Alongside Hon.yama (town of Shizuoka) and Tenryû (town of Hamamatsu), Kawane is one of the three major regions of Shizuoka mountain tea production. So far, I have presented sencha from the Tsuchiya’s (Mizukawa sector), from Mr. Masui (Aobe), and from this year, teas from Mr. Konishi, from the Moto-Fujikawa area. This is one of the traditional areas of Kawane sencha production and numbers of producers are very active in the field of contests and temomi-cha (there is a particular method in Kawane called “kawane-momikiri-ryu “).
(* Photos taken on April 24, 2017, at least two weeks prior to the beginning of the harvest in this area.) The Shizu-7132 was harvested on May 15 and Kôshun on May 19 and 21.)
Mr. Konishi, who is still young in light of the large number of veterans in the area, has opted for a pesticide-free crop, with organic fertilizers, and a variety of scent-oriented cultivars rather than strong umami cultivar. I propose to you his Kôshun and his Shizu-7132.
Shizu-7132 is a breed developed from a seed of Yabukita, famous for its perfume reminiscent of the “sakura-mochi” pastry, but also for its instability. Also, this unusual sweet scent is not always very clear, but, it seems that the terroir of Moto-fujikawa as well as the methods of cultivation and manufacture of Mr. Konishi made a great deal with this tea this year.
The fragrance of dried leaves, sweet and sour, is typical of 7132, really very gourmand.
The infusion gives a perfume at first more discreet, although unequivocal as to this cultivar. In the mouth this tea arrived very soft and silky, fluid, with many aromas, sweeter than umami. These Japanese pastry flavors are unique, hard to express, evoking the “pickled” cherry leaf, as well as the fermented sweet grappe. We also feel in the after-taste fresh greenish notes that counterbalance well the sweetness of this aftertaste. The very long lasting length in the mouth is impressive.
Perhaps less refined than that from Hon.yama, this Shizu-7132 from Kawane is also more typical and representative of this unusual cultivar.
With Kôshun, we are on a cultivar just as unique, but also more stable, whose aromas usually emerge very well. Nevertheless, this sencha of Kawane also seems to make good use of this cultivar and this terroir.
This cultivar is known for its stimulating floral fragrance, which can become more fruity with stronger firing (hi-ire). If those of Tamakawa or Shimizu that I propose on Thés du Japon are rather in the second category, this one from Kawane would rather be in floral with its light firing. Yet, this tea is not aggressive. Its fragrance is floral, with certainly this impression of “big wild yellow flower”, but also with a more sweet floral touch bringing depth.
In the mouth, this tea is also silky and smooth. We first feel a little astringent touch which then turns into umami. The after-taste characteristic floral aromas, and the long lasting length in the mouth are still exceptional. The evolution of aromas with each infusion is also very interesting.
Here are two very aromatic teas, Shizu-7132 rather expressing in mouth and in throat whereas Kôshun is first very present in the nose then in the length. One as the other are very smooth, silky, yet the power of the aromas is formidable.
I am very pleased to be able to present this terroir and this producer from Kawane for the first time this year.