Tsukigase Yamatomidori Wakocha (月ヶ瀬村大和緑和紅茶) is a unique smooth and complex Wakocha, or Japanese black tea. This organic Japanese black tea is crafted from a Yamatomidori cultivar grown in Tsukigase Village of Nara Prefecture. We source it with a help of a specialist tea merchant based in Kyoto directly from the farms. This tea is a first flush crop from spring 2017.
This Japanese black tea is grown at a fully organic farm without any artificial pesticides or fertilisers so it has full organic JAS certification. The care taken to craft teas at this organic farm is evident in the flavour of this Tsukigase Yamatomidori Wakocha, resulting in a clean and fresh flavour. Furthermore, both the growing and processing methods employed at this farm follow orthodox production methods.
This Tsukigase Yamatomidori Wakocha is from seed-grown trees of a Yamatomidori cultivar (大和緑). The Yamatomidori name means Yamato green and refers to the historic Yamato region that was originally the area around Nara. Yamato became somewhat of a byword for Japan or Japanese, so the name of this cultivar can be easily translated as ‘Japanese green’. This cultivar was developed and introduced in Nara in 1953 and it is mostly utilised in production of green teas. It has now been overtaken in popularity by more modern and higher yielding cultivars so it’s not very common, with only a few fields around Nara still growing it. At this farm the younger and smaller leaves from the plants are used for making sencha green tea, while the larger coarser leaves are reserved for black tea. This is mainly as the larger leaves tend to have the necessary robustness required for a good black tea, yet still this tea is quite light bodied.
The leaves of Tsukigase Yamatomidori Wakocha are very mixed in appearance, light green-brown in colour with some brighter green and orange leaves. The look of the leaves is somewhere between a large leaf Darjeeling and a roasted Hojicha with some additional stems in the mix. The liquor has a red amber colour and a mineral aroma. On the palate the first taste is quite strong, flavoursome and full, giving way to a smooth and complex flavour with a clean, tangy and slightly savoury finish. There are mineral, woody and stony flavours with comforting notes reminiscent of spiced orange and walking through a summer forest. The first impressions are quite dramatic but quickly recede, leaving you with a pleasant multilayered taste. This is an unusual and complex cup of tea, the flavours or which develop with each sip and change with each infusion.
It is best brewed at 90°C for around 3 minutes, with multiple infusions.