The Minamikaori Tea Cultivar


Minamikaori (みなみかおり) means “south aroma”. It refers to Miyazaki prefecture, which is where this cultivar was developed.

Its purpose is sencha production, but while researching online I noticed that it was also being used for black tea.

History of Minamikaori

In 1966 at the Miyazaki agricultural research institute, the Yabukita cultivar was crossed with Miya A11 (宮A-11).

Miya A11 is a cultivar resistant to cold weather and disease. It is a hybrid between CK-20 (a cultivar from China) and a famous Taiwanese cultivar named Chin-shin oolong (青心烏龍).

The best tea plant was selected two years later. It would take until 1988 for Minamikaori to be registered as Japanese tea cultivar #39.

Characteristics of Minamikaori

Minamikaori is easy to propagate and is a normal budding cultivar.

Its leaves are similar in size to Yabukita, but mature leaves are slightly thicker.

The leaves are ligher in color than Yabukita, have a little less luster and are also less serrated.

For the same area, it produces less buds than Yabukita. But since they weight more, it’s a slightly better yield.

It is strong against cold weather, and also against anthracnose and the gray blight.


In addition, Minamikaori receives a light damage from the Kanzawa spider mite.

As a sencha it has a high quality.

The processed tea leaves have a high valuation in terms of color. Once prepared, the wet leaves have a refreshing aroma that’s different from Yabukita.

Its taste has a slight bitterness and astringency, however.

While Minamikaori is available in the market, it’s far from being common.


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