Japanese Tea Cultivars : A Short Guide


Currently, there are over 150 tea cultivars in Japan. This guide has described the cultivars that Akky-san and farmers associated with Obubu grow, which, at the moment, are 15 cultivars + Zairai. It also includes additional information about Obubu, Wazuka, the history of cultivars in Japan, and their categories and characteristics accompanied by a carefully tailored selection of photos from our archives. But that is not all! Obubu manages 26 tea fields in Wazuka, therefore, this guide has included where each cultivar grows and which Obubu tea is produced from each cultivar: this way you can do your own tasting comparisons and get to know our beloved Chagenkyo.

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“All tea comes from the Camellia Sinensis plant, which has two main varieties for tea production: var. assamica and var. sinensis. And then, within those varieties, we have plants with unique traits, i.e., cultivated variety. A cultivar is a group of plants that have been bred to achieve desirable characteristics, thus, the plants share identical genetical compositions inherited from their mother plant. Cultivars can be suited to various weather conditions (frost-hardy or early sprouting, for example), or they can be cultivated for specific flavours or aromas. Some cultivars are habitually used for a particular type of tea – for example, sencha (good for open field cultivation) or matcha (shaded cultivation). However, you can make any kind of tea (green, black, oolong, etc) from any cultivar; it depends on how the tea is processed after harvesting.”



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