Let’s learn about “Yabukita”.
Almost all Japanese know this name.
But many of them don’t know what it exactly means.
Different from Matcha or Sencha, Yabukita is not a name of classification (tea).
It’s the name of a tea cultivar.
1. What’s Tea cultivar?
To know about the tea cultivar, first of all, we must understand that the tea plant is not self-pollinating.
Therefore, if tea plants are propagated by seeds, the result is natural cross pollination.
Cross pollination makes the leaves of each tea plant different in color and shape, moreover, in taste and flavor.
On the other hand, if tea plants are clones propagated by cuttings, they glow almost evenly to make perfect hedges and their leaves are quite similar.
These kinds of tea plants are tea cultivar.
As a result, the taste and aroma can be very clear and refined.
Nowadays, tea cultivars cover about 98 % of all tea plantations in Japan and surprisingly Yabukita tea occupies more than 75% of them.
2. about Yabukita
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 into Sencha.
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 this tea cultivar, 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, this cultivar is a unmoved standard for Japanese tea.