1. Tea cultivar
To start the story of tea cultivar, first of all, we must understand that the tea plant is not self-pollinating.
This fact means that if tea plants are propagated by seeds, the result is natural cross pollination.
As a consequence of this cross pollination, the leaves of the individual tea plant can be different in color and shape, moreover, in taste and flavor.
On the other hand, if tea plants are clones propagated by cuttings (that is, tea cultivar), they glow almost evenly to make perfect hedges and their leaves are quite similar.
These facts ensure the taste and aroma of tea cultivars to be very clear and refined.
Nowadays, tea cultivars cover about 98 % of all tea plantations in Japan and surprisingly Yabukita occupies more than 75% of them.
2. Yabukita tea
In 1908, a Japanese tea cultivar, Yabukita, was established.
Hikosaburo Sugiyama singled it out by selecting good quality plants in Shizuoka prefecture and cloning them.
Since then, the number of tea farms which plant Yabukita has rapidly increased and now it occupies more than 75% of the tea plantation.
Most of them are processed as Sencha green tea.
Although the word Yabukita itself means the name of a Japanese tea cultivar, many people believe it means Sencha itself.
Yabukita also has a beautiful appearance and carries a sweet aroma just like mists from Japanese mountains.
Thanks to Yabukita, the quantity of tea harvest as well as its quality has dramatically grown. But this uniformity has brought some problems:
– the lack of variation in taste and aroma,
– the lack of workforces during the harvest time (overlapping of peak harvest time).
4) New movements
Nowadays, the movements to produce new cultivars and establish single estate of Japanese teas are becoming more active.
Single estate teas enable us to enjoy the distinctive taste and flavor just like single vineyard wine.
But it is noticeable that they mix Yabukita with other cultivars in many cases.
After all, Yabukita is a unmoved standard for Japanese tea.