“Shunmei” is a high-quality early-maturity cultivar of tea, which boasts a germination period and plucking period that are four to six days earlier than the well-known “Yabukita” variety. The cultivar is strong and robust in both young and adult trees, and has good rooting and survival rates after planting. It also exhibits strong resistance to cold and diseases such as anthracnose and ring spot, with the only concern being the occasional occurrence of red blight in young trees.
“Shunmei” has a medium tree shape with a good horizontal spread, requiring less low pruning than “Yabukita”. The sprouting and harvesting periods of “Shunmei” in the Kanaya area occur earlier than “Yabukita”, resulting in equal or higher yields of first flush tea, which boasts dark color and good luster, mild aroma, and less astringency but more umami flavor. Second and third flush teas of “Shunmei” have higher yields and better quality than “Yabukita”. Harvesting should be timely, as delayed picking may result in hardened sprouts that are dark green or blackish in color.
While “Shunmei” initially gained popularity for its early-maturity and high-quality traits, it was overtaken by the registration of “Saemidori” two years later. However, “Saemidori” has certain cultivation challenges and limited suitability for some areas. Compared to other early-maturity cultivars like “Yutakamidori”, “Shunmei” has good cultivation characteristics and yields, making it widely applicable. Additionally, its slightly later germination period compared to “Saemidori” reduces the risk of frost damage, with faster recovery even in case of damage. Although the color and luster of “Shunmei” tea is darker than “Saemidori”, it is still considered superior to other early-maturity cultivars with larger cultivated areas.