2018 vintage: even more bouquet and aroma
For the 3rd consecutive year, I came back to see Nakai-san so that he could tell us the story of his work as an organic matcha pioneer in the Kyoto region.
In this video, Nakai-san tells us about:
- his daily life during the harvest (April/May)
- the evolution of the organic farming community
- his message for the organic matcha community in France
I tasted the Nakai 2018 matcha tea and I am delighted since it is distinct from and even better than the 2016 and the 2017
. I find that it has attained an even higher level of sophistication
. 2017 vintage: I came back to see Nakai-san
1 year after meeting him in 2016, when he told us about his life as an organic matcha pioneer in Japan, I came back to see Nakai-san in the countryside to talk about the 2017 harvest. The Nakai-san vintage matcha is very special to me
, since it is the first tea in the vintage & terroir collection. It is the fruit of the search for an alternative and a compliment to premium organic matcha.
My goal for the vintage & terroir collection was to present a small organic matcha producer who works on his own unique terroir to the matcha community. This became a reality during my trip to Japan in June 2016, when I met Nakai-san and released the 2016 Nakai matcha... Nakai-san has a very touching story
about his organic farming, and I interviewed him so that he could share this story with the Kumiko community:
Nakai-san's matcha comes from just one area (a valley a few hours from Kyoto with a few small mountains) and it is vintage: this means that, each year, its taste changes according to the weather conditions and other variables that affect Mr. Nakai's (Nakai-san for the Japanese) tea gardens.
This is how Nakai's matcha is different from Kumiko Matcha premium organic matcha that you are surely already used to buying: the harvests come from over 200 organic farms on Kyushu island to the south of Japan, and a "chai master" (as with champagne) blends them so that the taste and the quality of this exceptional product stay constant from year to year.
Nakai-san and I in his field, isolated in the mountains:
Did you see the weeds and the saplings that are growing behind us? I pulled out a few, it's very difficult!
Nakai-san's father began cultivating tea leaves to make "conventional" matcha tea (using chemical products like fertilizers and pesticides).
Nakai-san tells us how his father got sick due to these products, so when he took over the plantation he decided to stop using all the chemical products overnight.
His harvest was cut in half, since the land was poisoned and dependent on the chemicals. It took 12 years for the land to return to normal and for the harvests to regain their previous levels.
Nakai-san tells us how financially and socially difficult these years were for him. The farmers with plots adjacent to his were furious, since insects and weeds started to appear on their land. They also mocked him for his small harvests.
Now, 20 years later, his land has grown from 2 hectares to over 20, the majority of which are small isolated plots scattered throughout the mountainside that, due to their inaccessibility, were not being cared for by other farmers in the area. This gives Nakai-san a huge advantage since the adjacent farmers do not use organic farming methods. Normally, there must be a 4-meter perimeter around each plot so that organic plants are not contaminated. In Japan, where space is precious and rare, this is a lot of space!
The 2017 Nakai matcha is certified organic by the JAS organic authorities, but not by the French or European authorities since Mr. Nakai is too small of a producer to invest in these certifications. So, in France, I do not present this as an organic matcha.
There are only a few dozen sachets of the 2018 Nakai available this year. Once the tea is out of stock, no more will be stocked until the release of the Nakai 2019 in twelve months. So, I invite you to try it quickly!
Each year, the taste and the experience changes according to variables and conditions affecting the land. There can be great years, average years, and bad years, just like with wine! Personally, I find the 2018 even better than the two last years.
Watch the video above where I interview Nakai-san. Think about him and his family when you enjoy your Nakai 2018 matcha.
I plan on seeing Nakai-san again next year, and I will share your comments with him. You can post them at the bottom of this page.
The fascinating thing about Nakai-san's vintage & terroir "single origin" matcha is that it changes every year! This is due to the varied conditions on the land from year to year, like for a wine.
After the 2016 and 2017, we have just received the 2018 Nakai matcha, and I had the pleasure of tasting it: it has evolved once again! I find it even better than last year's, with even more perfume this year. Sweeter, more "matcha," and less "sencha" like in 2016.
It is a delight and a pleasure to experience this change, and to benefit from Nakai-san's love and passion for his work.
You will especially appreciate the Nakai matcha if you've already tasted the premium organic matcha, to develop your palate.
I often compare the Nakai matcha with a small natural biodynamic wine, it has more character and the taste of the land is very present. It will help you discover new shocking sensations, and will maybe even help you discover a new facet of our premium organic matcha, or of other teas that you are used to.
I invite you to order and try Nakai-san's matcha, and, in the name of Nakai-san, I wish you a good tasting! 💚🍵😊