Day 3. Today I was introduced to “country side” tea. This bancha was picked by my dear friend Akiko Sugawa’s grandmother, 89 year old Kobuke Shinobu. This tea was grown in her back yard in the mountainside outside Hiroshima. Harvested by hand, she grows just enough to last until the next year; no more, no less. Unfortunately, due to her age, the jury is still out on if she will continue harvesting into her 90’s. The tea is amazing. A blend of subtle sweetness and almost oolong like floral notes. The marked marine notes of most Japanese tea is nowehere to be found. It brews great through the 4th steeping too. I was so honored to served this special tea with such a great story. Especially when I found out this years harvest may be the last. Let’s hope that is not the case.
Off to Kyushu tonight. Thanks to Takashi and Akiko Sugawa for their amazing hospitality.