First of all, let’s remind what’s means and ncludes the name “Uji tea”. In general, the term “Uji-cha” 宇治茶 designate tea cultivated in the prefecture of Kyôto. There are several growing areas, south of the city of Kyôto, but among them, the city of Uji itself produces very few quantities, but matcha and gyokuro produced in the historic area of Shirakawa 白川 are renowned. Kyo-Tanabe 京田辺, Uji-tawara 宇治田原, Joyo 城陽, Minami-Yamashiro 南山城, or Wazuda 和束 are more important.
But in reality, the name of “Uji tea” is not limited to this, and a blend, if it contains more than 50% of tea produced in the Kyôto prefecture, could also be called “Uji tea” when contains tea from the prefectures of Mie, Nara and Shiga.
The “Uji tea” I present today is obviously not fit in the latter case, since it comes from Wazuka 100%, produced by Mr. Minato. A particularity of Wazuka is to produce much non shaded teas, “pure” sencha, while there is a very important proportion of shaded tea (matcha gyokuro, kabuse-cha) in “Uji”.
This is the cultivar Tsuyu-hikari, crossbreed between Asatsuyu and Shizu-7132, very typical tasted parents !
We have dry leaves with quite vegetable scents. First, we remember of course Asatsuyu but this impression is amplified by the fact that the hi-ire (final roasting or drying) is relatively weak as often in Uji. There are also floral and sweet notes, which can subtly remind shizu7132’s brined sakura/cherry leaves Japanese pastries aromas.
A 4g infusion with 70ml of water at 70 ° C, 1 minute, gives a dense tea, very sweet, rich in umami. Nevertheless, the umami is not the only dominant, we have rich and complex tea, with floral and humus aromas which gives a very warm impressions, almost tropical. Yet the flavors more “green” in the after provide a finish with a different impressions.
The length particularly powerfull and let very gently mellowness that remain in the mouth.
In addition, the fragrance fit to the general impression, with cooked vegetable but also floral and a little something more mineral aromas, ultimately very typical Tsuyu-hikari characteristics.
The following brews show no radical change, and are especially soft and dense, strong, always with great length, little or no astringency.
Beyond the aromatic qualities of this very enjoyable Tsuyu-hikari cultivar sencha from Wazuka, his great power and depth are very remarkable. Indeed, it seems to me that “Uji tea” too often give image of shaded tea with umami but also very hollow, flat, without personality. This is unfortunately often true with teas of many leading brands selling us “Uji tea”, just as a brand, which eventually will sell whatever their real qualities. This is why in part the reason I never got me a lot in sourcing Uji tea (the difficulty of finding unblended teas is also a big reason), before good encounters put me face to very interesting teas, particularly from Wazuka precisely.
I hope “Uji teas” I will propose this year will go against this image of “subtlety” (word taken in the bad sense of the term), and will show a region where teas could honor its history and reputation.