The teas from mountainous areas of Shizuoka play an important role in my selection, they represent a personal ideal with low steamed teas, unshaded, produced on small production lines and high processing skills, etc.
We often evokes three major producing areas in the mountains in Shizuoka, Hon.yama, then west Kawane, and then further west, depending on the city of Hamamatsu, Tenryû 天竜, extending northward along the river of the same name. It is a region that seems even wilder than Hon.yama, less developed, plantations are even fewer, and less visible if you do not sink in the mountains, because in the past, because of the impetuosity the Tenryû River, the activity does not develop directly on its banks, and concentrated further up the mountainside.
I present this year of three beautiful Tenryû Sencha.
– The first is an organic tea from Misakubo area, the northernmost of the three, at the higher altitude sector.
This is a Yabukita cultivar.
The leaves are delicately fragrant, evoking the fresh hay, very fragrant.
A hot infusion enough (I mean that it is not necessary to use a very warmed water 70 ° C, as with most of these mountain sencha, 80-90 ° C seems to me more efficient) will give a subtle flavored and refined liquor, with aromas of sweet butter, vanilla, and hot sand.
This sencha happens in the mouth gently, before offering aromas of leather and wood, then a more floral and creamy whole. There is no astringency and this liquor is very silky.
Sweetness and mellowness appear naturally in the after, with a bit of umami, still in the refinement.
This sencha really play at a very high level. It will not satisfy strong boosted umami fans, but has purity and perfect balance.
– The second is another Yabukita, grown without pesticide in Sakuma area.
The leaves have a sharper flavor, sweet, thanks to the stronger hi-ire drying, but retain the pleasant and natural scent of fresh hay, here more mellow and soft.
Again, a relatively hot infusion give a richly flavored tea, this time evoking the cooked butter, sweet.
The attack is strong, and this sencha have pretty much volume. In cons-party, we have a slightly tannic texture, a less delicate liqueur. Umami, although reasonable, is also stronger. The hi-ire gives more sugar and ripe fruits aromas to this sencha.
The after is also very rich.
This sencha is a frank and powerful.
– The third tea is a Kôshun cultivar from Tatsuyama, hand-picked.
The leaves have the sweet scent, both sweet and floral, fresh, characteristic of Kôshun.
With this variety, there is no hesitation, the water should be hot.
Here one finds a very aromatic tea, rich flavor, slightly mineral, floral and sweet.
The first attack is lively but not aggressive, with a very brief and light touch of astringency, appear finally in the mouth a very airy impression, with a little mineral texture, that reveals powerful aromas in the after-taste. First rather green, this after gradually becomes very sweet and gentle. One can fell the Kôshun characteristics fruity mellowness, but without emphasis.
The after is the highlight of this sencha, with remarkable length. The aromatic characteristics of Kôshun nevertheless remain very soft.