What is Wakoucha?
Wakoucha (和紅茶) is Japanese Black tea. Thinking about Japanese tea, at first one would not think of black
tea. In comparison to green tea’s long history of production, the manufacture of black tea in Japan was introduced only 150 years ago. Therefore its origin goes back to the Meiji period, the time when Japan began to open up to the rest of the world.
Koucha actually means red tea’. It is named after its colour as the brewed tea displays a dark red colour. This is because Japanese water is low in lime content and therefore is so-called ‘soft water’.
Koucha is a fully oxidised tea. After the harvest the leaves are first withered before further processing. By the subsequent rolling of the tea leaves, the cell structure is broken down which enhances the following oxidaton process.
As black tea is a recent discovery in Japan only about 300 farmers are producing Koucha throughout the country and is therefore a specialist product.
Akihiro “Akky” Kita is our president and lead farmer here at Obubu. His desire to make this tea available to the general public is the foundation of Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms. In college, Akky took up a part-time job as a farmhand in Wazuka, and fell in love with the tea of this region. He made the decision then to leave college and devote his time to mastering the art of tea farming. Recognizing the need for independent farmers like himself to spread the joy of drinking Japanese tea, he travels each year during the winter off-season to bring Japanese tea to people all over the world.