Matcha WAZUKA is a custom blended 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 4,000 people). This year's lot was blended by us at a ratio of 4/5 okumidori cultivar material and 1/5 zairai ("native species"), totaling just 12 kilos. Ui (our friend and farmer here) grows exceptionally well-managed okumidori trees, but we wanted to inject more of the character of her land into our freshman matcha blending effort, and so asked her to process a handful of her wild-growing zairai trees that speckle her gardens. The genetic makeup of these plants is unknown, and carry the distinctive qualities of her farm.
Early in spring '22, these trees were shaded for 20 days, machine-harvested, processed to tencha by Ui's sister within a few hours, and put into cold-storage where the local chashi ("tea blender") expertly combined the two materials. For this matcha we always mill in small batches (5-10 kg) and have the tea packed on-site in Uji to ensure perfect freshness, only milling more when we sell out. If you're new to matcha, date of milling is everything. This is when the tencha is pulverized by the ishi-usu ("granite mortar"), and when the figurative clock starts ticking. Tencha leaf can (and often is) stored and matured to achieve certain effects before milling, but with finished matcha powder, the fresher, the better. The latest batch of MATCHA WAZUKAwas milled in September '22.
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 farming mastery in matcha as the unique characteristics of material and processing are lost inside a multi-farm blend. We strongly prefer preserving the handwork of our producers in any given tea—Ui's historic farm and unique process are fully present in this matcha. They're what make this lot so very special.
Traceable down to the row of tea trees where the raw leaf grew, this lot is the peak of Ui's output, and an exemplar of old world Uji matcha making (with our own unqiue twist). 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. Every lot we import is sent to independent labs to be tested for a wide range of pesticide residues and other contaminants.