Fuji Yumewakaba Wakocha (富士ゆめわかば和紅茶) is a unique Japanese black tea grown on the slopes of Mt Fuji in Shizuoka Prefecture. This tea is crafted from a newly introduced Yumewakaba cultivar. The resulting complex liquor has good strength and a savoury profile reminiscent of Taiwanese black teas. We source this tea via a specialist wholesaler in Shizuoka who directly works with the farmers. They specifically support smaller farmers in distributing their teas, developing new tea types, improving their techniques and providing additional end processing and refining at their small tea factory in Makinohara. This current batch is a second flush harvest, picked on 20 June 2021.
This wakocha is made from an unusual Yumewakaba (ゆめわかば) cultivar that was developed in Saitama Prefecture. This cultivar was only registered in 2006 and is a cross between Yabukita and a tea plant with designation Saitama #9. This cultivar is favoured in making ichoucha, a kind of withered green tea. To make ichoucha the tea leaves undergo brief withering before being steamed. When this withering is done specifically with the Yumewakaba cultivar leaves, it adds a floral aspect that is reminiscent of osmanthus blossom. As always, the same cultivar can be used in making different style of tea but Yumewakaba black tea is still not very common. Partly this is because of the general rarity of this cultivar but also due to lower demand for black tea in Japan.
This Fuji Yumewakaba Wakocha is a fine example of a flavoursome Japanese black tea. The Yumewakaba cultivar certainly works well in creating a distinctive tea. It produces a savoury liquor with a rich colour and a savoury aroma. The savoury aspect makes us think of the great Taiwanese black teas, like the Yuchi Assamica and Yuchi Red Jade. We do find this Wakocha a bit more refreshing and generally easy to drink. The complex profile has a tangy and fruity flavour with peppery notes that are reminiscent of vine tomatoes and sour plums. It has a lasting aftertaste with some light tannins coming through at the end with notes of fruit skins and underripe kaki fruits. This is definitely an unusual tea that has a unique charm.
It is best brewed at 90°C for around 2-3 minutes, with multiple infusions.