Yamakai cultivar sencha from Yabe village in Yame

As announced, I propose a very rich range of novelties for the month of July. First a very nice selection of first flush Japanese black tea on which I will return very soon, but also a large number of green teas, sencha essentially.

I had already briefly mentioned it, here is a sencha from Yame, Yamakai cultivar.

Yamakai, or Shizu-7166, is a tea tree variety that I particularly enjoy. It has a very particular perfume that was for a long time the cause of its disgrace, but today contributes to its success among the amateurs.

Of course, very rare, it is most often grown in Shizuoka, the regulars of Thés du Japon certainly already know those of Oma and Tamakawa, and, great novelty this year, that of Wazuka.

This time, it is in Yame, in the village of Yabe more precisely that I found this rarity. It is a sencha from the same Yabe producer whose I have already proposed Yabukita sencha. Learning that he cultivates Yamakai, without using it for making superior sencha, I asked him to make me a good sencha, not shaded. Then here I am with a Yame Yamakai, grown at about 550m altitude, unshaded, without pesticide or chemical fertilizer, “fukamushi” steaming but not too deep … and especially very good enhancing the aromatics characteristics of Yamakai. It’s not just about using Yamakai, it’s about having the necessary personality. The bet is successful!

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The scent of dry leaves is simply great. First milky, we then find the aromas of red fruits that characterize Yamakai.

The aromas of the infusion are on the nose quite similar, richer still, to the first impression. We first have a milky, sweet and intense scent, with raspberry and wafer aromas.

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On the palate it is overall gourmet and sweet with these aromas of red fruit jam. One feels umami without this being the main element of the taste of this tea. The astringency is very light but comes to give deepness.

In the same tendency, the second infusion is just as mellow, but a stronger presence of roasting aromas, relatively strong as often in Yame (but roasting suits very well in Yamakai).

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In short, this sencha responds perfectly to my expectations. Highly characteristic is the Yamakai tea cultivar, but it is quite different from the Yamakai of Shizuoka. This producer is confirmed for me as extremely talented, and the village of Yabe shows the value of its terroir. Is it necessary to specify it? but that’s one of my biggest favorites of the season.



Categories: Reviews

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