His absence was long. Indeed, this beautiful Yume-wakaba cultivar sencha, manual harvest and standard steaming, has been present in my selection for several years. Unfortunately, last year, a major hailstorm shortly before the harvest destroyed the young leaves of this small plantation. The damage caused by hail is not what we hear most about, but when it strikes at the wrong time the consequences are catastrophic. Elsewhere, this type of bad weather also deprived me last year of the Yabukita from Nyûshima (Umegashima), which will also be back, in great shape, this year (the raw tea, aracha, is very promising).
Standard steaming, futsûmushi or asamushi, whatever the nomenclature, in short, beautiful leaves, not too broken, without powder, are rather rare in Sayama. It is also a neat manual harvest, perfect for the delicate wilting process carried out on these leaves before steaming. Yume-wakaba, a recent cultivar from the Saitama research center, is a quality variety, but whose aromatic characteristics develop particularly with the wilting of the leaves.
Remember that wilting, in short, is the process of lowering the humidity level in the leaves before rolling, essential for black tea or Oolong for example, but hitherto banned for Japanese green tea, the smell that stand out being considered as a defect (case of involuntary wilting due to poor management of the leaves between picking and baking). Today some producers value this process to give different flavors to Japanese teas, with more or less success. If there are varieties with which wilting – well controlled – is very interesting, even essential, in many cases it has little interest in my opinion.
Inzatsu type cultivars, but also a number of Saitama varieties, such as Fukumidori or Yume-wakaba are examples of cultivars with which wilting makes sense.
The dry leaves themselves already have a quite distinctive, floral and fruity scent.
The infusion seems to cause an explosion of perfumes!
The texture is slightly milky, but mostly aromas of apricot and yellow peach that are a pure delight. In these sweet scents there is also a floral character. It also evokes the scent of the flowers of the tree called in Japanese kinmokusei (Osmanthus fragrans var. Aurantiacus) from the oleaceae family.
On the palate the impression is very similar to that of the nose. It is therefore an aromatically rich and dense sencha, very recognizable. In addition, there is no astringency and there is a lot of umami, without heaviness however, the tea remaining very fluid and velvety.
This aromatic force continues, even stronger in the following infusions.
With strong and very recognizable characteristics, this Yume-wakaba remains a very accessible tea and easy to appreciate for the greatest number.