Some would probably noticed the absence of tea from Fuji by Mr. Akiyama in my 2015 selection for Thés du Japon. It is of course no question of making without this year. So to celebrate beginning of the new year, here come his Sôfû cultivar Sencha, from a “shizen-shitate” plantation, therefore a manual harvest.
Sôfû cultivar is certainly unusual but also very famous and popular among the tea connoisseurs. This is a crossbreed between Yabukita and Shizu-Inzatsu 131 (himself crossing a Japanese variety and a variety from India Assam). Sôfû combines perfectly the balance of one and the rich flavors of the other.
The scent of dry tea leaves is a little floral, sweet and tart, particularly stimulating and appetizing.
With such a cultivar, it is preferable not to over cool water, 80-85 ° C for the first brew should be ok.
Without being aggressive, the scent is intense. It includes unusual floral aromas caracteristic of “inzatsu” type cultivars, and despite a low roasting (final drying hi-ire), the scents of small white flowers appear indented without any emphasis, just like a tone bringing deepness to the perfume of this tea.
In the mouth, this tea appears velvety, with a soft first attack, which is followed by umami, then, rich and sweet floral aromas of this cultivar. A touch of astringency appears briefly, giving it even more depth.
The second infusion, as often, is fresher, with always sweet aromas of sour candy. Everything is lighter on the palate, refreshing and more silky. Less umami, but no astringency. Then floral aromas appear in the after. Then, delayed, after a few moments, a nice mellowness appears in all the mouth.
With a third hot infusion, still no astringency. The aromas are more discreet, very thin, but still present. We have then something more fruity, almost evoking citrus. And then there is always this delicious mellowness that invades the mouth afterwards.
What is the most remarkable in this Sôfû cultivar sencha, is above all its balance, its overall quality. The characteristics of the cultivar do not appear too much, they are a part, recognizable, of a wonderfull set of aromas. Umami is very present in the first infusion but also well balanced, extremely fine. This is another fine example of what can be done with an Inzatsu type cultivar, a real good Japanese tea, not only unusual curiosity.