2020 shincha, Sôfû from Tokunoshima Island

I think that for even very experiencedJapanese tea lovers, the toponym of Tokunoshima is not very familiar. It is indeed a small island of 80 km of coast located in the Amami archipelago south of Kagoshima. It is a sub-tropical island just north of Okinawa and is located in the cultural area of ​​the Ryukyu Islands.

Its agriculture is more oriented towards sugar cane and tropical fruits than to tea, the culture of which disappeared there after the 2nd World War … Before being reintroduced by a family of growers in the 2000s. They turned to tea tree cultivar generally more comfortable in a hot climate, Benifûki, Sunrouge, and finally Sôfû which I present today. This is a March 27th harvest.

I remind you that Sôfû is an Inzatsu type variety resulting from the Yabukita x Inzatsu 131 crossbreeding.


A quick examination of the leaves shows that it is not a “grand cru” by classical standards, but this tea is no less interesting … on the contrary.

Even for a Sôfû it seems completely original to me. While we usually turn with Sôfû around floral, white grapes, sometimes jasmine, here I seem to first feel notes of citrus, orange and grapefruit. Then there are nevertheless many floral notes.

In the mouth there is clearly the sensation of a sencha of the sun. There is very little umami and an obvious tannic structure. However, this astringent sensation gives a lot of charm to this sencha, on the one hand because it is followed on the palate by a strong sweet persistence, and also because it echoes with the aromas of citrus, particularly grapefruit.


Also, there are buttery nuances giving a gourmet touch.

It is a tea to be brew very hot, the aromas will be more evident in the second and third infusions. But also, it can be drunk in a Chinese way in a glass, with very hot water, adding water as you go. It is a good method to enjoy its scent.


Finally, it is an unusual sencha, which also changes from the Sôfû that I have been able to present so far. It is certainly not a tea that plays with finesse and elegance, but it is original from an aromatic point of view, and has a lot of volume.

Categories: Reviews, Tea producing area

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