This Wazuka Guricha comes from Wazuka Valley in Kyoto prefecture and is from Mr. Wataru. He is a promising farmer of a younger generation of farmers in Wazuka, opposite the ridge of Matsuda (another of our favorite Japanese tea growers). Wataru-san is a college graduate and applies novel approaches to making tea, blending Japanese tradition with modern methods. This Guricha is made from the short-period shaded Saemidori cultivar, which has a strong umami. In order to preserve this feature, he’s opted to omit the last step in traditional sencha making, rolling, which can increase the body of the tea but reduce its umami. The recommendation from Mr. Wataru is to enjoy two steepings. The first is refreshing with vegetal notes, whereas the second will become much more bold.
What is Guricha?
Guricha (Steamed Curly tea) is a kind of Japanese green tea found mainly in Kyushu, the southern island of Japan. Guricha follows a lot of the same processing that Sencha does, except for the last rolling, which is how most Senchas get their needle-like shape. This last rolling’s purpose is to damage the structure of the tea leaf, so without this process, Guricha has a lighter taste to it than standard Senchas.