Yakushima Bennifuuki Red
Yakushima Island, Japan
This is one of five teas I sourced from my journey to Yakushima Island in January 2023.
Bennifuuki is a traditional varietal of black tea that originated in Kagoshima, in Southern Japan. The varietal is the result of a cross breeding between the Benihomare varietal and the MakuraCd86 varietal, first achieved in 1965. The name of this hybrid, “Bennifuuki,” is very regal, loosely translating to mean “red honor and riches.”
The Benihomare varietal of tea trees came to Japan from India and Sri Lanka, and therefore we know it is of the Camellia sinensis var. Assamica varietal. MakuraCd86 is a varietal originating from Darjeeling, India, however it is of the Camellia sinensis var. Sinesis varietal more common in both China and Japan. This makes Bennifuuki, as a varietal, quite special, as it is a synthesis of 2 different species of tea plant.
This Benifuuki, from the small subtropical island of Yakushima, is particularly special. The first time I tasted it I was immediately reminded of Chinese black teas and Oriental Beauty oolong from Taiwan: it is full-bodied, with a round mouth-feel, and has clarity and sweetness in equal measure.
The tea farm that produces it is fully organic and does not use any pesticides or weeding agents in its farming practices. Therefore, insect bites on the tea leaves are inevitable. This is very likely the reason why this tea tastes so much like Oriental Beauty oolong from Taiwan – the oxidation from insect-bitten leaves has a particular effect on the taste of the tea, accentuating its honeyed and floral notes.
Bennfuuki is a robust and interesting black tea. Its liquor is a beautiful, deep amber colour that feels gentle and smooth in the mouth. Its molasses and honeyed notes last throughout many infusions.
Net weight 100g
. . .
|Steep time||10 sec - 90 sec
|No. of infusions||6