As the 2016 teas arrive in numbers, it is a difficult time to write regularly for the blog. While spring harvest are over all over the country (very early this year), the finishing process (drying, sorting, etc.) are not yet, and there is still a lot of teas to see, not counting events prepare, etc.
2015 references come back with their 2016 vintage, but this year I will also have a lot of news to introduce, within days or weeks, and later also.
I would like as much as possible, not to present “isolated” cultivar teas, ie have at least two teas of the same cultivar for comparison. This is the case with these two Meiryoku, one from Wazuka (Kyôto) and the other from Hoshino (Yame). The first is different from those of last year, and the second is a tea by Mr. Takaki which I already presented on Thés du Jaon for its gyokuro and Fuji-Midori + Oku-midori sencha.
Besides the cultivar, these two have in common to be shaded. On the other hand that of Wazuka is a futsumushi (regular steamed) while the Hoshino and a fukamushi (long steamed). The first has a light firing, while the second is fired more strongly.
Leaves of Meiryoku from Wazuka have a pleasant scent : leather notes, starch, a little lemon too. The infusion (70 ° C) gives a soup also very fragrant, sweet, with aromas of leather again, cooked vegetables, a velvety feeling, quite dense.
When the tea slip into the mouth right away you feel a great aromatic richness, true to the impressions felt in the nose, and then, very quickly, all seems calm. While we expect a lot of density, even heaviness, on the palate, it is not so, it is very light. Then, after a little time, the after-taste rises powerful, settles in the mouth a balance between sweetness, umami, and little bitter vegetables impression.
The sencha from Yame’s dry leaves have a more regular flavor, certainly very pleasant also, of a well-dosed roasting on a fukamushi. It is stimulating but mild and pleasant. The brewing, again 70 ° C, gives a tea fragrance lighter than its cousin from Uji. Rather sweet with vanilla notes, there are also leather notes. These sweet aromas evoke here rather raw vegetables, something greener. In the mouth it is again a lighter liquor than what would be expected at first, even if this time we have a stronger umami mellowness presence in the mouth.
If tasting these two Meiryoku cultivar sencha shows differences mainly due to the production method (traditional steaming which gives more flavor for one and a long steaming which gives more umami for the other), it also shows commonalities which are undoubtedly characteristic of the Meiryoku cultivar. The taste is light, but aromas appears with power on the nose and throat. This contrast gives teas that have the strength and density of the shaded tea flavors without having any heaviness in the mouth. It is very interesting and makes me want to discover unshaded Meiryoku, different regions still.