Thursday, May 27, 2010

2009 Sencha Shigaraki by Marukyu Koyamaen

It's raining all day long again.
After two or three sunny days, storms and heavy downpours returned and the flood emergency had been officially reinstated. Local farmers must be happy, I guess.

So here is yet another Marukyu Koyamaen tea from 2009 Ichibancha, because my Shincha still haven't arrived. This time, it's Sencha - specifically the second from bottom in Marukyu Koyamaen's offering.

The leaves seem to be of Chumushi variety, which means that they are medium steamed - there is a higher amount of small, broken leaves, although there are also some longer needles. Overall, the leaves are still of very high quality. They are dark green, plastic-like, quite short and with this typical Sencha stickiness. Although the tea is already one year old, it still smells very fresh after opening the package, which is, as with most Japanese teas (and especially those from Koyamaen), very elegant and precisely made. This Sencha smells of flowers and fruit, although the creamy deep tones are present as well.

The first infusion is light green in color; I let the water cool down for quite a long while after it was boiled and decided to extend the brewing time. This way, the tea gave me quite an oil-like infusion with rich, full taste and very pleasant sweetness.

The second infusion is sharper in taste and a little bit less-transparent in color, although the brewing time was much shorter. Taste is still very rich, with fruity tones being more vivid. There is also some decent and delightful bitterness in this infusion.

The third infusion is, in my opinion, more similar to the first than to the second one, being less vivid and more creamy. The aftertaste is weaker than it was before, not so bold and with more astringency.

I made two more infusions, but the sweetness and milkiness were already gone. Instead, they were replaced by more vivid bitterness and somehow brusque woodiness.
This Sencha really gave me a relaxing feeling. It already isn't fresh, but still has much to offer - at least until the 2010 harvest arrives.

Until then.


  1. The richness found in this tea must be a very nice umami flavor. Fukamushi sencha seems to be full of it. I am not one for a bitter sencha.

    I really like your photos and layout. Keep it up. It is very enjoyable!

  2. William,
    yes, it could be defined as umami; actually that is, according to many Japanese tea experts nowadays, the main and most characteristic part of Japanese Sencha.
    I'm still not used to this term yet, though :)

    Thank you very much!