Expertly crafted to be more oxidized than withered green tea, but not nearly as oxidized as most oolongs, Bizenya's Master Tea Craftsman Keiichi Shimizu's Kohaku Platinum will take you on a journey of new aromatic sensations.
This specific version is a single cultivar one, made from the rare okumukashi cultivar
This tea is deliciously sweet; take a first sip, swallow, then breathe out slowly through you nose to taste the aroma of flowers in your throat. In comparison to the original Kohaku, Kohaku Platinum is a richer experience.
The Kohaku Platinum was winner of the Grand Prize in the 2019-2020 Japanese Tea Selection held in Paris. Check out the scenes from the competition and award ceremony here (in a mix of French and Japanese!). Shimizu-san appears at 0:59.
Kohaku is produced by withering (ichou 萎凋) hand-picked tea leaves from Shimizu-san's private tea garden to create the floral aroma. The secret of the aroma comes in part from the thicker leaves but also from the process of withering, in which the harvested tea leaves are carefully withered to enhance their scent.
Harvested leaves are withered in the sun then withered further indoors
The withered leaves are then pan fired using a method known as kamairi oolong tea manufacturing (釜炒り製烏龍茶製法) on specialized Taiwanese tea processing equipment. Finally, they are green roasted using the basket-firing method.
Photos show pan-firing and rolling steps of production
What’s different in the platinum version? The Kohaku Platinum tea leaves are all hand-picked at Shimizu-san’s own tea garden. Because the tea leaves are hand picked, you will find the tea leaves to be quite large - with thick tea leaves and long stems.
- First Steeping - Tea: 3 grams. Time: 90 sec. Water: 90C/195F, 100 ml.
- Second Steeping - Time: 60 sec.
- Third & subsequent steepings - Time: 90 sec.
- Cultivars: Okumukashi (Bizenya)
- Harvest: Spring
- Region: Takahagi, Hidaka City, Saitama, Japan
- Production notes: Hand-picked, grown without pesticides.
- Notes: In Japanese, Shimizu-san promotes this as a slightly oxidized tea that is neither green nor oolong. We have decided to use the term "green oolong tea". In addition, Bihakko 微発酵 literally means "slightly fermented" -- fermentation was thought to be the process of creating oolong and black teas in the past; we now know that the process is actually enzymatic oxidization like the browning of an apple after you slice it.
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