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Tea: Kukicha (green tea)

Grower: The Kinezuka Family

Teamaker: Ayumi Kinezuka

Origin: Nakayama Village in Fujieda: Shizuoka, Japan

Elevation: 350m (1150ft)

Cultivation: Natural (Organic, but no certification)

Harvest Date: Spring 2018

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The Tea

Kukicha, literally "stem tea", is made from the stems of green tea leaves. This particular version is made with flavorful first flush leaves, with the stems carefully separated during the production process. The tea is crafted from the popular Yabukita cultivar. The resulting tea is made completely of small but whole stems, producing a brilliantly bright green appearance and a bright, rich aroma. The flavor is sweet and grassy with fresh citrus notes and a hint of seaweed, with very little bitterness and a very refreshing aftertaste.

The Grower

The Kinezuka Family has been growing tea with all-natural methods for almost 40 years. Their farm and business, NaturaliTea, is headed by the father, Toshiaki Kinezuka. He is regarded as a pioneer in Japan for all-natural tea agriculture. The family's philosophy is to connect people, agriculture, and the environment in a harmonious way. NaturaliTea is now being led by Toshiaki's eldest daughter, Ayumi Kinezuka. Her passion is to keep Japanese tea traditions alive, while also gaining knowledge from other tea traditions. She studied black tea production in Sri Lanka. She works alongside her father, mother, younger brother, and younger sister on the farm. Their teas are grown at an altitude of 350m (1150ft), with the Yabukita cultivar.