Koba
Sannenbancha Organic

SKU
3799-bio
Very rare Koba Sannenbancha (grown for 3 years), top quality. Hand-harvested in winter. From the prize-winning tea farm of Miyazaki Sabo in Gokase. 100g
Details
  • Winter harvest
  • 70% stems
  • Aged for 3 years (sannen) on the plant, not stored (Koba 古葉, Jusei 樹生)
  • High concentration of tea polysaccharides (winter harvest, sweet/mild) and polyphenols (slightly astringent)
  • Alkaline-mineral
  • Low in caffeine
  • Rare
Character Slightly sweet, especially mild, light toasted notes and a delicate woody aroma
Tea Farm Miyazaki Sabo 宮崎茶房, Ryo Miyazaki 宮崎亮
Terroir Gokase, Nishiusuki-gun, Miyazaki, Japan
Harvest Hand-harvested, December 2017
Cultivar Blend of yabukita, native (zairai), and kanayamidori
Steaming None; preparation as a kamairicha (oven-fired)
Roasting Roasted by hand: 200-250°C for 10 minutes, traditional wood fire (makibi) with cedar wood
Macro­biotic/TCM Very strongly yang (depending on preparation)
Elevation 600-750m above sea level
Shading None; preparation as a kamairicha (oven-fired)
Organic EU certified organic, JAS organic, organic cultivation since 1983
Laboratory Tests Radioactivity (Region 11/2019)
Awards Multiple prize-winner (see below)
Grading 99/100 p. (sannenbancha category); Highest Grade
€15.50
100g

Delivery : 1–3 business days

Incl. VAT, excl. Shipping

SKU
3799-bio
€15.50 / 100g
In stock

Tea Farm

Miyazaki Sabō 宮崎茶房

Mr. Ryo Miyazaki 宮崎亮 is a young, award-winning farmer who took over his family's business in 1991. He became interested in organic farming at an early age because of his skin issues, which were caused by pesticides. In 1983, after seeing a family friend develop a serious illness as a result of an accident involving pesticides, Mr. Ryo Miyazaki's parents began the process of aligning the farm with organic standards. By 2000, Mr. Ryo Miyazaki finally received the coveted JAS organic certification for the farm.

As well as the purity of his teas, Mr. Miyazaki is also passionate about creating and blending natural health teas, such as sannenbancha, ginger blends, yuzu and various herbs, as well as Japanese oolong. He also produces approximately 200 different teas for his customers.

Character

Flavour

Predominantly the 3-year-old coarse leaves and stems from the lower part of the tea plant, which are harvested in winter, are used for this rare green tea. Oxidation is stopped via oven-firing (kamairicha). According to traditional standards, the tea is specially aged for 3 years and carefully roasted over a cedar wood fire in small batches by hand. The result is a decidedly mild sannenbancha with virtually no caffeine and a special woody aroma and flavour. The kamairicha oven-firing further adds a pleasant toasted note. This tea is intended as more of a functional tea than a pleasure tea.

Leaf

Specially selected, coarse and thick stems and leaves

Cup

Relatively light tan

SANNENBANCHA

Sannenbancha (Japanese: 三年番茶) is a special form of Bancha tea and thus a very special and rare Japanese green tea variety. "San nen" translates as "three years" and refers to the tea's three year maturation process. Sannenbancha usually has a high proportion of stems, but varies considerably: some varieties are only about 5% stems, while others are exclusively (100%) stems. In addition, the tea is roasted at different intensities. Its processing is thus significantly longer, and in this respect more elaborate, than most other Japanese green teas. The finished tea has a dark brown colour and an earthy, full aroma.

Cultivation

"Old Leaf" (Koba 古葉) Sannenbancha

Thick, coarse stems and leaves grown for over 3 years are selected and hand-harvested for this tea. Harvesting in late autumn and winter guarantees optimal polysaccharide content. This variety is only available in very small quantities in Japan, and is highly sought-after.

Kamairi

This variety is processed as kamairicha (釜炒り茶) (kama 釜, "kiln"; iri 炒り, "roast"; cha 茶, "tea"), which is made following a similar method to many Chinese green teas. Oxidation is prevented by firing the oven at around 105°C for 40 minutes. Kamairicha is rare in Japan, and only a few tea farmers specialise in the method.

Kamairicha and Ceramics: Both from China

The kamairicha technique was brought to Japan from China along with ceramics (produced using kilns). Potter Hong Lin Min (紅令民) brought the technique to Ureshino from China in 1504. Chinese tea seeds and the kamairi technique were brought to Reigan Temple by the Japanese monk Eirin Shyuzui as early as 1406. Since then, Kamairicha has become a traditional tea consumed in Kyushu. Tea farms in the northern highlands of Miyazaki have a reputation for being Japan's best Kamairi farms.

Kamairicha

Unlike steamed green teas, kiln-fired teas develop a unique, less bitter flavour with less astringency and a sweeter aftertaste. This is referred to as kamaka (釜香): kama (釜; pan/kettle), and ka (香; aroma). Kamairicha goes well with rich and salty foods, which are popular in Kyushu.

Gokase 五ヶ瀬

The Miyazaki Sabo tea fields are located at a relatively high elevation of over 500m in the northern, mountainous region of Miyazaki. Although it is located in the tropical climate zone (with temperatures reaching up to 33°C in summer), nighttime and winter temperatures are very low (sometimes dropping to -10°C). In winter, snowfall is common and frost can occur from the beginning of October to the end of April.

Single Source

This tea is exclusively sourced from the above mentioned tea farm in Miyazaki. Sourced directly from the tea farmer.

Organic Certification

Preparation

Preparation

For best flavour (balanced, yang)

1-2 heaped tbsp per 200-300ml 80°C water. Steep for 3 minutes. Suitable for several infusions.

As a cold brew / mizudashi (sweeter and refreshing, lower yang)

3 heaped tbsp per 1L room temperature or chilled water. Steep for 60 minutes in a mizudashi pitcher or flask.

For a stronger tea (robust and bitter, maximum yang)

3 heaped tbsp per 1L water, briefly boiled. Allow to simmer for 5-45 minutes on very low heat. Strain.

Packaging

High quality, airtight, resealable standing zipper pouch with 9 protective layers to preserve flavour and protect against oxidation and contamination. The tea is vacuum packaged according to the highest standards in Japan, with a small quantity of nitrogen added to the package to protect against oxidation.

Recommended Teapot

The ideal teapot for sannenbancha is a dobin made with brown clay or a black tokoname kyusu, which is a good all-rounder for preparing green teas. Alternatively, a glass teapot with a large sieve can be used.When preparing a cold brew, it is recommended to use a specially designed pitcher for mizudashi.

Recommended Tea Caddy

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

Awards

Miyazaki Sabou has received the highest awards for tea in Japan. His kamairicha is especially well-decorated, having won the MAFF Award (from the Japanese Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries) in 2003 and 2016, and the Nihoncha Award Special Prize in 2014. The tea farmer also received the Emperor's Trophy (天皇杯) of the Agriculture, Forestry, and Fishery Festival (農林水産祭) in 2002. His black tea was recognised with the 2013 Golden Award from the Great Taste Awards.

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