Satsuma No Kunpu, first flush (ichibancha) organic Kagoshima sencha green tea from the southern coastal tea growing region of Kagoshima known as Makurazaki, made from unique Makurazaki Zairai (native) tea bushes!
In Japan, the word “zairai” is generally used to describe any type of plant that has become native and distinct to a particular region. In the case of this grower’s zairai tea bushes, the grower tells us that they were originally grown from seeds that were collected around the late 19th to early 20th century from open pollinated naturally grown tea bushes that were growing in Makurazaki at the time, and which over many years, have become accustomed to the region, climate, and soil that they are grown in. Therefore, unlike modern cultivars that have been crossed for uniformity in both growth and tea character/profile, zairai tea bushes offer their very own totally distinctive traits!
In regard to the grower’s naming of this organic sencha, “Satsuma No Kunpu”, Satsuma is the old name for Kagoshima, and Kunpu means a pleasant warm breeze. It’s referring to the situation when the first pleasant warm breeze of spring sweeps across the southern coastal region of Makurazaki breathing renewed vigor and vitality into the grower’s zairai tea garden! The connection between the two, and the joyous sentimental feeling that it conjures up, is what ultimately led to the naming of the tea.
Concerning the steaming of this organic sencha, we would classify it as a chumushi (medium steamed) sencha because the grower has steamed the leaves longer than normal steamed sencha, yet shorter than deep steamed sencha. However, we’re inclined to say that its character lends a bit more towards a deep steamed sencha.