Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Yamecha

Yamecha is a type of tea produced in Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan. 

Yamecha makes up only about 3% of Japan's green tea production and about 45% of Japan's Gyokuro production on an annual basis. 

It is highly prized and one of the first regions in Japan to grow tea. 

Yamecha is high in flavour-producing compounds such as theanine, glutamic acid, and arginine. 

Many tests on tea cultivated in this area have shown to produce a strong, sweet body. The natural Gyokuro produced here has been prized since ancient times. 

Yamecha Gyokuro makes up about 45% of all Gyokuro production in Japan. 

As a result, its growers have control over the average price of Gyokuro. 

Yamecha Gyokuro is well known in Japan for its high quality.

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Gyokuro

Gyokuro is one of the most expensive types of sencha available in Japan.

The greatest appellation of Gyokuro in terms of both quality and quantity is Yamecha, which is produced in Yame in Fukuoka Prefecture. 

More than 40% of Gyokuro is produced in Yame, and in the national tea jury in August 2007, Yamecha held all the ranking positions from first to 26th as the best Gyokuro.

Gyokuro (Japanese: 玉 露, "jade dew") is a type of shaded green tea from Japan.

It differs from the standard Sencha (a classic unshaded green tea) in being grown under the shade rather than the full sun. 

Gyokuro is shaded longer than Kabuse tea (lit., "covered tea"). 

While Gyokuro is shaded for approximately three to four weeks, Kabuse-cha is shaded for approximately one week.

Gyokuro is normally prepared differently from other green teas.

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Preparation

Use between 1-2 g per 30 ml (or 1 oz) of water.

Use a temperature range of 50 °C–60 °C (122 °F–140 °F) (instead of 65 °C–75 °C (149 °F–167 °F) for sencha).

For high-end Gyokuro, consider a lower temperature, such as 40 °C (104 °F).

Then for each additional steeping, increase the temperature by 5.5 °C (10 °F), until the last steeping, which may be increased by up to 11 °C (20 °F).

Steep between 2-3 minutes, then 30-60 seconds for each additional steep.

The larger quantity of tea and lower-temperature allows for approximately 5-6 steepings.

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Since Gyokuro is typically steeped at a lower temperature than most other teas, it is common practice to preheat the teaware to ensure a more steady brewing temperature during steeping time and to prolong the warmth of the lower-temperature tea.

One standard method is to heat the water at a higher temperature, pour it into and between the various teaware, and finally into the brewing vessel containing the tea leaves. When done properly, by the time the water has transferred between the various teaware and into the brewing vessel it has cooled to appropriate temperature and the teaware has been warmed. One reason for the lower steeping temperature is to preserve the subtle and delicate sweet notes in most Gyokuro.

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Example Steeping

Using a premium Yamecha Gyokuro with 1.1 grams per ounce.

1st Steep: 120 s at 140 °F (60 °C).

2nd Steep: 30 s at 150 °F (~65 °C).

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Sencha

Sencha is a type of Japanese Ryokucha (Green tea) which is prepared by infusing the processed whole tea leaves in hot or cold water. This is as opposed to Matcha, powdered Japanese green tea, where the green tea powder is mixed with hot water and therefore the leaf itself is included in the beverage. Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan.

Among the types of Japanese green tea prepared by infusion, “Sencha" is distinguished from such specific types as Gyokuro in that it is shaded for a shorter time or not at all. It is the most popular tea in Japan, representing about 80 percent of the tea produced in the country.

The flavour depends upon the season and place where it is produced, but shincha, or "new tea" from the first flush of the year, is considered the most delicious. Tea-picking in Japan begins in the south, gradually moving north with the spring warmth.

During the winter, tea plants store nutrients, and the tender new leaves which sprout in the spring contain concentrated nutrients.

Shincha represents these tender new leaves. 

The shincha season, depending upon the region of the plantation, is from early April to late May, specifically the 88th day after Setsubun which usually falls around February 4, a cross-quarter day traditionally considered the start of spring in Japan. Setsubun or Risshun is the beginning of the sexagenary cycle; therefore, by drinking Sencha one can enjoy a year of good health.

The ideal colour of the Sencha beverage is a greenish golden colour. 

Depending upon the temperature of the water in which it is decocted, the flavour will be different, adding to the appeal of Sencha.

With relatively more temperate water, it is relatively mellow; with hot water, it is more astringent.

Some varieties expand when steeped to resemble leaf vegetable greens in smell, appearance, and taste.

The tea production process by which Sencha and other Japanese Ryokucha are created differs from Chinese green teas, which are initially pan-fired. 

Japanese green tea is first steamed for between 15–20 seconds to prevent oxidization of the leaves. Then, the leaves are rolled, shaped, and dried. This step creates the customary thin cylindrical shape of the tea.Finally, the leaves are sorted and divided into differing quality groups.

The initial steaming step imparts a difference in the flavour between Chinese and Japanese green tea, with Japanese green tea having a more vegetal, almost grassy flavour (some taste seaweed-like). Infusions from Sencha and other green teas that are steamed (like most common Japanese green teas) are also greener in colour and slightly more bitter than Chinese-style green teas.

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Types

  • Jô Sencha (上煎茶), superior sencha
  • Toku Jô Sencha (特上煎茶), extra superior sencha
  • Hachijuhachiya Sencha (八十八夜), Sencha harvested after 88 days (respectively nights) after spring begins (Risshun)
  • Kabuse Sencha or Kabusecha (かぶせ茶), covered Sencha
  • Fukamushi or Fukamushicha (深蒸し), deeply steamed Sencha – 1–2 minutes
  • Shincha (新茶) or Ichibancha (一番茶), first-picked Sencha of the year

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

Shincha

Shincha (新茶), "new tea", represents the first month's harvest of Sencha. Basically, it is the same as Ichibancha (一番茶), "the first-picked tea", and is characterized by its fresh aroma and sweetness.

"Ichibancha" distinguishes “Shincha" from both “Nibancha" ("the second-picked tea") and “Sanbancha" ("the third-picked tea").  Use of the term “Shincha" makes emphatically clear that this tea is the year's earliest, the first tea of the season.

Besides the fresh aroma of the young leaves, Shincha is characterized by its relatively low content of bitter catechin and caffeine, and relatively high content of amino acid.

Shincha is available only for a limited time. The earliest batch, from southern Japan, comes on the market around late April through May.

It is prized for its high vitamin content, sweetness, and grassy flavour with resinous aroma and minimal astringency.

Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan 

Kabusecha

Kabusecha (冠茶) is Sencha grown in the shade to increase amino acids, such as theanine, which contribute to its distinctive flavor. About a week before the tea leaf buds are picked in the spring, the plantation is covered with a screen to cut out the direct sunlight. This shading produces a milder tea than standard sencha. The shaded tea known as gyokuro differs from kabusecha in that it is shaded for a longer period: about 20 days.

Special nets (kabuse) are hung over the plants to obtain a natural shade without completely blocking out sunlight. Kabusecha sencha has a mellower flavour and more subtle colour than Sencha grown in direct sunlight.

 Yamecha - Highest Quality Green Tea Producing area in Japan

All of our Yamecha green tea products use 100% genuine, authentic Yame green tea leaves or powder, made in Japan.

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