Fuji, Kirishima, Yame, and by early 2015 season Wazuka, are all production regions from which I had the pleasure to introduce Tsuyu-hikari cultivar sencha, popular crossbreed between Asatsuyu and Shizu-7132. It is now a Tsuyu-hikari from Kawane famous mountain tea production area of Shizuoka.
Masui Etsuro cultivated tea for over thirty years with no use of pesticide. It is after having practiced farming several years in Senegal and the United States he returned to his native Shizuoka start the production of tea. The cultivars and the use of wilting process are the key to his work. He’s growing Yabukita of course, but also Kôshun, Shizu7132, Mirai and therefore Tsuyu-hikari and produce sencha, black tea and oolong tea.
For this Tsuyu-hikari sencha, the leaves are wilted 14 h before being steamed. The leaves are a bit broken, but wilting and steaming (oxidation stop) process are very clean.
One does not find the typical floral scent of wilting like green oolong but dry leaves give off a subtle but dense perfume, round and fresh, evoking spring, with also a very special plant aromas, in which fans easily will recognize a typical scent inherited from Asatsuyu.
Water warmed slightly, but not too much, for a balanced brew, mellow but flavorful.
Indeed, here, the so caracteristic perfume inherited from Asatsuyu: sweet but very green, recalling “eda-mame” bean flavors but also with a very oily texture, like dry sausage. I would say that these characteristics are even stronger in this Tsuyu-hikari than in many Asatsuyu.
In the mouth it is light a sencha, with a touch of astringency, but very smoothly. Yet the mellowness is not an excess of umami, it is a vegetable “sweet”. Umami only appears discreetly in length, with others very pleasant aromas. The flavors are those typical of this cultivar.
While we understand the power of this difficult process that is withering (not only that it is not common in Japan, but also that the climate is less suitable there than in most other tea producing countries), his mastery, dosage allow both as is the case here to highlight the characteristics of a tea, or, when this technique is more heavily used show the typical scent of withering while leaves characteristic became nuances.
On the following infusions, never do this sencha is aggressive. Yet this is the type of tea which I describe as rustic, with aromas that smell the mountain, reminiscent of terroir, but appearing forcefully in the after, in the length, with a sweetness that stimulates salivation.
Lovers of this cultivar will appreciate. Lovers of simple but powerful teas too.