An unusually aromatic Japanese black tea from Kumamoto area of Kyushu in Japan. The tea is made on a small 8 acre farm in Minamata-shi by 4th generation tea maker Master Matsumoto, who uses his great grandfather’s 90 year old Yabukita ancient tea trees grown without any chemicals, herbicides, fertilisers, or even manure – hence the tea grows 'supernaturally'.
This is one of the most versatile black teas we have, combining some of the best qualities of Darjeeling, Assam and Chinese teas and adding something extra of its own. The tea has the aromatic qualities of a second flush Darjeeling and a plum/prune sweetness which comes out more when brewed lightly, but when brewed strong it tastes like the richest, smoothest Assam or Breakfast tea without any astringency or tannins. It can also take milk very well if required.
Sufficiently unusual to interest a seasoned tea drinker but familiar and comforting enough for someone just getting into speciality black tea – if we had to recommend just one black tea in our selection to someone overwhelmed by choice then this would be it.
Brew with water just off the boil and around 3g of leaf per 150ml of water.
Master Matsumoto’s farm, Minamata-shi, Kumamoto, Japan
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Seed grown 90 year old Yabukita cultivar. Harvested late Spring 2018.
95-100°C, 3-4g per cup, with or without milk. 3 infusions.
Coming from Minamata where terrible mercury pollution in the sea killed or disabled thousands of local people, Master Matsumoto believes that chemical farming is not an option for him and his family. Where he has broken new ground is by his decision to use no fertiliser not even organic versions as he believes that all fertilisers attract insects to plants. His delicious teas have confounded critics and made the possibility of tea farming with no or low amounts of fertiliser look possible.
Master Matsumoto studied tea agriculture in Makinohara but even then he was convinced tea could be grown without any additions. He also believes weeds have a vital role to play in improving the soil’s balance. His unusual traditional teas like his Kamairicha which he designed his own machine to fire, as well as innovations like this black tea which is different from the many other black teas coming out of Japan at the moment, have made him a leader of a small but significant tea movement.