The Rise of Yabukita Tea: A Comprehensive Guide

Yabukita tea, one of the most popular tea breeds in Japan, has a long and fascinating history that spans over half a century. In this guide, we’ll delve into the origins of this beloved tea and explore why it has become so widely cultivated and appreciated.

Origins of Yabukita Tea

In 1954, a tea breeder from Shizuoka named Hikosaburo Sugiyama developed a new tea breed, which he named Yabukita. The breed was tested at the Shizuoka prefecture tea industrial laboratory and was officially registered as tea agriculture clop No.6 in 1956. Yabukita was named after the area where it was first cultivated, which was surrounded by bamboo bushes (yabu) and located in the northern (kita) part of the region.

The Slow Rise of Breed Tea Cultivation

Although Yabukita was recommended as a breed by the Shizuoka prefecture in 1956, it took a while for breed tea cultivation to catch on. Until the 1960s, the switch from orthodox tea cultivation to breed tea cultivation was slow. However, in the late 1970s, there was a rapid shift towards breed tea cultivation, and by 1974, it accounted for 23% of total tea cultivation in Japan. Of the farms using breed cultivation, 88% were already using Yabukita.

The Popularity of Yabukita Tea

One of the key reasons for Yabukita’s popularity is its ability to adapt to different climates and soils while still producing high-quality tea. This versatility has made it a profitable choice for many tea farmers. In fact, in 1999, 93.9% of tea farms using breed cultivation were using Yabukita, and 95.6% of all tea farms were using breed cultivation.

The Importance of Harvest Time

While Yabukita tea is a dependable and profitable choice for farmers, it is important to note that the quality of the tea can deteriorate if the leaves are harvested too late. It is essential to harvest the leaves at the optimal time to ensure that the tea retains its flavor and aroma. For large-scale estates with flat farms, it is advisable to use other tea breeds for some parts of their farms to avoid the difficult situation of having to harvest and send a large amount of tea at once.

In conclusion, Yabukita tea’s popularity can be attributed to its versatility, profitability, and dependable quality. Its fascinating history and importance to the tea industry in Japan make it a must-try for any tea enthusiast. Just remember to harvest the leaves at the right time to ensure that you get the most out of this exceptional tea.

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