Cultivar: Yama-cha (mountain tea) & Yabukita
Harvest Dates: June. Finished in autumn 2017
Goishicha is a type of old style bancha that is fermented by way of ancient techniques developed when tea was consumed by the people as a food and as a medicine. A very limited quantity of 3,400 pounds are made each year due to the artistic know-how that is needed to make Goishicha is becoming extinct and the price has become quite expensive.
The tea leaves are harvested once per year when the leaves are hardy and mature. The leaves are stripped from the branch, steamed and pressed to express the juice, which will be used later during fermentation. Next, the leaves are piled and covered with thatch in a wooden hut to warm up and oxidize (similar to Shu Pu'er).
Goishicha goes through a two-stage fermentation process. During the first fermentation, the leaf temperature should never go above 40°C. Once finished fermenting, the second stage starts with the leaves packed into cedar barrels and the reserved juice from the first pressing are added and the leaves are stored for about two weeks. After this second stage of fermentation, the packed tea reduces into a large round disc covering the bottom of the barrel. The pressed leaves in the cake become soft and malleable and Artisans hand-chop them into 1-2 inch square wafer-like pieces.
The tea wafers are laid out in the Sun on thatch drying platforms and flipped from time to time for about a week, depending on the weather, until the wafers become totally dried.
It is recommended to age Goishicha for 6-12 months to better harmonize the flavors and mellow the acidic profile before consumption. It can be aged, stored and brewed much like Pu'er tea.
Historically, this tea is not consumed in the growing region. Since the Edo Period (1603-1868 A.D.) Goishicha has been traded for salt from the Inland Sea people who used it to make Cha-gayu (rice porridge made with tea).
In addition to making Cha-gayu, Goishicha can be brewed or boiled and the strained infusion can be used in a variety of culinary dishes, including: tea mushroom consommé; porcini risotto, tea based dashi and broths for soup noodle, Ochazuke, marinades, and dinner or dessert sauces.
Tart cherry, apple cider vinegar, lactic acid, Ume Boshi pickle, Fermented plum, pit fruits fermentation wine, pickled Burmese tealeaf salad.
The 2017 crop year was blessed with good weather and as a result, the leaves grew large, and were fermented and sun dried under ideal conditions with a desired level of lactic acid bacteria. The tea is very rich and tangy.
1 square (4g) per 8 oz of water
Recommended Brewing Vessel: Gaiwan
Fill Gaiwan with 1-2 squares (4g)
Water Temperature: 200°F
Rinse tea briefly one time
Steep Time: 1st-3rd infusions 20-25 seconds
4+ infusions add 15 seconds per infusion
Guywan Brewing from Rishi Tea on Vimeo.
For the best infusions, we recommend brewing this tea in a Guywan
We encourage you to experiment with the quantity of tea leaves and the length of the steep time to find your desired brew strength. Varying the water temperature isn't recommended, as water that is too hot will over-extract the bitter components of tea, while water that is too cool might not fully draw out the aromas and flavors of tea.
Ootoyo, Kochi prefecture, Japan