A kama-iri cha from Saitama by Hiruma Yoshiaki. Those who know this producer are well aware that it is not a classical kama-iri cha like those we find in Kyûshû.
There is nothing very original about the cultivar: Yabukita. Yet, the leaves are not entirely ordinary either since they are meant for making the sencha that will be entered in the National Tea Competition. Thus, they have been grown under very special conditions and picked by hand.
Just looking at the fine curly dark green leaves brings water to my mouth. And what can I say about the delicate fragrance that they exhale? Floral, a touch fruity, it gives more of an impression of Chinese green teas than of Japanese kama-iri cha. In fact, this tea does not have much in common with the traditional kama-iri chas from Kyushu.
Infusing it completely confirms this impression, with respect to both fragrance and taste. The flavours are very subtle and I cannot really define them concretely: perhaps I could say they remind me of a Bi Luo Chun? This might not be the best comparison, but it gives an idea of the general impression.
While it is not stingy on fragrance, this tea is light, so for those who, like me, appreciate a liquor that has some impact in the mouth, I of course recommend not hesitating to use a lot of leaves: 5 g (1.2 tsp) for 60-70 ml (about 1/4 cup) of water. You can easily get 4 or 5 very good infusions from this. There is no need to cool the water too much at the beginning: around 70°C (158°F), or even a little warmer. There is no problem with this type of green tea.
Yet, yes, ‘yet,’ this Yabukita has one huge failing: a little lack of length! However, frankly, the rest is so perfect, unique, so incredible when we know that this tea comes from Japan, that we can simply close our eyes on this little deficiency. In my case, I have been won over. This marvel is one of my biggest surprises in a long time.