Matcha WAZUKA is a hyper-premium matcha from the Hori family farm, situated just southeast of Uji, in Wazuka—a historied tea making town home to some 300 tea making families (and just 3,000 people). Here, Megumi Hori (Ui-chan), her mother, and her sister run the only women-owned matcha farm in the area. After the passing of Ui's father, the Hori family received countless offers to sell the farm; it was believed a family of 3 women couldn't operate the garden. This matcha is their statement to the contrary.
This lot is produced with plants over 50 years old of the early-budding asanoka cultivar, a cross between yabukita and a Chinese cultivar (hiramizu #1). Less often seen in matcha production, asanoka tea plants make sweet, expressive teas, and are typically reserved for shincha, sencha, or gyokuro making. In typical Hori fashion, the family planted a small lot of these trees specifically for tencha cultivation. Early each spring, the trees are shaded for 20-30 days (weather depending), machine-harvested, processed to tencha by Ui's sister within a few hours, and put into cold-storage until the local chashi ("tea blender") uses her tea in a matcha blend or, in our case, the asanoka tencha is pulled for stone-milling into our unblended matcha. We mill in small batches (5-10 kg) and have the tea packed on-site in Uji to ensure perfect freshness.
MATCHA WAZUKA comes to us after several years of producer vetting and drinking countless grams of lot samples. The norm in matcha production is for centralized production facilities to buy raw product from area farmers, blend and finish to matcha, and then sell to major or boutique tea brands. There's nothing inherently wrong with this model—but it can limit the expression of terroir and producer mastery in matcha as the unique characteristics of material and processing are lost inside a blend. We strongly prefer preserving the handwork of our producers in any given tea—Ui's historic farm and unique process are present in the finished matcha. They're what make this lot so very special.
Regularly priced at over 2USD per gram, Matcha WAZUKA is traceable down to the row of tea trees where the tencha grew, and defies the Japanese standard of regional factory blending. This lot is the peak of Ui's output, and an exemplar of old world Uji matcha making (with a modernist twist). Most importantly, it's the best tasting matcha we've ever had. Please suspend in cooler water, and prepare with an appropriate chasen.
Though not certified organic, Matcha WAZUKA passes our 3rd party clean farming test with flying colors every time we have a fresh batch milled. The Hori family uses natural fertilizers made from vegetable and fish byproducts; MATCHA WAZUKA is synthetic agrochemical-free, but not certified organic. Every lot we import is sent to independent labs to be tested for a wide range of pesticide residues and other contaminants.