Thursday, May 13, 2010

2009 Uji Sakuraba Sencha (Yabukita cultivar)

I miss spring sun.
Thunderstorms sure are an inseparable part of unpredictable spring weather, but I still prefer those sunny, warm days with ever-present scent of flowers in the air, those days when you just have to smile as you walk the streets.

What I want to say is that the storm season already started in central Europe today, accompanied with heavy downpour. And with warning that some high floods may come soon, as the rain probably won't stop for the next whole week.
I miss the scent of flowers and the sun, so my tea of choice today is something I usually don't drink much. It's actually tea with additional aromatization, something I normally avoid - except for some Jasmine teas and this one.
Sakura flavored Sencha, because this tea represents all I miss right now.
This tea is from one of my most favorite Japanese tea importers in Czech republic, so I wasn't worried to buy it, even though I had some bad experiences with aggressive cherry flavoring before.

As you can see from all photos except for one, I had to use flash light, because there is almost no natural light outside. The sky is completely overcast, even causing depression to some people.

This is not the common kind of cherry-flavored sencha you usually get in most tea stores, scented with flowers or, in worst case, some kind of sweet syrup - instead, sakura leaves were used as a flavoring. I prefer this method, as I find it less aggressive and the final product is somehow more "conservative" in a positive way.
As you can see, the dry leaves are quite crashed and small - this is the result of very deep steaming (fukamushi sencha). They somehow lack the plastic dark green color and stickiness of higher grade Japanese teas, but after all, this tea wasn't expensive at all, or at least not when compared to normal prices of good Japanese teas.
I would say this is, for those who like the gentle cherry flavor, affordable tea for everyday drinking - it isn't a high grade tea, but it's nice nevertheless.

(note: this photo was made before this actual session, because I wasn't able to capture the actual color of infusion today; that explains the natural light here.)

After tasting the first infusion, unconventional taste accompanied by gentle sakura smell hits your senses. There is a little bit more astringency compared to other senchas, but it still isn't anyhow annoying.
Once again, I would say the second infusion is the best - creamy, deep, with milky tones and refreshing at the same time.
These tones continue in the third infusion, except for the milky one, which is receding. I can also feel a little bit sour tones in this infusion and, especially, in the aftertaste.
Fourth infusion is the last; the taste and smell are weaker and less vivid. Creamy tones already vanished, leaving only herbaceous grass-like character, which wasn't present in previous infusions.

I wouldn't be able to drink this tea very often - that is also the main reason why I still have some from 2009 Ichibancha (first) harvest left.
But at times like these, when you really are in need for the smell of flowers, so that you won't forget what spring is all about - pleasant.

My Shincha 2010 from Teamountain should, if there won't be any complications, arrive in a few days.
Already can't wait to see what this year's version of Japanese tea will have to offer - I believe there is a lot to look forward to.


  1. Tea brings a small measure of peace even when its all muggy.
    I am looking forward to the shincha review! I am not well versed in the ways of japanese teas. I know my basics but I would hardly be considered a seasoned expert.
    It is nice to learn more about it.

  2. William,
    nicely said.
    Meditation over some good tea is protecting me from getting upset even in such a depressing weather.
    If someone would ask me about my favorite type of tea, I would most probably say it's Japanese green... I really drink a great amount of it in summer and fall, so after the Ichibancha harvest will be completed in Japan, you can expect quite a lot of articles and reviews on Japanese teas.