Kureinai - Wa-Koucha


Kureinai is the Japanese word for Crimson. While Koucha translates to deep red tea, or black tea as it is known in the west, the Chinese Character at the beginning of Koucha alone translates to Kurenai. The multi-dimensional reddish brown hue this tea gives is why we couldn't stray towards anything else but the beauty that lies within for the name of this tea.  

A rare export from Fukuoka - a fruity, floral, malty blend of Japanese grown and processed black tea and hand-picked cherry tree petals - will change everything you thought you knew about black tea. Most people associate black tea with a big, punchy, tannic Earl Grey, English Breakfast, or Assam. This isn't that. This is familiar, but at the same time, unlike anything else you've tasted - delicate notes and aromas, and featuring a silky mouthfeel with a light, balanced tannin structure - a true ripper.

The Facts

   Notes: Honey, Cherry, Bee Pollen

   Grade: Premium

   Region: Yame, Fukuoka

   Harvest: 2023

   Picking: Machine-Picked

Further Reading

Black tea is processed differently than green tea. Whereas green tea is heated quickly after picking to limit any kind of oxidation, black tea production involves allowing the teas to fully oxidize and lightly ferment before they are dried.

In Japan, there is a specific designation for black tea produced from tea grown in native soil (wa-koucha). Since black tea makes a tiny fraction of all tea exports from Japan, what they do produce is tailor made for the tea enthusiast - the person who wants to enjoy the complexity, sweetness, and unique make-up of Japan's terroir and bear witness to the love and care from the farmers. 

Harashima Masashi began working at his family tea company in 1983 after 33 successful years of business since its founding by his grandfather, Chiyokichi, in 1950. Harashima-san and his wife, Eri, have evolved the farming practices to meet EU certified organic regulations. In his own words:

We employ a unique farming method using hand-picked fermented organic fertilizers (bokashi fertilizers) and adjusting each step according to the specific weather conditions of the season or the year, in order to achieve the highest standards.
We hope to present a new way of life that brings tea into our daily life. Our vision is to create a new lifestyle with tea as we carry out workshops that teach the way of tea-making, as well as carry out farm visits for tourists to our mountainous village. 

The family also runs a stunning tea shop near the Yabe river, where they offer light fare and snacks served alongside their teas. 

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