Kabusecha tea (also: “Kabuse Sencha”) is a typical Japanese (half-shaded) tea, characterized through the half-shading of the tea gardens by means of so-called “Kabuse” nets during the days/weeks before the harvest. Our Kabusecha “Soshun” (jap. “Soshun” = “early spring”) is a half-shaded Sencha tea (also: “Kabuse Sencha”) picked at the beginning of the early picking season (middle of April) coming from the region around Kagoshima, capital city of the prefecture with the same name located on the island Kyushu on the most southern tip of Japan. While due to the vicinity of the tea gardens to the still active volcano “Sakurajima” our Kabusecha Soshun crops in particularly rich soils, the mild sun of the early spring and the sooting climate of the the southern Kagoshima region, which is like tailor-made to tea cultivation, promote especially the young tea plants’ enrichment with taste, aroma and other active substances and give the Kabusecha tea from this early harvest their characteristic high yield and the unique intensive fragrance.
To further increase the quality of the tea, the tea bushes are cultivated under Kabuse nets (jap: net = kabuse) during the last (up to 3) weeks before the harvest. Unlike Gyokuro Tea, for which the tea plants are shaded for several weeks before the harvest, the Kabusecha shading method (up to 3 weeks of shading for our Kabusecha Tenko) comprises a half-shading, with ca. 50% of the sunlight being filtered out (compared to ca. 90% for Gyokuro). Therefore, Kabusecha tea is also commonly referred to as half-shaded tea. The idea behind the Kabusecha method is that of the recreation of natural conditions, i. e. a part-shading of the tea bushes as it would take place through trees and larger bushes in natural environments. The ca. 50% withdrawal of light during this period triggers activities in the tea plant that are leading to an altered composition of the ingredients with increased amounts of amino acids (e.g. Theanine) and alkaloids (e.g. Caffeine, Theophyllin) and a reduction of bitterns (e.g. Catechine), among others resulting in a higher sweetness of the tea. Also the aromatic fragrance and the deep green color of the tea are enhanced through the shading.
In order to achieve an optimal exploitation of the active ingredients and to prevent oxidation processes, the freshly picked deep green tea leaves are steamed, cooled, rolled and dried according to the characteristic procedure of Japanese green tea processing. The producer of this Kabusecha green tea, who is health and environment-friendly-certified to both Japanese and EU standards, vacuum-packages the tea immediately upon completion of the processing cycle, so that the active substances, the aromatic fragrance and the intensive taste remain preserved throughout the tea’s streamlined way to distant shores and right up to your tea cup.
Aroma- and tastewise, Kabusecha Soshun convinces with the best of two worlds, the world of light and the world of shadow.: a rich, fruity fresh aroma of the highly clear, jade-green cup and a distinctive taste characterized by sweet and nutty flavors that will please the palate long beyond the actual drinking experience. Excellently balanced taste profile, with hay notes becoming more dominant in later infusions. Very well-balanced flavor pattern, in which the hay notes become increasingly dominant with progressing infusions. Due to a slightly higher temperature applied to this teas’s drying procedure, it evaporates a particularly rich, multi-facetted and sweet fragrance, along with a velvety harmonious taste. Much ‘umami’ sweetness in the first steep, even more in a second, altogether even more velvety infusion, followed by a roller-coaster of flavors across ensuing steeps, different types of vegetables “in a hay bed”.
Preparation: Dose Kabusecha Soshun tea leaves into the teapot, pour over with water tempered according to below recommendation, let infuse and pour out into previously prepared drinking or tea cups.
Water: For the preparation of our Kabusecha tea, we recommend using as soft as possible (low lime) water of a temperature of ca. 65°C.
Teapot: Best suitable for the preparation of Japanese Sencha tea and Kabusecha tea are clay teapots (alternatively Japanese Kyusu or Chinese style teapot), but you will achieve comparably desirable results using a China bone or a glass teapot.
Dosage: While in Japan there’s a tendency to much higher dosages prevailing, a dosage of 4g tea leaves on 200ml water in our experience appears to be entirely adequate as an initial approach to the exploration of one’s own taste and dosaging preferences. The higher the dosage, the more intensive both color and taste of the resulting green tea will be.
Infusion period: with an infusion period of ca. 2 minutes for a first infusion and considerably shortened (ca. 1 minute) follow-up steeps, this Kabusecha tea will produce a range of delicious infusions with varying taste and aroma profiles. With weaking taste after several infusions, we recommend to let a last infusion infuse for an extended period again (2 minutes).
Tea cups: In Japan, Kabusecha tea is enjoyed in smaller to medium-sized teacups (“Chawan” or “Yunomi”), whose style and prefered size can be adapted to actual requirements, i.e. situation and mood.
For more information and backgrounds on Kabusecha tea and other Japanese green teas as well as other types of tea that are characteristic for Japan, please also read our pertinent article in Siam Tea Blog, providing an overview of Japan’s tea world, culture and history in a comprehensive yet understandable manner: