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CHOISISSEZ voS théS préféréS

Category: Green Tea

Origin: JAPAN, Niigata Prefecture, Murakami Town.

Cultivar: Zairai

Quantity: 30g per pack

Harvest: Spring Harvest (Late May)

Other: None



Murakami is located in the north of Niigata prefecture and is the most northern point where commercial tea is produced in Japan. It has a short sunshine exposure, high rainfall and especially both in winter and July rainfall is heavy with high humidity. However, in Spring and Autumn the weather is typically sunny with low rainfall.


Indeed, the prefecture of Niigata has a lot of snowfall in winter and with cold temperatures, which is the limit of the adaptation for tea trees. The climate is definitely not favorable for tea cultivation, as the short days, the cold and the snow are hindering production levels. However, even with those extreme conditions, it is admirable that tea is still produced and actually the result is interesting. With the snow covering the tea for a long period, it would seem to act like a shading (usually human-made) like for Gyokuro teas, thus reducing bitterness or astringency.


According to two theories, tea was either introduced to Murakami around 1620 either from Uji under the instructions of the domain head Horitango or by Tokumitsuya Kakuzaemon (徳光屋覚左衛門) who went to worship the Gods in Ise (current Mie prefecture), and brought back seeds with him to Murakami. Both of those scenarios date this tea about 400 years ago.


While the total cultivation area peaked at 650ha during the Meiji Era (1868-1912), it reduced to 400ha in the Taisho era (1912-1926) and even further before WWII. During recent years, it shrank to less than 20ha, making it less than 3% of what it was during the so-called golden era.



Murakami produces mainly Sencha, Gyokuro, and recently Red (Black) tea.


However, a popular local tea is the Bancha, made from older leaves, making the tea a bit more coarse but softer in taste. MANDARACHA selected a Ichiban (first harvest) Bancha from a plantation made from seeds (Zairai), which are more resistant to the cold weather and to diseases, but also being the most representative of the Murakami type.


This Bancha is mineral, refreshing and with a straw-ish aroma. The particularity of growing in the cold north with less sunlight also means that this tea has a reduced astringency / bitterness when compared to conventional Bancha made in other regions.



4g (0.14oz) of leaves per serving

80ml of water at 80°C (176°F) per serving

First brew: 60 seconds

Subsequent brews: 15-20 seconds 


Cold brew: 10g of leaves for 1L of cold water. Brew for 12-15 hours in the fridge at 5°C. Filter the liquor in another bottle and keep it in the fridge. You may re-brew the spent leaves a second time as you like.