Ever heard of “post-fermentation tea”?
Teas can be divided into non-fermented, also known as green tea, and fermented tea. Known as semi- and fully-fermented teas, oolong tea and black tea, among others, are made by fermenting green tea once. On the other hand, there are also post-fermented teas where mature tealeaves are fermented twice. One such tea is Chinese Pu-Erh tea. In Japan, however, it’s so rare that it’s currently only made in four locations: Toyama’s Toyama kurocha (bata bata-cha), Tokushima’s Awa bancha, Kochi’s Goishi-cha and Saijo’s Tengu kurocha.
The production method of Tengu kurocha is unique.
Rather than new sprouts, mature, ripened tealeaves are used. At the time of harvest, the tea trees are taller than the average adult.
Instead of plucking the tealeaves, whole branches are cut at knee height with clippers. It doesn’t look like they’re harvesting tea, right?
The branches are then washed and steamed. As this is done, the large leaves drop off the branches.
These leaves are then put into wooden boxes for the first fermentation stage (aerobic fermentation).
After 4 or 5 days, the state of fermentation is checked, and the leaves are removed from the boxes and rubbed by hand. Before being fermented further by lacto-acid bacteria, the mixture is put into plastic bags, and the air removed. This is the second fermentation stage. After this process, the tealeaves are dried and sterilized in Japan’s strong midsummer sunshine. The product is then finished.
As the known effects of the tea differ from others, a study is being conducted at Ehime University to find out if it can be used to combat Japanese cedar allergy.
A tea called Ishizuchi kurocha had been made in Saijo city since ancient times, but as there was only one person left making the tea, a local life research group succeeded the techniques and created Tengu kurocha.
Although I say they ‘succeeded the techniques’, apparently nothing went well at first and they suffered many hardships!
Coming from Setouchi’s mountainous region, Tengu Kurocho, a tea that can be only produced in small quantities because of water shortages, trouble with succession, etc., is truly legendary.
Though mild, it has a slight bitterness that could become a habit, and whether made in a small pot like regular tea or brewed with cold water, it’s delicious!
Do have a try!
Establishments offering Tengu kurocha
- Saijo city JA Shusou Direct Sales “Shu-chan Hiroba”: http://www.ja-syuso.or.jp/syuchan/ (Japanese)
- Qkamura Setouchi Toyo: http://www.qkamura.or.jp/toyo/ (Japanese)
- Social Welfare Corporation Saijo City Himi Welfare Association, Peace Establishment for the Handicapped
Tel/Fax: 0897-57-9003 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Matsuyama expressway Ishizuchisan Service Area
Setouchi Finder Photo-writer: Toshiyasu Uchida
> There are only 2 places like this in Japan! This is a composite beach resort where you can experience astronomical observation! / Hiroshima Prefectural Beach and Kure City Astronomical Observatory Hall (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
> Let’s enjoy walking and the great scenery of the Setouchi Inland Sea on Ikuchi-jima Island on the Shimanami Kaido! /A National Treasure, the three-story pagoda of Kojo-ji temple and the townscape of Setoda (Onomichi-shi, Hiroshima)
> Experience the ancient way of salt making on Kamikamagari-jima Island on the Tobishima Kaido in Aki-nada! / Kamagari Ancient Salt Making Remains Restoration Pavilion & “Amabito-no-Moshio” (Kure-shi, Hiroshima)
See more articles about "Gourmet"GourmetList
Kobe City Himeji City Amagasaki City Akashi City Nishinomiya City Sumoto City Ashiya City Itami City Aioi City Toyooka City Kakogawa City Ako City Nishiwaki City Takarazuka City Miki City Takasago City Kawanishi City Ono City Mita City Kasai City Sasayama City Yabu City Tanba City Minamiawaji City Asago City Awaji City Shiso City Kato City Tatsuno City Inagawa Taka Inami Harima Ichikawa Fukusaki Kamikawa Taishi Kamigori Sayo Kami Shinonsen
- Okayama Pref.
- Hiroshima Pref.
- Yamaguchi Pref.
- Tokushima Pref.
- Kagawa Pref.
- Ehime Pref.