An award winning cultivar, Kirari 31 has a wonderful umami and fruity balance, with long lingering sweetness.
The word “kabuse” means to cover. Before plucking, tea bushes are sheltered from sunlight in order to to increase their theanine content, reduce astringency and enhance aroma.
This years Kirari 31 Kabusecha from Mr. Takaki is an absolute treat for the palate. Mr. Takaki is most known for his prize winning Gyokuro, so we are always excited to try out his Kabusechas which are more balanced in umami and freshness due to the shorter shading period. This Kirari 31 is one of the more complex Kabuse we’ve tried, where the shading brings out the fruity notes of the tea, on top of the mild umami. The tea has aromas of raspberry, seaweed and mango and leaves a pleasant lasting sweetness in the mouth. There’s very mild astringency in later brews which transforms into a lingering green apple flavor.
Kirari 31 is a very interesting and modern cultivar, having been registered in 2015 as the offspring of Saemidori and Sakimidori. In our most recent trip to Japan we noticed this cultivar being grown more than in past years, even going as far as to winning this year’s New Wave Nihon Cha competition. This cultivar is not known for its pest-resistance, but is more so grown for the high quality flavor and feeling when shaded. The word “kabuse” means to cover. Before plucking, tea bushes are sheltered from sunlight in order to to increase their theanine content, reduce astringency and enhance aroma.
Our Kirari 31 Kabuse was made at the remote mountain valley “Hoshino”(means “star field”) by Mr. Takaki. Due to the lower temperatures in Hoshino mountain valley, the harvest begins about a month later than in lower and flatter cultivation areas such as Shizuoka. Similar to parts of Taiwan, the rainy misty weather and large temperature difference between morning and evening causes the teas to produce more amino acids and catechins as a way of protecting itself from these conditions, which in turn produces more intense and complex aromas.