Organic Yame Bancha
Yabukita

Highest Grade 98 P.

SKU
5620-bio
Exceptionally full-bodied, creamy organic bancha with a palatable, matcha-like umami note. From one of the most renowned green tea farmers in a top mountain terroir in the famous green tea mecca, Yame.
 
Character Aromatic, creamy, fresh, with a soft Yame aroma
Tea Garden Renowned tea farm in its 3rd generation
Terroir Yabe, Yame, Fukuoka
Harvest Mid to end June 2022
Cultivar Yabukita
Elevation 600m
Steaming Standard (chuumushi, 45 sec)
Organic Cert. EU certified organic
Awards MAFF Award for the farmer
Grade 98/100 P. (Category Bancha); Highest Grade
€9.90
100g

Delivery : 1–3 business days

Incl. VAT, excl. Shipping

SKU
5620-bio
€99.00 / 1kg
In stock

Tea Farm

The tea farm, founded by the tea farmer's grandfather, is located in the snow-covered mountains surrounding the legendary tea village of Yabe. At an altitude of 500m, the region has a stimulating climate with alternating periods of snow, sun and fog which give the plants a special resilience and the tea a unique aromatic power. The tea farmer has received the coveted MAFF Award several times, as well as numerous other awards, and thus continues to live up to his reputation of being one of the best organic farmers in the whole of Yame. These awards honour not only the farm's sencha and gyokuro but also the rare wakocha, making this tea farmer among the best in all of Japan. He has been cultivating tea in the green tea mecca of Yame for over 30 years—the last 13 years of which did not include the use of plant protection products or pesticides.

Character

Flavour

The rich, deep green needle color and the delicate leaves and stems lead one to believe that this noble tea is actually a shaded Sencha or Kabusecha, so much is the Bancha influenced by the extraordinary Yame terroir. Aromatically, it shows surprisingly full umami notes and on the tongue it is a gustatory reminiscence of full-bodied minestrone, sweet leek and finest bitters. Despite its complexity, the Bancha comes across as very light and drinkable and is framed by refreshing mineral notes.

Leaf

Many dark green needles and a few stems.

Cup

Strong green-yellow.

Bancha

Bancha is a pillar of Japanese green tea tradition and typically made from the broad leaves of later harvests, although some premium bancha are made from the leaves of the early interim harvest (meban). This kind of tea is very mild, alkaline and important in macrobiology, making it an ideal evening tea.

Cultivation & Processing

Yamecha (八女茶)

Located in the north of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's three main islands, Fukuoka Prefecture and specifically the region around Yame City is home to Japan's famed yamecha (八女茶; tea from Yame). With 3% of the country's total green tea production, Fukuoka produces a full 45% of the total amount of shaded gyokuro - including the highly revered and coveted Dentou Hon Gyokuro. Only the finest of Yame's premium shaded teas, made using special traditional methods and fully shaded with rice straw (tana honzu technique), are allowed to hold this title. This unique focus on quality and shaded teas makes yamecha one of the most expensive green teas in Japan and is due, in addition to centuries of tradition in tea cultivation, to the almost ideal geographical conditions of the region.

The Tsukushi Plain and especially the basins of the two main Yame rivers, the Yabe and the Chikugo, are often shrouded in dense fog, especially in the morning, which provides natural protection from sunlight and stimulates the teas to form a particularly large number of umami-intensive amino acids. Teas made in Yame are therefore often referred to as "natural gyokuros" and can become particularly intense. While the rivers bring not only the pure mountain spring water but also cool and humid air into the terroir, the strong and stimulating climate with hot days and cold nights results in a cool mist and even snow-covered tea bushes in the winter. Additionally, the area around Yame receives plenty of rainfall (up to 2,400mm annually) and combined with the loose, sediment-rich soils, this ensures that the tea fields, which are mostly located on mountain slopes, are constantly washed. The climatic conditions and nutrient-rich soils make the plants particularly resistant and contribute to their unmistakable, full-bodied aroma.

In addition to yabukita (77%), the full-bodied sencha cultivar kanayamidori (4%), the southern cultivars okumidori (4%), saemidori (4%) and the noble yamakai (2%), which are popular for gyokuro and kabuse, are particularly common in this area. Rare gourmet cultivars such as samidori, okuyutaka, gokou and asatsuyu can also be found here.

The historical origin of yamecha dates back to 1423 and the work of zen master Shuzui who, following a stay in China, brought to Japan the cultivation and processing methods of tea in the Ming style, in which the tea is roasted in a pot. It was not until the Edo period in the mid-19th century that the Uji method of tea production, which involves steaming and shading, gradually began to gain acceptance and the first senchas were produced, albeit in small quantities and as luxury goods. This was followed by a gradual modernisation of tea production and the slow establishment of an industry for teas from the different regions of Fukuoka, which were officially grouped together under the name yamecha in 1925 to emphasise the special quality of the roasted and steamed green teas.

Today, Yame is considered one of the leading tea regions in Japan, along with Uji, and consistently receives the highest honours in the country's most prestigious tea competitions. For example, yamecha consistently won the prestigious MAFF Award for Gyokuro from Japan's Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries from 2001 to 2012, and received the same award in the Sencha category from 2014 to 2019. Teas from Kuroki-Cho, Kamiyou-Cho and last but not least Hoshino Mura, the famous mountain village whose name is familiar to every gyokuro lover, are frequently awarded and are thefore coveted.

Organic Certification

Preparation

Brewing Guide

2 heaped tsp per 100-300ml (60°C) water. Steep for 2 minutes. Suitable for several infusions.

Packaging

High quality, airtight, resealable standing zipper pouch with 9 protective layers to preserve flavour and protect against oxidation and contamination.

Recommended Teapot

The ideal teapot for this tea is a brown kyusu or dobin designed for bancha (which allows it to develop a more full-bodied flavour). For a more neutral taste, a black tokoname kyusu with a fine ceramic sieve can be used.

Recommended Storage

Ideally store in a quality tea caddy made from cherry tree bark (wooden, kabazaiku chazutsu) or an air-tight, double-coated metal tin.

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