With the 2019 shincha, I start my 9th new harvest season with Thés du Japon. But it is also this year my first shincha season at the Yanaka shop!
For a number of years, it’s with Mariko’s very early cultivar, Kondô-wase, who is still Shizuoka’s very first shincha, that I launch the season. If this excellent tea is already available, I also propose this year a sencha from Tanegashima (small island off Kagoshima) produced with the very early cultivar also Kurita-wase, harvested April 4.
This tea tree variety is not widely used, mainly grown in the mild climate of Kagoshima, especially on the islands of Yakushima and therefore Tanegashima from where it is native.
In 1909, Kurita Shigesaburô created in Nishinoomote on Tanegashima, a plantation from tea seeds “zairai” from Shizuoka. In 1927 he selects a tree to make the cultivar that will be named “Kurita-wase” (named after its creator, plus “wase” indicating a hasty variety). In 1966 it is designated recommended cultivar by the Kagoshima prefecture.
In addition to its very early character, it is a cultivar that does not lack personality, with a characteristic fragrance.
Here is a sencha from Nishinoomote at Tanegashima, where Kurita-wase was bred, in standard steaming, as is often the case in Tanegashima, unlike Kagoshima where fukamushi is the norm.
The non-infused leaves have a very fresh, green and a little floral fragrance, throwing is in the “shincha” mood.
The infusion gives off a very gourmand milky perfume, while in the mouth one feels a very present umami. Then develop very fresh, greenish but also floral aromas quite original.
We finally have a very strong after-taste, sweet, and very long.
It is good to start with a first warm infusion to highlight the umami of this tea, but the following infusions, a little warmer, will put even more emphasis on the milk and floral aromas of this Kurita-wase sencha, as well as a small citrus tip.
This shincha not only emphasizes freshness, but is also rich and powerful, very sweet and aromatic. First very nice surprise of this year 2019, really excellent value for money.