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Kuradashi Tea — A Sleeping Beauty

kuradashi sencha
Kuradashi Tea, Sencha
kuradashi tea sencha
Kuradashi Tea, sencha

Spring is the time for the New Tea — Shincha. It is famous for its vibrant aroma. Still many Japanese tea experts think that the taste of shincha is not mature enough. There is a way to overcome this. The freshly plucked tea leaves are put in the refrigerator and kept at the temperature of — 20 degrees centigrade until autumn. This is how the tea matures and its taste gets better and stronger, in other words, enriched. They say that the tea is asleep in the cool warehouse — a real sleeping beauty!

Kuradshi tea is an old tradition dating back to the Edo period. In the second half of the 16th century shogun Tokugawa Ieyasu lived in Sunpu Castle in Shizuoka. Tokugawa loved green tea with a rich profound taste.  In the month of May the newly harvested shincha leaves were put into special cha tsubo — tea jars, which were carried to granaries located up the the Oigawa river  — a cool mountainous area about 1200 meters above sea level. Then in November the tea was solemnly carried into the Sunpu Castle where the tea jar opening ceremony took place starting the tea drinking season.

tsubo
tsubo
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