Last spring, the Kumamoto Prefecture was hit by a series of violent earthquakes, causing much damage. Ashikita, south of the department, was safe from major damage and, Mr. Kajihara plantations have not suffered this time (last year, a landslide had partially damaged his “zairai” plantation).
For several years I propose his kama-iri cha, but here “finally” this year one of its black tea, made from famos Benifûki cultivar. I say “finally” because I was pleasantly surprised by its black teas that he served me two years ago, but back then I did not have the head for this. Then last year, I could drink a certain number of his 2015 black teas who confirmed his talent in this domain too. Kajihara-san regularly visits Taiwan, and also regularly receives a Taiwanese specialist who can advise him in the task of black tea production.
The leaves are beautiful. The work recalls indeed that of some black teas from Taiwan, long black twisted leaves, thick, one can catch them by the fingers, and worn under the nose, just one of these leaves is already so fragrant. Sweet, fruity, spicy, the scent of dry leaves is a pleasure that almost justify itself the existence of this Japanese black tea.
With 4g of leaves, 150ml water, we can infuse 2 minutes.
The infusion is also very sweet and fruity. Some candied fruit, apricot, a subtle menthol freshness, and very slight leather notes. Overall, this tea offers a gourmand scent.
In the mouth it feels just the right amount of astringency. Despite very mild flavor, the liquor flows very well in the throat. The after is very rich, it is there that speaks a multitude of flavors again very gourmand, fruity, sweet, well balanced with slight astringency that, absolutely not tannic or rough, gives much relief and strength. One can still perceive the menthol feeling, not so common with Japanese black tea.
With a good presence of elegant astringency and obvious sweet aromas, its subtle tones of leather, spice, we see a good use of the feature of Benifûki cultivar, which confirms to be an excellent cultivar for Japanese black tea .
This tea by Mr. Kajihara charmed me with the strength of its sweet and fruity aromas that are not novel, however, often when such aromas are very present, was heavy and clumsy black teas, lacking fluidity. But here it is not at all the case. The balance is found, one would drink the tea in large gulps, once started, difficult to stop.
Also, for drinking last winter the 2015 spring vintage, I assume that this is a significant potential tea. He will greatly evolve in the coming months, getting more rich and complex. This is one of my great favorite of recent times. I wanted to propose the 2015, but this tea has great demand and last winter, it was obviously too late. I had to show myself patient and wait for the 2016 vintage, excellent but still young, full of promise.