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Wakoucha Black Tea (Japan)



One day a noble samurai came to visit the wise tea master Lao Cha, asking for advice: 

– Sensei, I am about to set out on a long journey. I wish to bring a tea so sweet, one that reminds me of my favorite Sencha. Yet one that is comforting and will keep well throughout my travels. Also, I'm so tired of all the traditional teas. Is there a tea that is unusual but, at the same time, will remind me of my dear Japan?
– Wakoucha is the tea you are looking for. Only very few people in Japan have tried this jewel! It's sweet and aromatic. When brewed, you will find all the colors of autumn in your cup. Immediately, your troubles will dissipate.  


Japanese black tea goes by the name of koucha in Japan. Like hong cha, koucha translates as red tea and is red tea and not black tea. Wakoucha refers specifically to black tea produced in Japan. "Wa" refers to Japan in this context. The properties of Japanese black tea are the same as those of hong cha — it is a fully oxidized tea made from the leaves of camellia sinensis.

Our Organic Wakoucha (Japanese black tea) is grown in Fujieda, Shizuoka prefecture. Japanese black teas are rare, with only a small number of farms producing a limited amount of wakoucha throughout Japan. The majority of tea produced in Japan is, in fact, green tea, with most black teas imported from abroad. The Japanese black tea industry remains sparse. Most Japanese black teas aren't exported and are enjoyed locally by tea enthusiasts.

The taste of Japanese black tea, however, is like no other. Taking a sip of our Wakoucha, you will sense a juicy sweetness without astringency. A lingering floral taste will stay on the palate, with bright notes of clove and chrysanthemum. The color of the brew is a comforting clear amber-red. Wakoucha makes a perfect afternoon tea and pairs well with desserts.

Wakoucha is a fully oxidized tea. The leaves undergo a long process of withering (up to 20 hours). The next step is rolling, where the leaves are pressed in a circular motion. It helps release the inner moisture and further oxidize the leaves. The leaves are then put into large sieves and shaken up and down to avoid entanglement during the filtering stage. Repeated kneading comes next, which further breaks the cell walls, followed by another oxidation for 2-3 hours. After that, farmers dry the leaves with hot air in the drying phase. The result is a delicate, honey-flowery tea with fruity notes and higher sweetness that overflows in the mouth and leaves a lasting impression for hours ahead.

Our Organic Wakoucha is grown by Iizuka-san, a passionate 3rd generation tea farmer. Iizuka-san works hard to preserve the quality of exquisite Japanese black tea. His family started using organic farming techniques nearly 50 years ago, becoming a pioneer of organic tea farming in Japan. The best wakoucha comes from the 2nd tea harvest when the tea plants are most susceptible to pests. It takes at least a year (sometimes two) for this tea to develop its best flavor, making it hard to acquire large quantities of the premium Wakoucha.

Brewing guidelines:

     195℉ / 90℃ for the first infusion; Keep raising water temperature for subsequent infusions 

   1g per 50ml 

   2min for the first infusion; then 30sec; +15 for each subsequent infusion

Customer Reviews

Based on 8 reviews
Sweet and juicy

Relative tea novice here. I chose this black tea because my partner likes black tea and usually puts milk in it -- but he takes his coffee black after learning to make pour-over. He likes fruity, bright, smooth coffee, often just-shy-of-too-acidic. He tends to love coffee with the description "juicy." So "juicy sweetness without astringency" caught my eye.

We were not disappointed. It's surprisingly sweet and very smooth. If you tend towards natural process coffee you'll probably love this tea.

Alan Tobey
Explore And Enjoy

I’d been looking for this fabled tea for a long time and was delighted to find it as this reliable site. The reward for patience was pleasure: even for drinkers like me who gravitate to bolder PRC and India blacks, this provides a complexity of flavors - just a touch of roast to complement an almost fruity core - and has the structured tannins that encourage relaxed and conscious attention. I will put this “meditative red” on my short list to keep in stock.

Love the smell and taste of this tea

On my second order now, enjoying it very much. It has a sweet, mellow smell and taste, which is distinctive yet not overpowering, so you can drink it as often as you like. It's already made its way into my top 3!

Dan Neet
A sweet and mellow, pleasant black tea

This tea is amazing! I see that it's a great afternoon tea, but honestly it's perfect for morning and night time as well. It's because it's just so mellow. The caffeine content doesn't seem too high, because it keeps you in a very relaxed and grounded state of mind (just like one of the previous reviewers mentioned).

There was absolutely zero astringency throughout many brews. A noticeable honey-sweetness and subtle floral aroma that lingered on. I couldn't make out the exact floral notes but it was very pleasant. Truthfully, I wouldn't notice a strong difference that it is Japanese tea and not Chinese black tea. A stellar tea none the less.

Steven Walker
Absolutely Delicious

This tea tastes so good and possesses such subtle charms I suggest you drink it in total mindfulness so you’re not distracted by thoughts of other things it tastes or smells like. I thus experienced this as an emotional brew that opened my heart sweetly and carried me away to pure gustatory pleasure. I want to drink it forever.