Grown organically in the city of Kirishima in Kagoshima Prefecture, handpicked, then refined at our finishing factory in Uji, Kyoto.
Organic cultivation: Cultivation of the tea plants was conducted according to JAS organic standards. These standards prohibit the use pesticides and synthetic fertilizers in cultivation and require the product to be GMO-free. We buy this product as a certified organic tea, but we are not certified organic repackers, so the final product is "not organic".
Shading: Started on April 7, 2015, and shaded for 4-5 days. This could technically make it a Kabusecha, but usually we shade kabusecha for 10-14 days, so we are calling this a sencha.
Harvest: Harvested over two days: April 11, and April 12. After each picking by hand, the harvest is processed into sencha, and then combined into one lot, and refined.
Post-processing: The finishing factory usually conducts the refining (separating of stems and dust from the leaves), but because this was an experiment at the farm, it was conducted at the farm. The finishing factory though roasted the leaves lightly to remove extra moisture from the leaves and to impart a delicate rounding of flavor. This extra heating also helps the leaves to retain its flavor longer.
Usually when handpicking, only the first bud and first two leaves are plucked to produce a high grade tea. In this case, the commercial farmer picked up to the fourth leaf, and the larger leaves were filtered out to produce this product. The leaf characteristic is its long and flat shape, and is called "atama" (頭 literally "head") or "atama-yanagi" (頭柳 literally "head willow") or sometimes simply "yanagi" (柳 or "willow") because the shape resembles a willow leaf. Usually made from lower quality leaves, it is very rare to see a high quality leaf such as this.
First steeping for umami flavor: Tea: 5g. Time: 2 min. Water: 60C/140F, 120 ml.
Second steeping for sencha flavor:Time: 20 sec. Water: 80C/176F, 240 ml.
Third steeping for sencha flavor:Time: 40 sec. Water: 80C/176F, 240 ml.