Hon Yama Hebizuka Sencha
Hon Yama is located deep inside Shizuoka city. The name of Hon Yama is used for the tea grown along the Abe River or Warashina River stream. Abe River is one of the steep and clear-water rivers in Japan. There are a number of slope along the river side. This place is covered by fog and the daytime is short that limits the growing speed of tea and makes flavor and taste of tea thicker.
Hebizuka is the name of the mountain located at the highest point of Hon Yama area. It is a very small area where only 10 families stay near the peak of Hebizuka. Out of 10 families, only a few families are involves in the tea business. In Hebizuka, the person who plant tea is also in charge of making tea. Each family has a small tea making facility that is attached with their own house. Our Hon Yama Hebizuka is made by Nakamura family.
Hebizuka tea is also one of the Hon Yama Tea. Hebizuka is the name of the peak that is located at the upper stream of Abe River. The altitude of Hebizuka is at around 750-800m. Due to the high latitude of Japan, the tea tree cannot survive over the winter if it is grows at an altitude more than 1000m above sea level. Considering that, the altitude of the Hebizuka tea garden is almost the growing limit of tea in Shizuoka.
In Hebizuka, due to the high altitude, spring comes a month later and winter comes a month earlier than ordinary tea gardens in Shizuoka. Eventually Hebizuka has additional 2 months of resting period in winter. The longer resting period helps tea to accumulate minerals. Therefore, the first up-coming tea leaves are very rich in mineral and gives a strong after taste and you can also enjoy the flavor that slowly meanders down the throat. On the other hand, the tea tree planted at lower elevation contains less mineral and therefore it lacks the depth of after taste and flavor, although it gives strong aroma. The quality of tea is in proportion to the intensity of after taste. The long resting period is an essential factor to produce the fine quality.
Hon Yama Hebizuka Sencha undergoes the withering process so as to enhance its floral character. In order to maximize the effect of withering, the tea leaves needs a higher percentage of poly phenol. The withering process is the internal ripening process that converts poly phenol into various kinds of flavor. Young tea leaf contains very rich in amino acid which is converted into poly phenol during photo synthesis. Therefore tea leaf is not harvested until it grows to slightly bigger size than ordinary standard.
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