Watanabe Shincha 2017: Update on Kuritawase & Asatsuyu Cultivar

Yesterday we received a new picture from Mr. Matsumoto from the prefecture Kumamoto. On this picture you could see the progress of the young sprouts at the particular tea garden parcel, from whose tea bushes he harvests the leaves for the fabulous Shincha MOE. Today we will look at the latest Shincha news at the island Yakushima.

Mrs. Goto, employee at the tea garden of Mankichi Watanabe and his son Keita Watanabe, let us just know, that on 13th April the first part of the Kuritawa tea bushes has been harvested. Two years ago, we were able to witness how the leaves of the tea bush variety Kuritawase were harvested at Mr. Watanabe’s tea garden as early as at the end of March – an extraordinary early harvest year in 2015. Now, in 2017, the harvest year is quite late and the tea bush variety Kuritawase has actually been harvested first on 13th April, although it is the tea bush variety, which sprouts earliest at Mankichi Watanabe’s tea garden and which he uses for our “Watanabe Kabuse Shincha“.

All the more interessting is the fact, that the temporal relations compared to the different tea bush varieties change, too. While in the year 2015, the harvest of the Kuritawase tea bushes took place at the end of March, the tea bush variety Asatsuyu was harvested nearly two weeks later, in the middle of April. Thus the temporal difference between the Kuritawase and Asatsuyu cultivars was just under two weeks. This year, in 2017, however, the first leaves for Watanabe Kabuse Shincha were harvested as late as 13th April. But Mrs. Goto explained to us, that the 15th April, meaning today, was the second harvest day and that now the second part of the Kuritawase bushes as well as the first part of the tea bush varietal Asatsuyu are being harvested.

Iwao Hayashi’s tea garden at Mie Prefecture

In comparison, here is a picture we took today at the organic tea garden of Iwao and Kimihiko Hayashi at Mie Prefecture. The prefecture Mie lies roughly at the same altitude as Nagoya, that means just a bit more than one hundred kilometres from Kyoto Prefecture. Hence Mie Prefecture lies six-hundred to seven-hundred kilometres north from Yakushima, where the first Shincha has already been harvested two days ago. But here, in Mie, you can’t actually see anything but the very first, extremely small sprouts. While the son, Kimihiko Hayashi, rated 10th May as the first harvest day, his father’s, Iwao Hayashi’s rating was 20th May, as this year, it is still quite chilly in Mie.