After the excellent Kôshun from Ashikita, here’s again a black tea, this time coming from the prefecture of Saitama, from Iruma city to be more precise. Certain may have guessed, it is a tea by Hiruma Yoshiaki. Last year, I presented a 2015 summer harvest Musashi-kaori cultivar, and here is a 2016 2nd flush black tea Yume-wakaba cultivar.
Hiruma-san is one of the producers whose I generally enjoy black teas. Besides its reputation in the field of temomi-cha (sencha hand-kneaded), this producer is also known for his UV treatment process of the leaves, for which he created a machine linked to his production line. This allows it to reproduce some of the effects of outdoors wilting. This machine comes into play both in the case of its sencha and its black teas, a type of tea for which, as we know, wilting is of capital importance.
In his plantations, Mr. Iruma also exploits as much as possible the bites of these small insects called “unka” in Japan (it is obviously not easy to control the arrival of these small animals). The peculiar scent of tea leaves which have been attacked by these insects is due to the production in the leaves of a substance whose perfume attract predatory insects of unka. So it will be a self-defense.
Like Musashi-kaori, Yume-wakaba is also a tea plant variety from Saitama. This 2016 black tea has general profile quite close to that of 2015, the manufacturing process being identical, the fragrance due to the unka being I imagine similar whatever the cultivar (even with Yabukita, M. Hiruma makes good black teas). Nevertheless, in the nuances and details of the flavors, there are some rather clear differences.
The fragrance of dry leaves is clearly sweet, with these typical “honey” aromas.
With this tea I prefer this time a relatively long infusion, at least 2min with 3g for 120-150 ml of water. The liquor may appear a somewhat dark tone, but it is at the same time very clear, luminous and bright. This tea seems to me rather strongly roasted.
The fragrance of honey still appears very clearly, intense, with a delicious note of caramel. I also feel a floral velvety impression, accompanied by a menthol impression. It’s very rich, really addictive and intense.
The attack in the mouth is very light (a constant for 2016 summer harvest teas??), then there is no trace of astringency. On the other hand, in the after-taste and the returns, it is still sweet aromas very rich and gourmands in the same line than the scents. In addition, with a very long lasting flavor in mouth, these leaves will still give a superb 2nd infusion, equally full of flavors.
It is a very rich black tea, very fluid in the throat too, and which will please those who do not like the tannic side of many black teas and prefer some strong oxide wulong, to which this black tea is similar in some of its aromas.