What is Benifuki (べにふうき)
Japan is famous for green tea as its 99% of tea production compromises green tea. Recently, Japan is also getting into other tea styles, such as black, oolong, and more, but the production stays at 1 % and still a rarity. Benifukki cultivar is mainly famous for black tea; however, some make green tea too, but it remains responsible for black tea production. However, both teas are grown the same way but differ in the processing process.
Benifuuki translates as red riches and honors, and it is also called “Japanese Oolong.” It is cultivated in every region in Japan due to high resistance to the environment and diseases compared to Yabukita. The harvesting time depends on the tea type. As for black tea, farmers cultivate it after a few days of Yabukita harvest. If they are aiming for green tea, the harvesting time comes the week after the Yabukita.
Benifuuki is a hybrid plant, first crossbreed in 1965 at Makurazaki city, Kagoshima prefecture. It has two parent plants, both from different countries. The MakuraCd86 is a Sinensis variety found in the Darjeeling region, India. It is quite special, just like the region famous for producing the best teas in India. This variety is also famous in China and Japan. Benihomare is an assamica variety from Japan which is decedent of seeds originated in India and SriLanka.
Both these varieties are used in crossbreeding of Benifuuki plants. It was not the same from the start; the right seedling was selected many years later from the first production and finally registered this combination in 1993.
Due to crossbreeding and it is a hybrid plant, Benifuuki possesses characteristics of both parent plants. It contains a high content of Methylated catechins and EGCG due to the plants being in sunlight. Compared to Yabukita, it has 30% more yield and high resistance to the environment and diseases. The brewed black tea from Benifuuki cultivar has a strong aroma, mellow taste, and a nice reddish color.
In terms of processing, each tea type has different methods and sometimes varies by manufacturers. When it comes to green tea, the leaves are picked and sent to the factory for instant processing and storage.
As for black teas, processing does not occur immediately. Farmers let the leaves sit for half a day after picking. In this way, the moisture evaporates and makes the leaves high in anti-oxidation and gives a strong aroma and taste to the tea. Even later, they are kept in temperature and moisture controlled containers for further fermentation.
Leaves are kept in the dark and low temperatures for at least three months to get the best results. In this way, methylated catechin increases in leaves and makes the flavor of tea more intense and has high health benefits. Some also sell Benifuuki powder, which is the final stage in which the leaves are grounded in fine powder and packed.
It is best to buy a previous year harvested crop because longer it fermented, the best flavor you will get.
The Benifuuk cultivar tea is not like other teas loaded with nutrients and benefits all health-related issues. It is a specialty that contains vitamins, amino acids, essential oils, and chlorophyll, etc. Tea is famous for treating hay fever, dermatitis, eczema, and histamine reduction.
Due to the catechins and tannins present in the tea leaves, it has significant anti-allergic properties and cures any seasonal allergies. Moreover, these nutrients are great for healing metabolic disease and improve the health of the liver, gallbladder, spleen, and pancreas. Therefore, it is also named as metabolic and liver tea.
Loose leaves are much better than powdered form and have many benefits. The powder becomes toxic after some period of preparation and needs to be drunk quickly. On the other hand, leaves can be stored for a period of a few days, either on the shelf or in the refrigerator. In either way, it is a great go-to aid for curing allergies and hay fever.
Year registered 1993
Original cross-location Makurazaki City, Kagoshima
Parents Assamica Benihomare and Sinensis Makura CD86
Spring harvest April, May, June (few days after Yabukita)
Branching type Three Stem
Cold resistance High
Disease resistance High
Here is Benifuki we carry: