Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms’ Hachiju-Hachiya | Tea Review

by Tea in Spoons

In my most recent Kyoto Obubu Farms’ Tea Club box, this special sencha arrived and I wanted to share it!

Description: “The finest harvest of Sencha from the 88th day of the traditional Japanese calendar. A cup full of bright-tasting grassy notes with a delightful astringency.”

Instructions: 5 grams of tea | Infusion 1 – 60°C, 1-2 minutes | Infusion 2 – 80°C, 20 seconds | Infusion 3 – 100°C, 20 seconds

Review: I’m a member of the Obubu Tea Club. It is a quarterly subscription box that delivers fresh tea straight from Wakuza, Japan! The boxes shipped out in March, May, September, and December. I always love getting the boxes because it reminds me of my time as an intern there.

When I saw this tea I knew I had to showcase it. As stated on the Obubu website:

“The 88th day of traditional Japanese calendar, which falls right around May 1st or 2nd, is famous as an important date for farmers, and especially tea farmers. For several hundred years, the 88th day has been considered the best day to start the spring tea harvest. Those tender new shoots are prized, and used for the highest grades of sencha.”

This specific tea was picked on May 2 of this year, therefore I wanted to taste it as quickly as possible. The brewing method I used is the recommendations from the newsletter that came with this box. The main idea of the method is to increase the water temperatures and bring out different properties of the tea. The method requires pouring water from one vessel to another to cool it down. I like this because it means there is no need for thermometers or a veritable kettle. This is also how teas were showcased during tea tours!

The tea came in a small brown craft pouch with 5 grams of pre-measured tea. The dry leaves were a dark emerald forest green colour. Most of the leaves were a nice long needle shape with some smaller leaves. They had a vegetal, roasted, chestnut, and steamed vegetable smell.

Infusion 1 (1 minute, 60°C): The recommendations suggested between 1 to 2 minutes. The difference comes down to the overall strength of the tea profile. The liquor was a bright highlighter yellow with a greenish undertone and a vegetal, spinach, and fresh cut grass smell.

With a 1 minute infusion, the taste was vegetal, grassy, sweet, umami with some astringency and a lingering pucker of bitterness. The liquor was reminiscent of spring. With a 2 minute infusion, the vegetal and umami flavours were much more intense. There was also a hint of mineral and bitterness with the liquor leaving some dryness on the tongue. The stronger profile reminded me of a Kabuse Sencha (shaded sencha).

Infusion 2 (20 seconds, 80°C): The flavour was much stronger despite the shorter brew time because of the increase in water temperature. The profile leaned vegetal, grassy, and mineral with some astringency and bitterness at the tip of the tongue.

Infusion 3 (20 seconds, 100°C): For the last infusion, boiling water was poured directly onto the leaves. The liquor was mostly bitter with hints of vegetal and roasted notes.

The wet leaves were a light olive green colour and had small broken pieces. It had steamed vegetables, and a grassy, and roasted smell.

It should be noted that one reason this brewing method is used is to showcase the wide range of flavours of Japanese green teas. That being said, I personally enjoy the first infusion since it was on the sweeter side. I am not a fan of bitterness in teas, so I paired the tea with berries and a strawberry jam cake roll which cut down a lot of the bitterness and enhanced the vegetal and grassy notes. This is a nice tea with some umami alongside vegetal, grassy, mineral and bitterness (4/5 rating).

  • Type: Green tea
  • Origin: Wazuka, Japan
  • Caffeine: Unknown
  • Ingredients: Green tea
  • Company: Kyoto Obubu Tea Farms 

The question of the post: Have you had Hachiju-Hachiya before?

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Tea in Spoons is where I share my love of teas through tea reviews, tea travel, tea tips, information, and more. New tea adventure every Thursday!