Each year I propose a non-shaded sencha from Wazuka (Kyoto) by the very talented Mr. Kagoshima. Two years ago in particular, I proposed his Saemidori, really great. But the good reputation of this producer and the overgrown success of the Saemidori cultivar have meant that since last year this tea has become too expensive, at least much more than want to put in this cultivar. I took instead his Oku-midori, good, classic, but not very original. Before I remember that Mr. Kagoshima also produces a Gokô, a cultivar that I value enormously, and that he produces unshaded, moreover!
Indeed, Gokô is a very famous local cultivar, selected from a “zairai” tea tree of Uji. It is a variety considered for shaded teas, and mainly used, to our delight, for high-end gyokuro.
As I often say about the ” Uji tea ” (= tea produced in the Kyôto prefecture, then of Nara, Mie, Shiga, under certain conditions in blend) the real (I mean non-shaded) sencha are rare, indeed, in Uji we talk about “kabuse-cha” only after 14 days of shading.
Of course, having a non-shaded Gokô is even rarer. And above all, the result is up to expectations; it is both an excellent Uji sencha and excellent Gokô, and therefore one of my very big recommendations for this year.
The preparation of this sencha, without being difficult, requires a little attention.
If you choose to use water around 70 ° C for the first infusion, you can pour a little less water than usual for 4 g of leaves, I would say 60-65ml, and infuse for a little more than a minute. However we can also use warmer water, 80-85 ° C, making sure this time to use a more generous water dosage of 70-80ml (but isn’t it obvious actually?).
The result is a sencha that smells so good Gokô!
On the nose as well as on the palate, we find its particular fruity aromas that evoke candied fruits, raisins and figs. For a moment, we expect to receive in the mouth the thick and full-of-umami liquor of a good gyokuro from Uji, then it is on the contrary a tea tasty and complex, but light and refreshing, with a subtle touch of umami, and a very slight or no astringency depending on the preparation.
The following infusions give the same sweet and fruity aromatic sensations, a liquor always light and fluid, little astringency, and a gourmand, long and fruity after-taste.
You’ll understand, I particularly like this sencha. Beyond its obvious aromatics qualities, it is also an interesting element of study of this essential cultivar that is Gokô, giving a good non-shaded example against kabuse-cha and gyokuro, which will also arrive on Thés du Japon in August and September.
Uji cultivars are very rare outside Kyôto prefecture, yet some like Gokô and Uji-midori in particular are varieties of great values that deserve to be more exposed, and especially not to disappear in favor of recent varieties like Saemidori which only seem to aim at umami and a green color, without strong aromatic characteristic.
For the pleasure of the eyes, I ended up with the beautiful landscapes of Wazuka since the plantations of Mr. Kagoshima.