Thursday, May 20, 2010

2009 Kawayanagi Ujimidori by Marukyu Koyamaen

Marukyu Koyamaen teas never let me down. Therefore, I’m not afraid to buy anything from them without previously trying it – I had numerous of their Matchas and Sencha teas, each of them really delicious and unique in some way.

Luckily, there is a shop in my town directly importing most of their products along with other wonderful teas and pottery from all over the world. I’ve also got a sample of some 2010 steamed green tea from Meng Ding, completely processed in Japanese method – which I will review next time, hopefully.

According to Marukyu Koyamaen website, “Kawayanagi teas are made from the thick and big leaves removed during the sorting of Kabusecha and Sencha. Kawayanagi teas have only small caffeine content. They are gentle and mild with a fresh smell.

So this is, in some way, another waste material.

And Japanese tea waste materials always seem to be wonderful.

After opening the air-tight package, heavy herbaceous smell, reminiscent of fresh mint leaves fills the room. It really stands for its description – the smell of dry leaves is very fresh, actually much fresher and somehow lighter than in usual Japanese teas.

Dry leaves are mostly long, flat and shiny-dark green, containing some stems as well.

This tea is really quite refreshing, with dominant sour and seaweed-like tones. The infusion is bright Sencha-green, although it lacks the typical opaqueness present in most Japanese teas. This goes along with the lack of milky, creamy tones which can be found in most high-grade teas, but are completely overbore by vegetal, refreshing character here.

First infusion is very mild, decent with slight scent of mint. This tea is obviously quite different from classic Japanese teas, being much more herbaceous and less “full” in character.

Taste doesn’t change that much in further infusions; I would only mention that it gets a little bit sourer with each new pot.

Another difference is that Kawayanagi is able to produce more infusions than regular Sencha or Kabuse teas; I prepared five satisfying infusions on this session.

When I taste the leaves after last infusion, they are surprisingly sweet, leaving absolutely no bitterness in my mouth. Leaves are also bigger than in most Japanese teas, but after all, it’s written in the description, so it would be strange if they won’t. I also noticed the beautiful shape of these leaves – maybe it’s caused by their size, but they aren’t so broken as in Sencha and their color is really nice, too.

As I’ve already said, Marukyu Koyamaen teas never seem to let me down. They always stand to their description very closely, so that you always know what you are buying.

And this tea is definitely worth a try, at least because it’s so different from “regular” Japanese green teas.


  1. The japanese are quite good at finding uses for every part of the plant that is collected.
    They have definitely mastered their art of tea.
    Tasting japanese teas (once I have the money necessary) will be my next venture!

  2. William,

    It's like they always make sure not to lavish on anything.

    I hope you will enjoy the wonderful world of Japanese teas, then! ;)

  3. I need to start getting Japanese green tea. >=O
    The descriptions sound a lot more pleasant than most Chinese green teas.

  4. Fox,

    Chinese green teas are wonderful as well!
    But in my opinion, they are completely different from Japanese.
    The difference is, in some cases, as big as the difference between Chinese green and black tea, I would say.

    It's definitely worth giving them a try.