For August, I just added a few selection of new kama-iri cha, a type of tea that seems to me to fit perfectly in the summer, and whose perfumes were able to get matured since in the spring.
Besides the famous Benifûki from Ureshino, already present in 2015, there is a new tea from Gokase, very special tea from Tosa which I will present next time, and a Fuji-kaori cultivar from Fujieda (Shizuoka Prefecture).
In reality, there is not any Fuji-kaori, since it comes from Koyanagi Tsutomu’s plantations, the son of Koyanagi Miyoshi who developed this cultivar with Morizono Ichiji. This is a crossbreed between Shizu-Inzatsu 131 (flower / seed) and Yabukita (pollen) (this is also the inverse of the cross that gave Sôfû or Kondô-wase for these two last, it’s Yabukita who gave the seed). Fuji-kaori was registered in 1996.
Although this cultivar attracted much attention for its unique jasmine-like fragrance, it is actually still quite uncommon. Of course, cultivars developed by private persons, not public research centers, have less ability to spread, but anyway, it seems that the two creators did not want to see their amazing “baby” spread so much beyond the limits of Fujieda and have been therefore reluctant to dispose of cuttings. However, Mr. Koyanagi father especially saw in this cultivar opportunities as kama-iri cha, which is why he gave cuttings to the father of Yûsuke Ôta from Ureshino to see him make a Fuji-kaori in Kama-iri cha style from Ureshino, a region that was once a land traditionally dedicated to the kama-iri cha. This is why there is a Fuji-kaori from Ureshino, I propose on Thés du Japon for several years (without knowing this history until very recently, and indeed, Ôta san himself does not know when his father received exactly this cultivar cuttings from Mr. Koyanagi father).
In short, this cultivar keeps a somewhat exclusive side. I’m going to put me in search of a steamed version, because indeed, Koyanagi Tsutomu produces only kama-iri cha.
So for the story, but what about the tea itself?
The leaves have a singular perfume that reflects the experience that will provide the infusion. This is a very sweet, floral scent, with strong mineral texture.
It is not necessary to put a lot of leaves. For my usual 70-80 ml, 3 or 3.5g is amply enough. Water at 80 ° C, and a large minute of infusion.
The scent is indeed very sweet, floral and especially recalls jasmine. But in these sweet aromas one can also feel something like sweet corn, and white grapes too.
In the mouth, the liquor is very light, silky, without any aggressiveness. This tea is expressed primarily in retro-olfaction with aromas returns in throat and nose, which are then sweet and floral. Feelings on the palate are mineral and humus. There is no astringency, but there is no umami. The slight sweetness of this tea is purely sweet. Finally, there is a light and delicate after-taste, without emphasis, just refreshing and slightly aromatic.
All in the same vein, we will get 3 or 4 good infusion of the leaves.
Floral and sweet aromas of this kama-iri cha are really unique and amazing. But even more than his originality it is its addictive nature that charm me most. Indeed, we find teas giving more excitement, teas with more relief, yet this Fuji-kaori constantly makes you want to taste it again, I do not get tired and have something making me always come back to it.
Moreover, this kama-iri cha from Fujieda is more unusual than Ureshino’s one. The characteristics of the cultivar appear in a much stronger way. But the Ureshino’s one is closer to “traditional” Kyûshû kama-iri cha.