Wazuka Zairai Sencha

Wazuka Zairai Sencha

Regular price $20.00
  • 50 grams
  • Single Origin | Single Cultivar*
  • Ships from the United States
  • In stock, ready to ship
  • Inventory on the way

Made from 60-year old seed-grown zairai plants, cultivated without the use of pesticides or chemical fertilisers, this light-steamed sencha is vibrant and zesty, with a slight minerality and lasting finish. The combination of natural farming, Uji native zairai, light-steaming, and a delicate firing (火入 - hiire) over charcoal give this tea refreshing and classic taste

While Uji may be the most famous tea region in Kyoto, most tea sold as “Ujicha” is actually grown in the neighbouring town of Wazuka, located to the southeast, which produces almost 50% of Uji tea. Dating back to the Kamakura era, tea production in Wazuka has enjoyed an 800-year history. The tea plantations in Wazuka are located on the steep slopes of misty hills and mountains—an environment suitable for high-quality tea leaves, with cool air, short daylight hours, temperature differences between day and night, and well-drained soil. Cultivation of tea plants in such an environment takes a lot of time and effort, making it unsuitable for the methods of mass production employed in the flatlands..

Cultivar: 60 year-old Zairai

Producer: Chaen Morifuku

Harvested: May 8, 2023

Elevation: 150m

Brewing Instructions

Tea/Water Ratio

2g per 50ml of water
(.07oz per 1.7oz)

Water Temperature

80ºC (185ºF)

Brewing Time

45 seconds
(+10 seconds for subsequent infusions)

Meet the Producer

Chaen Morifuku (茶園森福)

Cultivar: 60 year-old Zairai

Confusingly, Zairai is not a cultivar, but rather a term used to refer to ‘native’ or seed-grown tea plants of unknown ancestry. In China, these types of plants are called quntizhong, and in other industries they are called landraces or heirloom varietals.

Throughout most of tea’s history, tea was grown from seed, producing genetically unique plants, each with its own taste, shape, budding time, yield, and disease resistance. Today, however, most tea is grown through clonal propagation of cultivars through cutting, producing genetically identical bushes. Zairai gardens often have higher disease resistance due to their genetic diversity, but this same diversity makes them harder to harvest, resulting in significantly reduced yield and consistency, which is why most farms in Japan switched over to cultivar production in the 20th century.

However, tea produced from Zairai bushes tends to have a deeper flavour, resulting from the deep-growing roots of the older seed-grown plants, along with the natural ‘blend’ produced by these diverse plants.

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We're working with small tea farmers who are passionate about their craft, and working towards a goal⁠—whether it's to preserve and perfect age-old traditions, to experiment and push the boundaries of Japanese tea, or to create a more sustainable and biodynamic future for the industry. 
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