A black tea from Yakushima, an island off the south coast of Kagoshima whose outstanding natural beauty is protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site. Mr Watanabe and two other friends started the tea estate over 15 years ago to make the most of Yakushima’s unusual location and pristine environment – free from mass farming and pesticide use – and have been farming ecologically on their small farm ever since.
Although Watanabe-san mainly produces sencha and other forms of green tea, he does make a small amount of this unusual, fruity black tea. Similar in profile to some Darjeeling and Nepali black teas, it has a strong grape taste, mixed with soya bean notes that we sometimes find in Japanese blacks.
Mr Watanabe’s Tea Farm, Yakushima Island, Kagoshima, Japan
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis. Kanaya Midori cultivar. Blend of different years and harvests.
90°C, 4g per cup. 2 infusions. Can take milk
Over a decade ago three former school friends decided to start a small natural tea farm on the island they grew up on. They all wanted to maintain their connection with the island they had grown up on but often left to find work. They also wanted to protect the environment so they safeguarded the existing forest on the land and chose to farm tea without pesticides or artificial fertilizers. Today one of the three, Mr Watanabe, runs the farm and its small store which serves great green tea ice cream .