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 offers a uniquely delicate floral aroma. His Kohaku Platinum is a hand-picked, full leaf version of this tea.
This Kohaku received the Grand Gold Prize in the 2014 World Green Tea Contest. Most recently (2017), it received the Grand Prize of the Japanese Tea Competition held in Paris. It has also been featured in the International Stir Tea and Coffee Magazine in an article titled, "Unusual Teas from Japan".
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
- First Steeping - Tea: 3 grams. Time: 90 sec. Water: 90C/195F, 100 ml.
- Second Steeping - Time: 60 sec.
- Third & subsequent steepings - Time: 90 sec.
- Region: Takahagi, Hidaka City, Saitama, Japan
- Production notes: 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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