I mentioned last week Masui Etsuro, tea producer in Kawane through one of its sencha, Tsuyu-hikari cultivar. But more than these sencha I was first attracted by its black teas, this one in particular.
These lovely leaves are made from the Kôshun cultivar. It is basically a green tea cultivar which is characterized by an unusual floral fragrance and a relative astringency. Yet it is not uncommon to see it process as black tea, not always for the best results. But this very “green” black tea by Masui-san is great! This tea is composed of finely rolled leaves, black, with small silver tips and some more green pieces not rolled.
The scent of the leaves is very attractive, both fresh and spicy. None too mellow, good black tea scent, clean. Seen (and smell) from the appearance, it seems very engaging.
I like black teas prepare well loaded, infused not too long, but several times. With this one, careful anyway, too much leaves is not a good solution, and it is very nice with slightly warmed water, 85-90 ° C, as one would do in particular with some darjeeling 1st flush. So, with 4g for 120-150 ml, let brew 70-80s. There is certainly much better way to do I guess …
The liquor is very pure, clear orange, yellowish (not able to make it in photo). The nose, the perfume is very soft, but rich and complex. Indeed, there is the usual sweetness of Japanese black teas made with green tea cultivars, but not only that. It’s a little spicy, reminiscent of cinnamon, with light notes of aromatic citrus recalling bergamot or bitter orange. And it’s also a little floral, and here we remember the cultivar is Kôshun.
Do not rely too much on the sweetness, the soft perfume, because once in the mouth, this tea shows on a powerful attack, not aggressive, however. It’s all a bit of astringency and bitterness that get noticed before disappearing immediately in favor of spicy aromas, honey, leather. Everything remains in the mouth bringing sweetness, stimulating salivation. The impression is of a fairly dense tea, not heavy but not light either. A real good black tea, but also a real Japanese taste tea.
I recommend going for several infusions. The floral impression appears stronger in the second infusion. No bitterness this time, but a very pleasant astringency, the liquor is less rich but more elegant. Aromas returns in after-taste is stronger still, both sweet and fresh.
Completely open, the leaves are still beautiful, not broken at all, there are frank green and brown colors (ie no doubtful greenish brown), proving that the way Masui-san managed oxidation is controlled and deliberate. Seeing these whole leaf, one might think to manual harvesting, but it is not. This is not only a mechanical harvesting, but with a riding style harvester not with a small portable machine. Impressive. Furthermore, if the leaves may seem small, it is not because of an especially early harvest, but a characteristic of this Kôshun cultivar.