Wakoucha: Japanese Black Tea
What is Wakoucha?
Red tea, or black tea, as it is commonly known away from the producing countries, is called "Wakoucha" in Japan, where "Wa" stands for Japan, "kou" for red and "cha" for tea. It's one of the ancient Japanese teas, which began to be cultivated and exported by local craftsmen.
Production of black tea wasn't even for the local population who preferred to drink green tea. It was mainly made for export - to compete with Chinese, Sri Lankan and Indian markets which didn't last long. After 1971 Wakoucha production was almost stopped due to the effect of the Free Trade Agreement, when local tea farmers started to produce only green tea to survive.
Nowadays farmers from different parts of Japan have started to grow neglected tea cultivars specifically for tea connoisseurs and enthusiasts.
Our Wakoucha organic microfarm is located in the Kagoshima region, southern part of Japan.
The tea artisans grow and harvest the Benifuuki variety, which is a relative of Assam or Darjeeling, the famous Indian black teas. Compared to other varieties, it has a strong taste and floral aroma, with a sweet aftertaste without bitterness. Benifuuki has a high amount of O-methylated catechins, which is beneficial in suppressing the symptoms of seasonal allergies.
Once harvested, Wakoucha passes several stages: withering, rolling, sieving, fermentation, drying, and only then sorting and packing. Our black tea is cultivated under a general organic method, without using chemical fertilizers or pesticides.
Fermentation refers to chemical processes that are initiated when tea leaves are aged at a certain humidity and stopped by increased temperature. As a result of fermentation, the tea leaves become water-soluble and give the drink a deep flavor, aroma and vibrant color.
The taste of Japanese Wakoucha might surprise people that got used to drink more bitter and robust black teas from India and Africa. Compared to Ceylon teas, Japanese Wakoucha has a more aromatic flavor and taste, with floral notes, dried fruits and cooked sugar.
Drinking black tea is a perfect option if you are looking for unsweetened, low caffeine beverage with low calories. It contains powerful groups of polyphenols that help your immune system to fight with several chronic disorders.
Studies have shown that drinking Wakoucha on a regular basis helps to reduce the risk of onset heart disorders, improves cholesterol levels, reduces body weight, improves high blood pressure and inhibits the risk of cancer. Besides that, black tea is also good for diabetic patients, as it is a non-sweetened drink that not only decreases blood glucose but is also reported to improve the status of insulin.
*Tea is not a medical remedy, but only helps to maintain a healthy lifestyle.