In 2016 I had the great pleasure of presenting a sencha from Asamiya (in the Shiga prefecture, Asamiya is a production area with ancient history, located just north of the border with Wazuka and Uji-tawara) made with the great cultivar Kôshun. However, this variety is extremely rare outside Shizuoka and it was a great pleasure to be able to taste and share such a tea presenting both the characteristics of the kansai area teas and the aromas of Kôshun. It was also the year of the Shizuoka World Tea Festival, and I must say that on the Japan Tea stand, this Kôshun was well noticed. Too much: impossible to get your hands on in 2017, when several Kansai sellers had added to their catalog, yet before, the producer had a hard time selling his aracha (unrefined raw tea). It must be added that the latter, under the demands of wholesalers, produced a portion of his Kôshun in kabuse-cha, to have a green tea soup (I had also get a little of this ersatz). But for 2018, no question! I, but also other sellers made it clear to the producer that it was better to have an unshaded Kôshun, and I reserved a batch of Aracha in advance.
(Photos taken on April 11, 2018, while the harvest will take place on May 10)
So here is Asamiya’s kôshun back on Thés du Japon!
If I regret a little not having done a hi-ire (roasting / final drying) a little stronger to give it more strength to the nose, I also remember that in 2016, this sencha’s aromas got stronger from autumn.
If the perfume is indeed discreet, it is nevertheless without a doubt the typical scent of Kôshun. It is a sweet perfume, evoking small wild flowers, bitter almond, with a touch of coriander and thyme also. But here, these typical aromas remain very soft, and quite appreciable also for those who are not necessarily fans of this particular cultivar.
The attack on the palate is also sweet, we then feel a very slight hint of astringency, a little umami, and especially the rich aromas of Kôshun who come to express themselves above all in the after-taste. What we guessed on the nose then appears with force. Thus, despite its lightness, this liquor still has a beautiful presence because of its very aromatic character.
Second and third infusions follow with grace and fluidity, never frankly astringent or tannic, with a superb aromatic and sweet length.
Ones have understood that Asamiya’s Kôshun Sencha is particularly close to my heart, and that, more so, just like Wazuka’s unshaded Gokô sencha, it is a cornerstone of my selection this year and, I hope so, in the years to come.
I would recommend it tasted in parallel with the Kôshun from Kawane (the comparison with Tamakawa or Shimizu is of course interesting but less appropriate because of the stronger final roasting of the latter).
It is a sencha very affordable to (re) discover absolutely.