Here are two excellent sencha for a great textbook case.
Same production area, same producer, same cultivar: Yabukita. Both are shaded, 5 days for one 6 for the other. These are two teas from the village of Yabe in Yame, two plantations at 500 m and 600 meters above sea level.
With only this information, one could imagine two very similar teas, but they are actually on the contrary radically different.
The first, that which I named “special”, comes from an early harvest, with very young leaves therefore, a relatively weak steaming, a very careful rolling-drying like contest teas, and finally a very low final roasting. The second, with its fukamushi steaming and strong roasting, is a more classic Yame sencha.
The “special” is very pure, green, fresh, extremely fluid, with a very elegant umami. The latter is indeed very present, but very clear, but absolutely not heavy, in a way it also participates in the refreshing nature of this sencha. Obviously, you should not trust the clarity of the liquor, because it has a lot of body, despite the total absence of astringency on the first infusion. On the nose, beyond the fresh and green sensation, there are subtle floral notes evoking rose, and mint notes also.
There is no extravagant perfume or aroma, except a fruity impression of juicy pear in the after-taste from the second infusion.
The after-taste is there, but discreet, slightly sweet, and therefore a continuation of the refreshing, elegant character of this Yabukita.
It is a kind of model, quintessence of sencha, powerful but refined, close to competition standards without running out of character. Probably not the “everyday sencha”, but an unmissable little luxury for fans of Japanese tea.
Also, it is important to note that despite its profile, it is not necessary to brew this tea very warm, 70 ° C is almost already too warm, and 80 ° C will do perfectly.
With the second Yabukita, we change of style and return to Yame teas type we are accustomed to, however, this batch seemed to me to present the most interesting subtleties.
The infusion immediately brings out a strong sweet fragrance typical of strong final drying roast on slightly shaded teas with its nuances of cooked vegetables and vanilla. This is immediately found in the mouth, with sweetness, umami, not too heavy, vanilla again, very classic at first, but we then notice woody nuances which give the whole volume and depth. So, despite its power, this sencha is not heavy at all.
This green and woody aspect remains present on the following infusions, giving this Yabukita a rich aromatic character.
The after-taste is also very pleasant, letting appear something vegetable like green wood.
We are here on a very good fukamushi Yabukita from Yame, classic but complex and powerful, very accessible for beginners, sufficiently rich for experienced amateurs.
Beyond their very great qualities, these two sencha show in a simple way how the differences in process result in perfectly different teas even in the same production area by the same producer.