Here’s two sencha already online for some time, two sencha that may seem quite similar but yet quite different.
These are two Yabukita from Umegashima (one of the area of the so-called Hon.yama tea growing region, north of Shizuoka, along the upper reaches of the Abe River). One is specifically from Fujishiro, the other from Shinden. Both by two different producers.
On the left Fujishiro, on the right Shinden
The Yabukita of Fujishiro is produced by Mr. Koizumi, also present in my selection with the “zairai” sencha from Nyushima. The one from Shinden is produced by Mr. Akiyama, whom I present for the first time on Thés du Japon.
I sourced these two teas as aracha (unfinished raw tea) that I had refined at two different place, which of course has an influence on their aromas, given a hi-ire method (final drying) different. Both are weak fired.
The Fujishiro sencha has a particular roundness, a certain thickness even. One finds there a well-balanced umami raised by a point of astringency. Thus, it is a sencha with a strong enough attack, with a beautiful presence, well representative in this sense of Yabukita strong character.
From an aromatic point of view, on the other hand, it is rather surprising for a Yabukita. The perfume is at first a little milky, with some rather present notes evoking a fragrance a little floral and spicy. It’s both fresh and stimulating. This sensation of perfumery is also present in the mouth and after, with the overall round and sweet impression of this sencha, astonishing and aromatic.
(If I was slow to present here this Yabukita rather exceptional is because I planned to use it in two events, one in France, the other here in Japan, Shizuoka).
That of Shinden is probably more classic, it could be compared with the Yabukita from Ôkawa-Ôma, but with less firing (so interesting alternative).
If I use quite hot water for the Fujishiro, warm a little a little is not a bad option for this one.
The attack is more tender, with a more concentrated umami, without being overwhelming, far from it, and without astringency. Yet the whole is lighter, or more fluid rather.
The sweet scent is more classic, and there are more mineral aromas, with hints of dry herbs and roasted nuts.
Fine mixture of sweet and umami, the after-taste is subtle but sensitive, pleasant with its pastry impression.
This comparison of two Yabukita so different but yet so close geographically, puts forward, if necessary, the potential in effect infinite of this great varietal (70% of the Japanese production of tea). Any lover of Japanese tea must understand and always have in mind the essential character of this cultivar. The spectrum of his qualities (in every way) is extremely broad and it is through him that one can understand the interest of other cultivars. Try two of them, then those of Ôkawa-Ôma, Kawane, but also those of Sashima further east, from Wazuka in the west, and you will experience each time a different experience.