Sencha from Miyazaki 1: Aftertaste – Minami Sayaka

The first time I laid eyes on this sencha from Miyazaki on Kyûshû Island, my thoughts were not very positive: “This is not for Teas of Japan.” While they are not hideous, the leaves are, frankly, not very pretty. Their colour is uniform, but they lack lustre and they are rolled in a relatively rough way. However, it has to be said that this tea is fairly inexpensive. Of course I am going to test it, and also the cultivar is the excellent excellent Minami Sayaka! To top it off, the leaves do smell very good!

Testing method, so with boiling water.

While this is a fukamushi, the liquor remains clear, a yellow that perhaps lacks a little luminosity, but is far from tinged with brown or red. Surprising.

The fragrance is very pleasant, it is almost like being in a candy shop.

The taste, while it is a little astringent, tannin, is also fruity.

And then the aftertaste hits, an astonishing velvety flavour, a creamy sensation scented with peach and apricot. And it is long in the mouth. When we get past its unsophisticated look, this Minama Sayaka is in fact a little marvel.

I have to admit that I am not sure I have a super infusion method, but I think we should not worry too much with this tea because it reveals its true qualities after it has been drunk.

Try the first infusion at 80°C (176°F) right off the bat, 4 or 5 g (1.2 or 1.5 tsp) of leaves, for about 40 seconds.

A milky, fruity fragrance, the taste is more rustic, with a little astringency but also sweetness… and then, after a few seconds, the fantastic aftertaste appears in the mouth and throat. It reminds me of peach or apricot yoghurt.

Also, the liquor is pretty in the end, relatively clear, a nice green, far from the coarse impression that the dry leaves give.

On the second infusion, the scent is more peaty, and the flavour becomes a little more astringent, though it keeps some sweetness. And then that incredible aftertaste hits again.

It is entirely possible to continue onto a third infusion, to again fill the mouth and throat with the velvety, creamy, fruity taste.

In short, it is really this very delicious aftertaste that made me select this tea: for that alone it is worth the detour, especially since it is the least expensive sencha I have selected so far. Miyazaki Prefecture is completely unknown and yet it is the fourth-largest tea-producing area in Japan. It grows very high-quality teas, its producers are doing very important work on cultivars, and the absolute top of the top  kama-iri chas are made there. I hope that “Miyazaki cha” will succeed in becoming a famous trademark and guarantee of quality, like Shizuoka, Kagoshima, Yame, and others.

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Categories: Reviews

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4 replies

  1. In the last few weeks I have been trying to find out more about Minami Sayaka. Is this variety a hybrid of some Japanese and Chinese / Taiwanese? Many people say that Minami Sayaka has a velvety milky tea taste which how they describe Jin Xuan 金萱茶 from Taiwan also. So I wonder if this is a cross between Jin Xuan 金萱茶 and some Japanese variety.

    Since this is about one year old post I hope you will see my comment!

  2. Thank you for your reply. Really appreciate it. One of my friends sent me some more information from page 51 of 茶の品種. ( I think that is the handbook of Japanese tea cultivars.) Apparently it says that Minami Sayaka is a cross between Assam variety (as you mentioned) and a Caucasus variety! If this is correct, it makes it really interesting.

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  1. Two kama-iri chas from Miyazaki, two different styles | Japanese Tea Sommelier

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