February 2015 - Kabusecha from Kamo
For our first commercial shipment we have chosen a delicate Kabusecha from the town of Kamo, in the Kyoto prefecture.
The Japanese verb "kabuseru" (被せる) means "to cover (with something)". As the name suggests, Kabusecha (かぶせ茶) is a kind of Sencha (煎茶) grown in the shade: two to three weeks before harvest special nets are hung over the plantations so as to obtain a natural shade. The resulting tea has a mellower flavour, and a more subtle colour than Sencha grown in direct sunlight.
Kamo, prefecture of Kyoto
We selected a Kabusecha from the rural town of Kamo (加茂), in the southmost part of the Kyoto (京都) prefecture. Kamo was the capital of Japan from 740 to 744, under the name of Kuni-kyō (恭仁京). Geographically it is very close to the city of Nara (奈良).
How to prepare this Kabusecha?
The recommended amount of leaves for this tea is 2 to 3 grams (a full teaspoon) for 70ml (2.4oz) of water. Of course the amount of leaves can be tweaked to make a lighter (or stronger) tea. The first steeping should last 1 minute in water at 70ºC. Second and third steepings should be done at 80ºC for 30 seconds.
How to get 70ºC water without a thermometer?
Not everyone has one of these fancy japanese kettles that allows to simply choose the temperature of the water, so here is a simple technique to get water at roughly 70ºC:
- boil water in a kettle,
- pour the water into the empty teapot (without green tea leaves inside),
- wait about one minute for the water to cool down,
- pour the water into the teacup(s),
- discard the remaining water from the teapot,
- add the green tea leaves to the now empty teapot,
- pour the water from the teacup(s) back into the teapot.
Et voila, the water should now be roughly at 70ºC!