The flavor and aroma of tea vary by types, cultivation methods, manufacturing processes, etc. This article introduces “Kabusecha,” which is often confused with Gyokuro.
What is Kabusecha?
Kabusecha is a tea produced through “covered cultivation,” by which growing fresh buds are covered to avoid sunlight. Its Japanese name can be literally translated into “covered/crowned tea.” Kabusecha tends to be mistaken for Gyokuro, which is also produced through covered cultivation, but Kabusecha is not Gyokuro.
A big difference between Gyokuro and Kabusecha is how long they are covered. While Gyokuro is covered for about 20 days, Kabusecha is covered for a week or so. Kabusecha is often considered “in the middle between Sencha (steeped green tea) and Gyokuro.”
Features of Kabusecha
Kabusecha is a tea that has both Sencha’s advantages and Gyokuro’s advantages. It cannot beat Gyokuro in umami and richness. However, with its slight bitterness, Kabusecha’s sweetness and umami are felt better than Sencha. It provides a mild flavor and rich aroma. Its liquid color is brighter than Sencha. Thanks to its lower price compared with Gyokuro, Kabusecha allows you to enjoy a flavor of high-graded tea casually.
In addition, the flavor of Kabusecha changes according to the temperature of water and the way of brewing. When it is brewed at a low temperature, the tea provides strong umami like Gyokuro. When it is brewed quickly in hot water, the flavor becomes refreshing like Sencha. Thus, you can enjoy adjusting the tea flavor according to your mood on the day.
Definition of Kabusecha
Kabusecha is a tea that has undergone cover culture, in which the leaves are covered with straw, mushiro (Japanese straw mats), cheesecloth, or others to block sunlight before picking. Compared with Gyokuro, Kabusecha’s cover culture is simple. It takes one week or so and blocks only about 50% of the sunlight.
Features of Kabusecha ingredients
In addition to vitamins, catechins, caffeine, potassium, and other ingredients contained in normal tea, Kabusecha is rich in amino acids, which become umami, although the amount of them is less than Gyokuro.
Features of Kabusecha process
The manufacturing process of Kabusecha is basically the same as Sencha. What differs is its cultivation process. As mentioned above, Kabusecha is grown in the cultivation method called covered cultivation.
Production areas of Kabusecha
Kabusecha is produced in many tea-growing areas across Japan including Fukuoka Prefecture, Kagoshima Prefecture, Nara Prefecture, Kyoto Prefecture, and Shizuoka Prefecture. Especially Mie Prefecture’s production volume accounts for more than one third of the Japan’s entire output.
The tea from Mie Prefecture is called Ise Tea. The Kabusecha completed in Yokkaichi City and Kameyama City is particularly high-graded because they stop picking at the second picked tea season.
How to Brew Kabusecha
While the best temperature to brew Sencha is about 80 degrees C, about 60 degrees C is the best for Gyokuro. Please change brewing temperature according to your preferred drinking way. Low brewing temperature distinguishes the flavors of sweetness and umami. High brewing temperature balances out bitter and astringent flavors.