked wheat notes. We source this tea direct from the grower, Mr Toshihiro Kajihara. Kajihara-san did not make this tea in 2021 so we are offering the latest first flush 2020 harvest that had the benefit of resting for 1 year, following by careful sorting and refreshing of the tea by Kajihara-san in June 2021. We also offer a green pan-fried version of this tea, our Ashikita Yabukita Kamairicha.
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 Yabukita Kamairicha is made from the leaves of Yabukita (やぶきた) cultivar plants. This cultivar is the most popular and widespread tea plant in Japan and Yabukita plants cover about 75% of Japanese tea fields. This cultivar is mostly known for producing the numerous type of Japanese green teas and as being the mainstay of sencha prodcution in the country. Indeed Japan is particularly known for green tea, with most farmers focusing on producing traditional Japanese teas to meet local and international demand for them.
Wakocha (和紅茶), or Japanese black tea, is still rather rare and sourcing it can be quite complex due to small production levels and mixed results. Different cultivars are utilised for producing different 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. This Ashikita Yabukita Wakocha by comparison delivers a much more delicate flavour that results in a fascinating taste. In fact this is one of the most unique black teas from Japan that we had tasted here at Curious Tea!
This Ashikita Yabukita Wakocha black tea consists of large dark twisted leaves that are somewhat unusual for Wakocha as they are still mostly unbroken. The liquor produced has a bronze colour, fantastic clarity and brightness. It has a wonderfully comforting lightly sweet baked aroma. The fruity profile has sweet notes of baked goods, pastries, wheat and other cereals. There are also some spicy notes that combined with the baked wheat notes make us think of speculoos biscuits. The aftertaste is not lasting, but very clean with just a touch of dryness. This is a wonderfully different and flavoursome tea that has a light and refined flavour that is perfect for savouring on its own.
It is best brewed at 90°C for around 3 minutes, with multiple infusions.
You may also be interested in other teas crafted by Kajihara-san.
Ashikita Yabukita Wakocha black tea was first featured in our January 2020 Curious Tea Subscription Boxes.