Kuritawase (栗田早生) is a very early budding cultivar that can be found in Kagoshima prefecture.
Since southern Japan is warmer, early budding cultivars offer the advantage of having shincha before the rest of the country does.
History of Kuritawase
Kurita Mosaburō (栗田茂三郎) from Shizuoka prefecture came to live to Nishinoomote city in Kagoshima prefecture.
In 1909 he brought tea seeds of native tea plants from Shizuoka. Then he selected the best tea plant in 1927, thanks to the guidance that he received from Sugiyama Hikosaburō who had visited Kagoshima prefecture some time before.
In the 1960’s its use was encouraged and it slowly spread throughout that region.
Characteristics of Kuritawase
Kuritawase can be harvested at least 10 days earlier than Yabukita.
It’s weak against cold weather but somewhat resistant to anthracnose.
This cultivar is mostly found on the island of Tanegashima.
Kuritawase produces a tea of good quality, but the yield at harvest is low.
When made into sencha it offers a yellow liquor with a milky aroma and a flavor with low astringency.