I already presented a few months ago “the history” of this unusual cultivar on the occasion of the launching of the Fuji-kaori cultivar kama-iri cha from Fujieda. It is an inzatsu-type cultivar, a cross between Shizu-inzatsu 131 (♀) and Yabukita (♂) by Professor Morizono and Fujieda producer Koyanagi Miyoshi (whose son, Tsutomu, produces the kama-iri cha Mentioned above).
Yamamoto Yûji, also from Fujieda, was the first after Mr. Koyanagi to introduce this cultivar.
With this sencha, one understands better why this cultivar did not spread as much as recently Sôfû, nevertheless coming from an almost identical crossing, Yabukita (♀) and Shizu-inzatsu 131 (♂)
Of course, the fact that it does not come from a research center makes it more difficult to spread cuttings to many growers. The fact that it was “monopolized” by the city of Fujieda as a local brand (under the name “fujieda kaori”) does not help as well. But it is also true that the peculiar perfume of Fuji-kaori does not appear very strongly in sencha (steamed green tea) compared to what it gives in kama-iri cha (pan-fired green tea), and also does not have the stability of Sôfû. Indeed, the latter probably inherits much of the stability, health of his “mother” (tree that gave the seed) Yabukita, while Fuji-kaori’s “mother” is Inzatsu 131, more unstable and “difficult”. It is said that a cultivar often inherits the temperament of the seed-donor tea while inheriting pollen-donor flavors (I’m not sure this is really accurate). Interesting examples are the varieties of the so-called “7000” series, all seeds of Yabukita with varied, unknown fathers. There are Yamakai (Shizu-7166), Kurasawa (Shizu-7111) and of course Shizu-7132, all of them good cultivars with very different aromas of Yabukita. In short, having Inzatsu 131 for the donor of the seed was ambitious.
Here is a steamed green tea Fuji-kaori, a sencha by one of the pioneers of this cultivar.
We have leaves quite broken, not very homogeneous. The perfume is fresh, green and certainly floral, but without comparison with the jasmine fragrance of the kama-iri cha leaves of Koyanagi-san.
Fuji-kaori has a certain roundness, maybe inherits from Yabukita, a mellowness we might not get with a Sôfû of identical range. Also, a relatively warm first infusion, 60-70 ° C, slow, will be a good option to prepare this tea.
This makes it possible to enjoy a first round infusion, with umami, a lot of strength without aggressiveness, a slight astringency perhaps, and floral aromas of bitter almond that appear in the aftertaste.
Let’s make it clear, this tea isn’t easy to prepare. The timing of pouring is important. If one takes care not to leave too much to open the leaves, one will obtain a first infusion clear, very pleasant with these delicate aromas.
For me, the second infusion is the more difficult. In order to get more perfume, one is tempted to quickly rise the infusion temperature. But it is better to increase gradually to avoid a large rise of astringency (in other words, let’s keep in mind this is a steamed green tea). We then get more impact in the mouth but aromas get softer. On the other hand, the third infusion surprises, more astringent but also more fluid nevertheless, it leaves while cooling down a little appear more clearly in the nose this time the floral aromas and bitter almond and jasmine scent of this cultivar. It is amazing to make a fourth infusion, very hot, longer, for a very suitable result.
To finish, this sencha is certainly difficult, but always pleasant. In addition, there is a great potential that one cannot help but want to bring out better, thus pushing us to experiment, to return to it incessantly. It is for me one of these teas far from being free of defects but to which one get attached to (it is also a tea that will get better a few days or even weeks after opening of the bag).
Finally, in parallel with the kama-iri cha from Fujieda, we have here to two teas that tell a lot about the differences between steamed tea and kama-iri type tea.
I’m looking forward to see how the 2017 spring crop will be.