I had already presented a few months ago a tamaryokucha from Sonogi (pref. Nagasaki) by Mr. Matsuo. It was then the cultivar Samidori (not Saemidori), a tea with a strong final hi-ire drying, very well mastered, typical of this producer’s production. In this new season 2018, I propose an Asatsuyu from the same producer, for which I asked for a low final drying (hi-ire).
The plantation was shaded 9 days. Also, if I indicate 80 ° C for the first infusion on Thés du Japon and on the bags, 70 ° C will also be very good option.
This tea presents above all a sweet perfume with certainly vegetable notes, but above all an impression of warmth, of roundness.
On the palate, we are at first in softness, umami, hints of humus too. It is after that we feel a very green flavor, something that evokes nori seaweed (this mixture of green and umami caracteristics of shaded teas).
The typical bean fragrance of the Asatsuyu cultivar remains very discreet here, yet the intense aromas of green and sweet vegetables, seem to me rather characteristic; different from the more “raw” vegetable that is found for example in the Saemidori cultivar.
The second infusion, warmer, gives more strengh to the perfume, the sweetness becoming fruitier, and the very warm impression that dominate the first infusion leaving more room to the greenish pole, more spring impression. On the palate there is more freshness, and the green character of Asatsuyu seems more present.
One has the impression of a rather strong contrast between the aromas of the first infusion and the second.
The tamaryokucha is a steamed green tea like sencha or gyokuro, but the fourth phase of rolling / drying (seijû) of these is not proceeded. Instead, the leaves pass through two stages of drum drying without rolling (one by hot air, the other by hot contact). Thus, with this stronger drying process, tamaryokucha tends to always have a less fresh and incisive fragrance, but warmer and round, close to a scent of roasting. It seems to me that this impression is more present on the first infusion, while the following become more green (the final roasting/drying, hi-ire, being here relatively weak). Also, the third phase of rolling (chûjû) being the last one, this one is also often carried out more strongly. This characteristic is very strong in Mr. Matsuo who does not care about the shape, preferring the strength of the taste brought by a heavy rolling.
Finally, this tamaryokucha is very robust tea, not frankly subtle but still very rich, and without heavy thickness despite very long steaming (almost 2 minutes). The evolution of aromas towards more greenery (very typical fukamushi) is also very interesting.