RAIN & FIRE | KIRISHIMA ASATSUYU
Vibrant tea with cult following. Sweet notes of green melon and wheat grass, followed by gentle umami.
After inclement weather wrecked the 2021 harvest of this beautiful tea, the 2022 and 2023 harvests have been superb.
Origin: Kirishima, Kagoshima, Japan
GPS: 31.7ºN 130.8ºE
Grower: Hayashi Family
THE ASATSUYU CULTIVAR
Asatsuyu is a relatively old cultivar, identified in the 1950s. It is known for its vibrant green colour, relatively low astringency, and rich umami; because of its vibrancy (even when unshaded), it is sometimes called 'natural gyokuro'.
Asatsuyu's ancestors were 'zairai' trees from southern Kyushu Island.
Asatsuyu is not the most prolific of Japanese cultivars; because of this reason, it is not one of the most wide-spread cultivars.
In Kagoshima, arguably the region where it is most popular, Asatsuyu represents less than 10% of the yearly tea production.
The Hayashi family are 5th generation farmers. Over 100 years ago, the first Hayashi brought tea seeds from Shizuoka Prefecture 静岡県 - the major green tea producer of Japan. Those trees are still alive now! And they make Zairai Fukamushi. In the 1950's, the Kirishima growers were pioneers in the use of pesticides. In the 1980's, they were the first farm in the region to go organic, and have remained so since. Having inherited a historical culture of tea cultivation and production, the current generation growers are nonetheless innovative and unorthodox. They experiment with non-traditional tea production, such as various single-cultivar sencha; matcha made of special samidori leaves; and green tea paste that tastes awesome in nitro.
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