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Kama-iri cha from Tosa: “zairai” yamacha #2 (Chôshunka)

Type of tea : kama-iri cha
Origin : Ogurayama, Ogawa, Inochô town, Kôchi prefecture
Cultivar : "zairai-shu" native species
Harvest : 2018 April 27
Kama-iri cha from Tosa: “zairai” yamacha #2 (Chôshunka)

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In Japan, old tea trees that grow semi-wild in the mountains are called “yamachas”. Their range is essentially from Kyûshû to Shikoku. In the Tosa Mountains (Kôchi Prefecture) on Shikoku, there is an exceptional yamacha “plantation”. The tea trees grow on a very rocky slope in the middle of a forest. Their origin is not known, and neither is their age, but they probably grew from seeds that fell here and there from a few tea trees that people had planted. We know that the location had not been maintained for at least 60 years, when, in the 2000s, the Kunitomos decided to begin exploiting and promoting the tea trees, which are of a sort extremely rare in Japan. Commercial production of this type of yamacha tea is even more unusual in Japan.

In contrast with “Ryû” (the other “yamacha” from Tosa that has been described on Thés du Japon and is made from unpruned tea trees grown without pesticides), Chôshunka comes from pruned tea trees that received organic fertilizers. This tea was also slightly wilted.

The fragrance that we inhale at first is very floral, mellow, with notes of rose. However, in the background we also sense there is something woody, evoking lichens and sweet beans.
In the mouth, it is a tea that seems light and airy at first, but highly aromatic, with floral fragrances, as well as a slightly vegetal, fresh sensation.
There is also a very light touch of astringency.
Next, there is great length in the mouth. The many possible infusions also show that this mountain tea is very strong and, in subsequent pots, light fruity notes come out in addition to the floral fragrances, evoking grapes or citrus fruit.

This semi-wild yamacha mountain tea from Tosa is very special, completely different from “Ryû”. Chôshunka has more feminine aromas and less body, but just as much strength, so it can be infused many times.

Brewing suggestion
  • Quantity of leaves: 3g / 1 tsp
  • Quantity of water : 70ml / 1/3 cup
  • Water temperature : 90°C / 194°F
  • Brewing time : 70s

cat-kochi cat-zairai

Kama-iri cha from Tosa: “zairai” yamacha #2 (Chôshunka)

USD $45.15  / 30g

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