2016 sencha from Ôma, Yabikuta and Yamakai

I have already mentioned Ôma and Mr. Nakamura’s sencha (Yabukita cultivar) that I constantly recommend. The small village of Ôma is located at an altitude of over 700m, in Ôkawa sector. This is the most remote part of the so-called “Hon.yama” tea along the courtyard of the river Warashina (Honyama refers to teas from north of the city of Shizuoka, in the mountains around rivers Abe and Warashina).

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But this year, I’m very glad of being able to get in exclusivity its Yamakai, a cultivar that I particularly like. Ôma and Yamakai, what’s a lovely combination !

The leaves of Mr. Nakamura’s sencha are always rolled quite thickly, but this is even more evident this year. Two stunning mountain teas, reflecting the terroir of Ôma, and grower’s style.

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Yamakai on the left, Yabukita on the right

I want to say that the Yabukita, unsurprisingly, fully meets my expectations, fragrant, sweet, tough, robust but subtle, silky in the mouth and throat. This is not a tea which highlights umami, yet even brewed hot, it is not tannic, not astringent.
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I was especially excited by the prospect of tasting the Yamakai by Nakamura-san. This sencha did not disappoint me and was even able to surprise me.
The scent of leaves leaves no doubt about the cultivar, it is indeed Yamakai, with its characteristic scent so rich, fruity, mineral, oily (?), hard to describe, some evoke mayonnaise, others melon, etc.
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For tea this tea also, water at 80-85 ° C will be preferable. Those flavors so characteristics are present, but with some restraint. There is also a slightly creamy aroma, a little something like humus. On the palate, the first attack is very light, clear. Then Yamakai aromas develop, followed by a pleasant sweetness, with a perfect touch of umami. No astringency. It’s surprising, but it seems Yamakai finer, more subtle than the Yabukita. The both have clear mountain tea characteristics, expressing themselves much on the nose and in the after-taste, with a lot of presence while being light, but their character is different, so Yabukita is a but boor and brute while Yamakai is more refined, charming. But it does not hide its mountain origins, the following infusions are more robust, less aromatic but with more punch.

Anyway, here I recommend those “two brothers” more than ever. Ideally, it is best not to separate them, taste them both alternately.

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Categories: Coverage, Reviews, Tea producing area

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