The Benifuuki Tea Cultivar

BenifuukiBenifuuki (べにふうき) loosely translates as “red riches and honors”.

This cultivar that was originally meant for black tea and oolong, but is now also being processed as green tea.

Benifuuki can be cultivated in every region of Japan, and is resistant to various diseases.

Interestingly, the harvesting time differs depending on the type of tea to be produced. For example, it’s harvested one or two days later than the Yabukita cultivar for black tea, but for green tea the harvesting time is a week later than Yabukita.

History of Benifuuki

Benifuuki was the result of crossbreeding Benihomare with MakuraCd86 in Makurazaki city, Kagoshima prefecture, 1965. The right seedling was selected many years later, and it was registered in 1993.

The MakuraCd86 (枕Cd86) tea plant is quite special. It comes from the Darjeeling region, which produces some of the best teas in India.

Benihomare is of the assamica variety (mostly found in India and Sri Lanka), while MakuraCd86 is of the sinensis variety (popular in China and Japan).  Benifuuki is a hybrid tea plant in many aspects!

More about Benifuuki

This cultivar yields 30% more than Yabukita at harvest.

As a green tea, it has a strong taste and high astringency. However, in this form it has the greatest concentration of methylated catechins of all the Japanese cultivars.

Benifuuki black teaBenifuuki makes a high quality black tea, with a mellow taste and excellent aroma.

As all wakoucha (Japanese black tea), it’s best drank without milk or sugar.

 

 

19 Comments

  1. Kayoko
    February 25, 2014

    Hello, Ricardo.
    Drinking beni fuuki tea before or during the cedar pollen season in Japan (from beginning of Feb) that resulted in fewer or less extreme hay fever allergy symptoms in Japan. it’s getting popular the tea because of the reason in Japan.
    Actually it really works for me and my dad, we have
    so bad suffer from hay fever in the season every year! I like the taste as well as it lil differnt regular green tea. ofcourse its better than taking pills..

    I always enjoy reading your article!

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      February 25, 2014

      Hello Kayoko

      Thanks for the comment.
      You’re right about Benifuuki and its effect on allergy symptoms. I plan to write an article about it in the future.

      Reply
  2. Nez Tokugawa
    February 26, 2014

    Sorry Ricardo, I just couldn’t resist adding this comment. I have been talking about the benefits of this tea for some time now. The active ingredient in Benifuki is methylated catechin which is know to reduce inflammation. I have been marketing a product call “stay clear” which is a powdered benifuki” from Kagoshima for about 5 years that I have repeat customers each spring who are farmers in Oregan. It works to clear allergy symptoms in 30 seconds. http://www.thetasteoftea.com/stay-clear/
    Take a look. it really works.

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      February 26, 2014

      Hi Nez

      Thanks for the comment. Your tea looks very interesting, I’ve never tried a powdered Benifuuki green tea before.

      I’ll review it as soon as I’m done with other pending reviews : )

      Reply
  3. Kayoko
    February 26, 2014

    Actually the Beni fuuki tea I always drink in Japan which is already powdered. I’ve never seen sold as leaf product. I’d like to try if I can find it!

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      February 26, 2014

      Hello Kayoko

      The Benifuuki in loose leaf is mostly black tea, that’s the one that I have tried.

      Reply
  4. John
    April 25, 2014

    I’m in Tokyo and am going to get more Benifuuki during sincha season.
    One thing to note, they found very low or no levels of methylated catechins in black benifuuki tea (as opposed to green)

    http://www.naro.affrc.go.jp/english/vegetea/benifuuki/index.html

    Look at the 3-4 paragraph with leaf levels.
    Interesting that for the best effect leaves 3-4 down from the top are picked and during the 2nd harvest or in autumn.

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      April 25, 2014

      Hello John

      Thank you for the comment and the extra info.

      I actually talked about that in another post: https://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/methylated-catechins-a-way-to-relieve-allergy-symptoms

      Reply
  5. MR
    June 1, 2015

    Hi. Can you give some recommendations where to find or order this tea from? Thanks

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      June 1, 2015

      Hi MR

      It’s not easy to find this tea outside Japan, but I did review this green benifuuki tea in powder form for allergy prevention, by a US vendor:
      https://www.myjapanesegreentea.com/the-taste-of-tea-stay-clear

      Reply
  6. Gary
    June 24, 2015

    Hello I started to sell this tea on Ebay .. I ship directly from Japan
    The shop is Japanese Green Teas on Ebay. My brand is called Ocha and Co. I thought it was an interesting tea so I added it to my range. It is not on my websited but available only on Ebay. Here is the link
    http://www.ebay.com/itm/Premium-Japanese-Benifuuki-Tea-Catechin-Powder-30g-Hay-Fever-Allergy-Relief-/251817691994

    Reply
  7. Brad
    July 6, 2017

    Bitdefender identifies the website above (http://www.ebay.com/itm/Premium-Japanese-Benifuuki-Tea-Catechin-Powder-30g-Hay-Fever-Allergy-Relief-/251817691994) as a “phishing site.” It would be helpful if the poster could provide some clarification and assure readers of there safety using his eBay site and store.

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      July 7, 2017

      Hi Brad

      I don’t know what Bitdefender is, I visited through Firefox and I get no warning.

      ebay is a huge company, that would be like saying that Amazon is a phishing site.

      Reply
  8. lochan
    August 28, 2019

    Hello Ricardo, long time!

    Do you know which is the ♀ mother (and grand mother) and which is the ♂ father (and grand father) of Benifuuki? You have mentioned Benihomare and MakuraCd86 but which is the female and which is the male?

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      August 28, 2019

      Hello Lochan

      The mother is Benihomare and the father is MakuraCd86.

      Reply
  9. Mimi Lu
    June 22, 2020

    Hey Richardo!
    Just wanted to say that I really enjoy your blog. As I work in a tea shop now, I have found your blog as a very useful and good resource for learning about Japanese tea, particularly the section regarding the various
    cultivars. Keep doing an amazing work 🙂
    Have a nice day!

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      June 22, 2020

      Hi Mimi

      Thank you for reading. I hope that you learn a lot about tea and have fun in the process.

      Reply
  10. Marilyn Kay
    March 3, 2021

    Cannot find instructions on how to prepare this tea. Can you advise?
    I really enjoy these articles. Thank you so much!

    Reply
    1. Ricardo Caicedo
      March 3, 2021

      Hi Marilyn

      It depends if it is a Benifuuki green tea, black tea, a powdered tea, etc.

      So the specific cultivar doesn’t change the preparation of a given type of tea, unless you have a reason to do so.

      Reply

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