Marvelous fragrance, Kondowase

The next tea in my 2013 selection: a new tea on Teas of Japan.P1120819

A very very fine tea from Mariko, cultivated in the gentle foothills of Shizuoka by the young tea producer, Yohei Matsukawa, one of the only tea farmers who grows the early Kondowase cultivar. Hiromasa Kondo created this cultivar in Mariko, or discovered it by chance, as is often the case, and it is a cross between Inzatsu 131 and Yabukita (as are Sofu and Fuji-kaori).

P1120827 It is handpicked. When we hear Inzatsu (a cultivar with Indian origins) we know right away what will be the strength of the resulting cultivar: the fragrance.

After the first wave of pleasure produced by the beauty of the leaves, the fragrance excites the nose. It does not have the “poisonous flower” side of Inzatsu. It is more mellow, sweet, while remaining floral.

P1120833

Given the relationship with Inzatsu, we might expect an astringent liquor that would need to be tamed with rather cool water, but this is not what the fragrance tells us. So, let us follow the recommendations of wise professionals, who prepare this tea with relatively hot water.

Water at 80~85°C (176~185°F) on 4 g (1.2 tsp) of leaves for a little more than 1 minute.

P1120842 The fragrance from the liquor is not aggressive at all. On the contrary, it is smooth and subtle.

In the mouth it is the same, and despite the relatively high temperature, there is no trace of astringency. The pleasant, light velvety texture of this tea immediately leaves deep aromas in the mouth and throat, recalling sweet flowers, jasmine, but also something of grapes. There is almost a hint of sweet white wine.

Finally, this sencha rewards the palate with wonderful length and mellowness that continues to stimulate the taste buds for a long time.

With even hotter water, the second infusion remains airy and sweet, with great depth.

P1120850P1120857 The third infusion is the same. So perhaps this is a tea perfect for brewing with a large dose of leaves, very hot water and very short infusions. I can see no reason not to treat myself to it.

P1120870P1120872 5 g (1.5 tsp) for around 40 ml (1/8 cup) of water at 90°C (194°F), many infusions lasting 5 to 10 seconds, but longer after the fifth.
This time the liquor gives off a really powerful fragrance right away, sweet, with those notes of grape, jasmine and perhaps even vanilla.
In the mouth, the spicy flower side inherited from Inzatsu appears, but remains in the background behind the clemency of the sweet and fruity notes. There is a barely noticeable touch of astringency.

It is of course very long in the mouth, as well as in the throat and nose!

P1120881 P1120889 An admirable sencha that truly keeps all its promises.

Now all I have to do is test the heavy dose in the opposite manner: with long infusions and quite cool water.

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Categories: Reviews

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2 replies

  1. This may be the best sencha I’ve tried all year. The flavor and aroma were just magnificent and will be one I won’t soon forget. It May actually be in my list of top 5 teas of all time… 😀
    By the way, I really enjoy reading your blog and love the attention you put into the photography.

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