Our Organic Wakoucha is grown by Iizuka-san, a passionate 3rd generation tea farmer. His family is a pioneer of organic tea farming in Japan, having started using organic farming techniques nearly 50 years ago. Since the best wakoucha comes from the 2nd harvest which is the time of year when the tea plants are hardest hit by pests and because wakoucha has to wait for a year to develop its best flavor, large quantities of this premium Organic Wakoucha are hard to come by.
Bring filtered or spring water to 212°F. Add 1 tsp of tea leaves to an 8oz cup. Pour boiling water over the tea leaves and let steep 4 minutes.
While the Benihomare cultivar, which is the first Japanese black tea cultivar, was discovered in 1908, the roots of black tea in the country can actually be traced further back in the country’s history.
During the 19th century, Japan’s top two exports were silk and green tea. The Americans, particularly, had taken a liking to Japanese green tea. However, black tea still dominated the Western market, so the Japanese government decided to get into the black tea trade in an effort to boost exports.
In 1874, the government invited Chinese tea experts to train Japanese farmers on black tea production. However, the end product proved to be inadequate for the market so it was decided that more comprehensive research was needed. A year later, government representatives led by Motokichi Tada were sent to China and India to learn more about the different aspects of black tea production, including cultivation, processing methods, and machinery.
By 1877, Tada returned to Japan armed with new knowledge and seeds ideal for black tea cultivation. One of these seeds later spawned the first Japanese black tea cultivar, the Benihomare cultivar.