Honyama Yabukita Sencha (本山やぶきた煎茶) is a high grade sencha green tea made from the popular Yabukita (やぶきた) cultivar. It is grown in the historic Honyama (本山) terroir that is located in the upper reaches of Warashina and Abe Rivers in Shizuoka at an altitude of 200-300 metres. This tea is crafted to create a classic Japanese tea profile with a complex interplay between grassy and vegetal sweetness and salty and savoury umami notes. It was harvested between 6 and 15 May 2020 and it is sourced by us via a specialist tea merchant in Tokyo.
Honyama is a terroir famous in Japan for producing particularly fine teas that has a tea growing history of over 800 years. The fields are located on steep slopes surrounding the Warashina and Abe Rivers that often produce foggy conditions. This fog and less exposure to the sun acts as a natural way to slow down the growth of the tea plants, resulting in richer and more fully flavoured teas. Additionally, the earlier pickings such as this First Flush picked in early May are more prized. The reason is that with the cooler spring climate the growth of leaves is slower, again allowing for more complex flavours to develop. Once the first picking has been done in the season and the weather is warming up, the plants grow much faster, resulting in less concentration of nutrients in the leaves and thus a weaker tea.
This Honyama Yabukita Sencha is made from the leaves of Yabukita cultivar plants. This cultivar is the most popular and widespread tea plant in Japan and Yabukita plants cover about 75% of Japanese tea fields. It was developed by a tea breeder from Shizuoka in the early 1900’s called Hikosaburo Sugiyama, but it was officially registered only in 1956. The well-performing Yabukita plants quickly proved popular due to their hardiness, ease of cultivation and tea flavours; with time becoming the mainstay of Japanese green tea production. One of the main factors for the popularity of the Yabukita cultivar has been the flavours that they are known for. These plants produce teas with typical savoury and umami grassy flavours and strong aromas that are particularly sought after in Japanese green teas.
This Honyama Yabukita Sencha has neat, long and thin dark green leaves that are neatly rolled. The green liquor has good clarity and a fragrant savoury aroma. The taste is savoury, with a vegetal profile and smooth grassy umami notes. The taste continues with a creamy mouthfeel and further notes of nori, spinach and sea water. The aftertaste is clean, not astringent, with zesty yuzu notes. This Honyama Sencha has all the classic Japanese green tea aspects with a complex yet refreshing taste.
We suggest brewing at 70°C for 2 minutes according to your taste. It can be brewed around 3+ times depending on your taste preferences. This tea will perform at its best if brewed using a good traditional side-handled kyūsu (急須) tea pot specifically designed for brewing sencha tea. In such case, adjust the amount of leaves to 2.5g per 100ml of 70°C water, brewing 40-60 seconds per infusion, repeatedly increasing brewing time until there is no flavour left.