Hey there Teacups! Day 4 of Teamas is here and today I’m going to be reviewing Tomizawa Tea Garden’s – KU003 Kabusecha Okumidori Kumamoto Guricha (Green Tea). As with all of the teas in this series this was very kindly sent to me by the tea at Yunomi and you can purchase this tea and others from the Tomizawa Tea Garden over on the Yunomi website. Yunomi.life bridges the language and cultural borders that separates Japanese tea farmers with tea enthusiasts worldwide. More than “farm-to-table”, they believe in “people-to-people”—at Yunomi.life, you can read about the farmers who grow your tea, while we translate your feedback into Japanese so they can learn about you! (This is just one of the reason I love Yunomi and everything they do). Here’s what Yunomi have to say about todays tea over on their website: ”From the fields of family-operated tea farm, Tomizawa Tea Garden, a shincha shaded for about 2 weeks before early May harvest (making it a kabusecha). The Okumidori tea cultivar has been quite popular in recent years for its strong natural umami flavour (enhanced by the shading) and deep green colour.”
Tea Tasting Notes
So as you will all know green tea isn’t something I reach for to often, don’t get me wrong I love drinking it but I just tend to gravitate towards other teas first and as a result of that I am not as knowledgeable about green teas as I am other teas. So, before I tried this tea I thought it would best for me to do a little bit of research before doing my tasting session with this tea and I’m really glad I made that decision because it enabled me to gain a little more green tea knowledge.
Through the Yunomi website and a few google searches I found out that this is loved for it’s strong natural umami flavour that is enhanced by the shading and it’s deep green colour. As a steamed tamaryokucha (or guricha), the leaves are not rolled into straight needles as you would see with Sencha, but rather left slightly curled by skipping the last rolling step. The Okumidori part of it’s name is the Cultivar that it’s from which is a Japanese Cultivar. Alothoigh originally intended for Sencha it is not being used for Matcha, Gyokuro and Tamaryokucha (Guricha).
It is a late budding cultivar that unlike others can resist the frost that happens at the start of spring. It is a hybrid between Yabukita and a native tea cultivar called “Shizuoka Zairai #16″ (静岡在来16号). In 1974, it was registered as tea cultivar #32.
Because I don’t have too much knowledge of Japanese green tea I wasn’t sure what to expect from this tea So I decided to follow the steeping parameters over on the Yunomi website which were as follows:
Tea: 3-5 grams
Time: 1 minute
Water temperature: 60C/140F degrees
Water amount: 1 cup
Resteep at hotter temperature up to 3 times. We recommend the second steep to be quick — in and out, since the leaves are primed for extraction.
Use hotter temperature & longer steeping time for a more astringent tea, use cold water or ice steeping for a very sweet tea.
Yunomi recommend doing three steeps with this tea but I only did two as I had lots of other tasting sessions to do the day that I did this one so I didn’t really have the time to do lots of steeps thought I wish I had made the time because this tea is really nice. The first steep was very light in colour with an ever so slight yellow tint to it and flavour wise it was much stronger than I thought it would be given its light colour. I mostly got floral and umami notes from it with a medium astringency and very low almost non existent bitterness right at the back of my mouth.
My second steep was very similar but the floral notes were much lighter and the umami notes stood out a little more because of that. Still a medium astringency but almost no bitterness at all. I think looking back I may have left this second steep a little bit longer than I should have by about 20-30 seconds but it didn’t effect it to much. I am yet to try cold steeping this with ice like Yunomi recommend to get a sweeter brew but seen as I still have some of this left it is deffinelty something I will try once the business of the festive season has past.
All in all I really enjoyed this tea and I’m glad that Yunomi chose in included it with what they sent and enabled me not only to try something new to me but to learn a little bit more about Japanese green tea and tea cultivars. I have another tea coming up in this series from the same tea garden and I am beyond excited to try and see if I enjoy it just as much as I enjoyed this one.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
As always if you want to find out more about Yunomi and purchase some of this tea you can do both here. If you have any questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter/Instagram @teaisawishblog and I’ll answer them all as soon as I can.
Speak to you all again soon. Happy Steeping – Kimberley
*The tea featured in this post was gifted to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and have not been paid for*