From Hon.yama, I go to another famous mountain tea growing area of Shizuoka, Kawane-honcho.
I already had for the 2014 season presented a tea Mr. Tsuchiya, a sublime Oku-hikari, (I will release the 2015 vintage after several months of maturation on October).
Meanwhile, it is a sencha a bit more high grade, a splendid Yabukita that I present today. Just like the sencha from Tamakawa, or even that of Okawa, this is an unmissable!
The Tsuchiya estate, about 600 m above sea level, is not very big, the factory is tiny (can be much smaller than it was given me to see so far), a 35K line (now small farms typically operate with a line of 60K).
This Yabukita is first visually pleasant. Long and thin leaves, uniform color. They are silky to the touch, flow smoothly between the fingers. Nose is also wonderful. Their scent is not intrusive, but it is fresh with spring impression, sweet without strong roasting, in short this is very good Yabukita, the fragrance of excellent sencha.
The infused liqueur is so clear, bright and captivating.
Purity, velvety flavors, strength, length in the mouth, are the characteristic of this sencha.
No aggressiveness in the first attack, yet the density of aromas that develop then on the palate is remarkable. Of course, with Yabukita no tastes eccentricity, but harmony between sweetness, umami, the fruity notes, a touch of of astringency, is simply a rare delight. The long finish seems endless, very strong, the after is incredibly powerful, but everything still keeps a kind of delicacy, less wild than what is found with my Hon.yama.
This purity of the aromas remains the key-word on multiple infusions. The liquor itself remains a flawless beauty, but also the flavors are not disturbed by astringency or bitterness. Still powerful in the mouth, throat, this green tea is still silky and fine.
After four or five infusions, one hesitates between redo a session from new leaves, or rather conduct a comparative tasting with other Yabukita from Hon.yama ( Yokosawa or Okawa-Oma) or Tenryû (but that will be for October …) for mountain terroirs of Shizuoka, or even lower by the sea, a Yabukita from Nihon-Daira.
All teas from my selection for one reason or another a “recommendation” but not everyone has the same level of priority. This one is at the top of the list, to be discover absolutely, both for its own qualities, and as an important element of understanding of Japanese tea it brings.