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