In this article, I’m going to introduce “Yutakamidori”, the second largest cultivar in Japan.
Characteristics of “Yutakamidori”
Yutakamidori has the following characteristics.
Resistant to diseases but vulnerable to cold
Although Yutakamidori is resistant to mold diseases such as anthracnose, it is susceptible to frost damages and vulnerable to cold climate, so it is grown mainly in the warm Kyushu region.
It has a high fertility and a high yield, so it is a tea cultivar that is profitable for farmers in the warm and frost-resistant areas.
The production area is mainly Kagoshima Prefecture.
Although Yutakamidori accounts for only 5% of the total production in Japan, it accounts for 30% in Kagoshima Prefecture and is a very popular cultivar.
They are often cultivated in southern countries because they are sensitive to cold, and they are often cultivated in Miyazaki Prefecture other than Kagoshima.
Kagoshima is now known for its delicious tea, but there was a time when it had a bad reputation as “The tea in Kagoshima is cheap and not so good.” It is said that Yutakamidori overturned that image and brought Kagoshima to the famous tea production area.
Early harvest time
Yutakamidori is an early ripening cultivar with an early harvest time and picked more than 5 days earlier than Yabukita. Generally, new tea is picked on Hachiju-Hachiya (the 88th day), counting from Risshun (the first day of spring). Yutakamidori is called Hashiri-Shincha (Early-First picked tea) because it is picked on the 77th day after Risshun. Yutakamidori is distributed throughout Japan at the end of April, a little earlier than other teas.
Taste of “Yutakamidori”
The southern part of the country, including Kagoshima, where Yutakamidori is grown, tea leaves get more bitter and astringent due to the long hours of sunlight. In order to prevent this, the tea field is covered with a black cover from a week before harvest to block out the sunlight. This method reduces bitterness and astringency.
In addition, by lengthening the time of “steaming” which is the production process of Sencha (Steeped green tea), it becomes strong and mild taste.
Yutakamidori is a cultivar with attractive balance of astringency and sweetness, rich and deep tastes, and beautiful light blue color.