In refining his shincha tea leaf harvest, tea farmer Tomizawa-san removes the stems of the leaves. These stems are gathered up to create shira-ore, called kukicha in other parts of Japan, or leaf stem tea. The stems have an relatively more sweet flavors and less astringency than the leaf itself and make great iced teas.
Tea: 3-5 grams
Time: 1 minute
Water temperature: 70C/158F degrees
Water amount: 1 cup
Resteep at hotter temperature up to 3 times
Use hotter temperature & longer steeping time for a more astringent tea, use cold water or ice steeping for a very sweet tea.
Name: Kumamoto Shira-ore Leaf Stem Tea
Japanese name: しらおれ茶
Ingredients: Green tea
Harvest: Early May
Notes: Slightly longer than regular steaming but retains shape well, so not quite fukamushi (deep steamed). Leaf stems from this production are then filter out along with small tea leaves to create this stem tea.
Region: Mashiki, Kumamoto
The Tomizawa Tea Garden has over 85 years of tea farming history in Kumamoto Prefecture, and have received many famous tea awards in Japan. The family grows tea with a lot of sunlight and Kumamoto’s natural ground water famous for its clean and beautiful taste.
In April 2016, Mashiki, Kumamoto Prefecture affected by the Kumamoto Earthquakes with main shock at magnitude 7.0. The earthquakes have resulted in 48 deaths, 3000 injuries, and nearly 200,000 people evacuated to shelters in the aftermath.
Tomizawa Tea garden also had been affected by this earthquake losing their tea shop. However, they now are trying to recover their tea business and will harvest the 2016 spring shincha.