Among the novelties of August, I am very happy to present an non-shaded sencha from the village of Hoshino in Yame. Indeed, in an overwhelming way, Yame sencha are usually strongly steamed and shaded, thus favoring the umami, with in addition very often a very (too?) strong roasting. If this is the recognizable style of the region, it also masks the climatic and soil qualities of this production area. In particular, in the mountainous part of Yame, ie Joyo-machi town and the villages of Yabe and Hoshino, there are soils rich in minerals, with green shale, similar to what is found in Shizuoka, in Tenryû in particular. It is therefore a shame not to find real non shaded sencha.
And now Mr. Takaki introduces me to an Oku-hikari, a cultivar with Chinese roots, a rather rare cultivar outside Shizuoka, and non-shaded. This is a tempting combination!
This tea offers something radically different from what most Yame sencha can offer.
In first infusion, the aromas are initially fresh and vegetal, but not “raw”, it feels a slightly sweet impression.
But it is especially in the after that this sencha reveals a greater aromatic force, leaving in mouth a sweet and umami mixing sensation, fresh herbs and aromatic herbs. This sweet remains very long in the mouth, it is a very gourmand sensation that we do not suspect at the beginning. We understand the strength of the beautiful soil of Hoshino, and the interest that there is to work there without shading.
At the second infusion, we always have this fresh scent very pleasant, very “sencha” finally, with an attack this time slightly astringent aromas of aromatic herbs more marked, accompanied by reminiscence of citrus. The character of Oku-hikari is revealed more clearly. In after, always this greedy persistence, which seems to appear with more force a few minutes after tasting.
We finish with a third green and astringent infusion, with yet always this delicious sweetness in the length.
It is a sencha that clearly has great strength, with a rich aroma and a real power in the mouth. Its sweet length is exceptional, and with its astringency looming over the infusions, this tea also has a character that will delight fans of true good sencha, both typical, but also with the subtle aromas of this Oku-hikari tea tree variety. Beside the steaming a little strong, on many points, one could confuse this tea with a sencha from the rich soil of the Shizuoka mountains.
This is one of my big favorites of this season 2018, as this tea is excellent and surprising for a Yame tea. I hope that in the future, we will be able to see more teas of this type, testifying to the beautiful terroir of the mountainous areas of Yame.