The arrival of the shincha this year is about a week late compared to 2018, which finally puts the 2019 harvest in the average, 2018 having been super hasty. Thus, it is only now that we enter the important phase of harvest if we exclude Kagoshima where we are rather on the end.
This year, with the Yanaka shop, I come up with some teas quite new compared to previous years, starting with the Kurita-wase from Tanegashima.
Even more surprising in my selection, here is a fukamushi from Shimada in Shizuoka, Hatsukura district bordering the Makinohara plateau more precisely.
I seem to have never or almost never presented fukamashi from these Shizuoka areas, having never had the opportunity to find any that satisfy me. Without going too much into the technical details, it is true that too many fukamushi today only spend longer time in the steam machine, and are then only more exposed to the mist (liquid water in suspension) while the steam (water in the state of gas) coming out of the boiler is not important enough, giving broken teas, of very green color. However, an unshaded tea that is actually highly steamed tends to turn yellow.
It was a bit of a coincidence that I came across this really steamed fukamushi, really typical, as I wanted for a long time, without really looking for. What’s more, it’s a Yamakai, this cultivar that I love so much!
We can observe these rather thin leaves, rather yellow, where are mixed sweet scent of young shoots, green scent of shincha, and aromas a little fruity and oily characteristic of Yamakai variety.
The infusion gives a turbid yellow green liquor of unshaded fukamushi, and again this perfume which evokes first the shincha by its freshness, then again Yamakai by its fruitiness.
The first attack is a little bit astringent, and a moderate umami appears next. It has body and it is very balanced. Indeed, if the liquor is very dense, it is not thick, thus maintaining a certain delicacy.
The aromas of Yamakai are present, not as much as in some superb regular steamed Yamakai from mountain area, but nevertheless very rich, especially in the after-taste. We find this impression a little oily and juicy evoking summer fruits, a touch of red fruit, but also a gourmand aroma that is reminiscent of Japanese pastries with pickled cherry leaf.
We could continue with two more very good infusions, a second more incisive, a third more refreshing and fluid, always with good fresh and fruity aromas, rich and juicy.
Such a wealth of aromas and scents in a dense and well-structured fukamushi (though not aggressive) is a great pleasure, and allows me to present something quite different in my selection. (we are very far from the type of fukamushi that we usually found in Kyushu)
The new teas will continue to arrive little by little, and it seems that this year 2019 starts very well … hoping that it will continue that way.