Readers of Thés du Japon newsletter already know the story of this tea, but I’ll repeat it here.
Last summer, I participated as a judge at the second edition of a competition, involving over 300 Japanese teas. There are sub-categories for each types of tea, but this competition has two main great categories, “flavor” and “perfume”. I was lucky to find me judge in the category of “perfume”, preventing me from having to taste a very significant amount of fukamushi-cha. Among the category “futsumushi-cha”, there is one that particularly attracted me. Beautiful leaves, bright and very pure liquor, rich aroma and strong taste. I imagined a mountain tea, from Hon.yama or other, during the blind tasting we do not of course know the origin of teas. It is afterwards that I learned that it was a tea made from the original cultivar from Saitama, Yume-wakaka, and also a tea from Sayama city, produced by Mr. Miyaoka. Whao! a beautiful futsumushi from Saitama Prefecture, where fukamushi dominate overwhelmingly. That’s not common. Then, Yume-wakaba is ultimately not so common. Although its official registration was extremely fast after its development, cultivated area stays very few. It is reputed to be very suitable for withering processes, and well so that’s a tea that honors this reputation.
The bulk of the production from this producer is of course the fukamushi, but he reserve some leaves picked by hand to a fine production of futsumushi (= Asamushi, here 18s steaming for Yume-wakaba). It should be added that this is his first attempt with Yume-wakaba. Great success!
For a very dense and mellow tea, a warm infusion should be a good deal, but I prefer to use hotter water, at least 80 ° C, for scents well highlighted.
From the first drops of tea poured into the cup, it is an intense fragrance, entrancing, floral and creamy that appears very clearly. These scents, where we also feel hints of banana and mandarin, are of course the “fruit” of an extremely well controlled withering process. The leaves show no sign of oxidation beginning, the liquor is very pure, a beautiful yellow green, and even a competition type examination (long infusion in boiling water) reveals no such defect as an orange, reddish or brown liqueur.
In the mouth, this sencha is powerful, it has all the strength one would expect of a Japanese steamed green tea with sweetness, umami, but not too much, as it has no astringency. The after-taste is powerful and long. There are of course a great variety of aromas, reminiscent of floral scents and fruits, with a hint of fresh vegetable, indicating a very low roasting.
The liquor is a little cloudy on the following infusions, a little less intensity, but this tea is still as pure on the palate, very velvety, still rich in aromas. A wonder I do not get tired.
This is a tea that I am particularly proud and happy to present. Such an outcome with wilting on a steamed green tea, it would be a shame to miss it.