Head tea master Masahiro Kuma (久間正大) is a third-generation tea farmer who sees producing Dento Hon Gyokuro as a year-long bet, requiring months of dedicated work in the hope that the spring harvest will yield delicious tea. His goal is to one day make tea that is more than just ‘delicious’, a tea that will move people’s hearts.
Overall operations at Kumaen are headed by Kazumi Nakatani (中谷一美), the fourth generation granddaughter of a tea farmer whose goal is to spread the deliciousness of Japanese tea and Yamecha all over the world.
Founded over 100 years ago, Yamecha Kumaen produces gyokuro, sencha, matcha, and wakoucha in Joyomachi area of Yame in Fukuoka. Kumaen is known for their exceptional Yame Dento Hon Gyokuro, a style of gyokuro that must follow strict, traditional guidelines, such as honzu straw shading and hand-picking. Their Dento Hon Gyokuro consistently wins many awards, with their 2017 harvest even receiving 1st place in the Gyokuro division of the National Tea Competition 2017, with a full score of 200 points.
In addition to the ubiquitous Yabukita, they also grow Saemidori, Samidori, Okumidori, Okuyutaka, Tsuyuhikari, Asatsuyu, Hikari-tsuyu, and Kirari 31 for sencha, tencha, and gyokuro production. They also produce wakoucha using the Benifuki and Benihikari cultivars.