Wednesday, December 15, 2010

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Sometime during the summer, I witnessed a change like nothing I had seen before.

I was literally sick from tainted pu-erh, and taking a two week break from serious tea reviewing in general.  Given all of my newly found time to think, I recalled my exalted state during my last semester of college.  Every day, I was drinking 4 cups of  asamushi sencha,  and I felt great.  So I thought “Why not just get back into sencha, like before?”  and poof, a change was made.

I focus mostly on greens and light oolongs these days, with the occasional sheng pu or shu pu coming to my attention.

Yuuki Cha’s Kagoshima Sencha Saemidori is somewhat predictable, but different enough to warrant being written about.  The leaf here is typical: smallish broken bits of leaf from the long steaming, with a mellow greenness in the nose, followed by a hint of that roasted aroma that I see in some sencha.
The Leaf, With a Few Stems



 Water temp: 150 | 4.5 grams | 50s, flash, flash, 6s, 15s, 70s


The First Cup


The first two infusions were very, very intense, given that I have become accustomed to the flavors of the light steamed tea.  The umami present was very powerful, with little else at first.  After swirling the tea around in my mouth,  bitter and sweet flavors slowly crept around midpalate, releasing that endorphin rush that comes with the first few sips of good tea.  As the tea cooled, it took on an unmistakable minty flavor - this isn’t anything new, but I haven’t seen it much in sencha.  By the end of those two cups, I was already feeling warm and slightly dizzy.

The third cup was largely flavorless other than a light toasty flavor along with a gentle creaminess and sweetness that seemed to be hiding, as if I hadn’t brewed it correctly (I learned later on that this would be true).  Cup four had fixed cup three’s flavor issues, but brought along the signals that the leaves were running out of flavor fast.


Cups five and six were the end of this session, having no aroma, just a rich green color and a very smooth ‘green’ sweetness that hung around the tip of the palate.


In my summary in my tea journal, I described this tea as a “...Rich, Luxurious experience…”  despite only  three of the six cups having decent flavor.  Upon brewing it for a second session, I had amended my mistakes and now had an excellent, well rounded flavor throughout each cup.  Also, this tea seems to have mild psychoactive effects, (I’m not kidding) so see how you react to the stuff before doing anything like driving or operating a truck full of nuclear waste.  A rich tea indeed.

The Second Cup

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