This competition grade saemidori cultivar gyokuro from Yame, Fukuoka, was handpicked and micro-batch processed by tea farmer Masahiro Kuma for the purpose of submitting to competition. The field used is the same winning field that produced 2017's 71st All Japan Tea Competition, Gyokuro Category winning gyokuro. His winning gyokuro submission in 2017 was the only tea that received a perfect 200 out of 200 points
The name "Tenkaichi" means "number one under the heavens" and is used by many Japanese tea brands as their top gyokuro. But in Kuma-san's case in 2017, his gyokuro was truly the top in Japan, and fulfilled his son's Tanabata wish: "ocha de ichiban" -- "to be number one in tea" (Tanabata is the July 7th festival in which children place their wishes on bamboo branches, see little Kuma-san's wish in the photos).
Another interesting bit of trivia is that Kuma-san and our other Gyokuro specialist Akio Kurihara are high school classmates and frequently compete against each other. In 2017, there were 100 entries and of the top 30, 24 were from Yame, Fukuoka, 4 from Kyoto, and 2 from Shizuoka. The saemidori cultivar also made up 28 of the top 30 entries.
Ingredients: Green tea
Harvest: April 22, 2018
Region: Yame, Fukuoka
Notes: Shaded for 20-days prior to handpicked harvest and processed as a micro-batch.
Update: this 2018 batch won the bronze medal prize, ranked 22nd nationwide.