Hokumei (ほくめい, 北茗) literally means “north tea”.
As you would expect, this tea cultivar is apt for the cold climate of northern regions.
It is mainly used for sencha, but lately oolongs and icho (slightly withered) green teas have been made with leaves from Hokumei.
History of Hokumei
This cultivar is actually very close to the famous Yabukita cultivar.
It’s the offspring of two cultivars: Sayamakaori and 5507. Both come from natural crossing of Yabukita tea plants.
Just like Sayamakaori, Hokumei was developed by the Saitama Prefecture Tea Experimental Station
It was registered in 1992 as tea cultivar number 43.
More about Hokumei
Hokumei is a late budding cultivar, suited for cold weather. It can be harvested three to five days later than Yabukita.
The branches grow straight up, and with a bit more vigor than Yabukita.
The yield at harvest is about the same as Sayamakaori. That is, it’s a greater amount than that of Yabukita.
Regarding resistance to disease, it’s more resistant to anthracnose than both Yabukita and Sayamakaori. For other diseases, it’s about the same as Yabukita.
The leafs are thicker than Yabukita, so care must be taken when processing.
Finally, the finished leaves have a good appearance, better than Sayamakaori, and with a fresh aroma.
It brews into a yellow liquor with slight umami and medium astringency.
In general, sencha from Hokumei makes a refreshing tea with good quality.