Introducing Omura’s Dew N°919

On August 6, 1945, tragedy befell the community of Nagasaki, Japan. Once a bustling village town, production lagged in the aftermath of the disaster. But just as tea quells the storms of unrest in our own lives, it managed to do so for this small town as well. Years later, the town of Nagasaki forged a new life for itself through tea. Cue Tyusu Hikari, a cultivar that bridged the gap between Nagasaki and the rest of the world. Tsuyu Kikari wasn’t created in Nagasaki, but its proliferation helped attenuate the lingering effects of the region’s painful history. This cultivar, its name meaning “dew light,” represented a new dawn for a community. Introducing Omura’s Dew, our ode to a tea that breathed new life into a Japanese town.

Estimating the number of pure teas in the world is no mean feat, as there are thought to be 3.000 - 5.000 in existence. But just one is the object of our fascination today: Omura’s Dew. This organic green tea is a special Tamaryokucha, or Guricha. Tamaryokucha directly translates to “coiled green tea,” a nod to the distinctive shape of its spindly leaves. This naturally-occurring shape plays a key role in making Omura’s Dew such a rarity. The shape itself is not unlike that of a comma, a thin, shyly furled stroke of foliage. This is a far cry from the typical needle-like shape of Japanese teas. The discrepancy arises from variations in the production process as most Japanese teas are rolled. Tamaryokucha omits this step, however, in an attempt to replicate the appearance of Chinese teas. But there’s no question – Japanese farmers are to thank for this delicacy. 

Tamaryokucha itself originated in Kyushu Island in Japan. Kyushu is colloquially known as the “Land of Fire,” a moniker inspired by the many volcanoes within its shores. Amazingly, this tiny island produces about 36% of all Japanese tea. Ours comes from the western side of the island, where it’s harvested atop the mountains overlooking Omura Bay. It shares a birthplace with Tamaryokucha itself, in the Higashi Sonogi town of Nagasaki. Nagasaki has been vital to the global spread of tea. Uji, Japan is often credited for tea’s creation, but Nagasaki was tea’s gateway into Japan and to the rest of the world.

Tamaryokucha has a storied history in Nagasaki. After tragedy befell the island, they found solace in farming tea. Even generations later, the traditions established by old tea families exist today. Yet, it’s young tea farmers who have carried these tea cultivation practices into a new generation. Our bush to cup approach ensures we gain the very best techniques, refined for tens of years. One such technique is fukamushicha, or deep steaming the tea. Japanese tea is already steamed during its production, so this style elevates a common practice by elongating this step. Fukamushicha opts for a 1-2 minute steam rather than the typical 30 seconds. The result is a tea with even more body and sweetness, sans astringency – as is the case with Omura’s Dew. Furthermore, the tea leaves themselves become even more delicate. The miniscule flecks of leaves suspended in the final infusion are a visible indication of the tea’s many nutrients, released in even greater quantity as more of the leaves’ surface area comes in contact with the water.

This technique simply expands on what’s already a special tea, due in part to Tyusu Hikari, the cultivar used. The road to its creation began in 1970 and continued on until it gained official recognition in 2003. To create this remarkable variety, tea farmers grafted Asatsuyu and Shizu 7152, hoping to imbibe the best of both plants. And so they did – Tsuyu Hikari generates high yields, can withstand cold weather, and is bursting with umami flavor. Its name means “dew light,” invoking a sense of delicate beauty taking to the dawn of a new day. Perhaps that’s why it was such a fitting choice for Nagasaki, representing a new dawn for those who needed it most. 


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