SONOGI TAMA is a steamed tamaryokucha ("coiled tea") from Sonogi Tea Cooperative in Higashisonogi, Nagasaki prefecture, Japan. Colloquially referred to as guricha ("curly tea"), tamaryokucha is a relatively rare tea outside of Japan, accounting for very little of Japan's domestic production. So when the 4 makers of our house matcha, whose character is informed by the unique stylings of each farmer-producer, let us know they'd given the same treatment to a southern Japanese classic, we jumped on it.
Tamaryokucha—or tama, as we call it—can be either pan-fried (in the Chinese fixing/kill-green style) or steamed (as most Japanese teas). These lots have all been steamed, which on the cupping table produces more vivid distinctions between the cultivars than pan-frying, in our view. The cultivars and their respective producers are:
| OKUMIDORI by KAZUHIKO ONOUE
| SAEMIDORI by KOSUKE NAKAYAMA
| TSUYU-HIKARI by YOSHITAKA OHYAMA
| YABUKITA by SHINYA FUKUDA
This collector's set offers a rare study into the character of each cultivar andthis genre of tea. Steep gently, side-by-side, in a kyusu or small teapot for the intended experience.
vintage—produced spring '23 | rested until autumn '23