Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 Horaido Sencha Tokiwagi

Finally, another sunny autumn day. This is the last Sencha in sample set from Peter Stanik of, being the third highest grade of Sencha sold by Horaido. As all previously mentioned teas from this shop, Tokiwagi also originates in Uji, Kyoto and was traditionally stored until the beginning of this October.

Its dry leaves are typically narrow, straight and shiny-dark green needles. They seem a bit shorter than those of Shuppincha HG, though still can serve as a beautiful example of Asamushi (short-steamed) processing. They have a soft, clean smell of pears, pines and conifer forest, accompanied by typical creamy deepness.

The water is left cooling for quite a while in chilling November air before it's poured on these leaves. The first infusion is of very clear, light green color, being a bit opaque and with taste that is rich, milky, smooth, creamy, cooling and intensive, being deep and light at once. It noticeably possess the characteristic so typical for all higher grade Horaido teas, having vivid atmosphere and spirit of forest and mountains – this makes the consumption of these teas literally a spiritual experience.

The second infusion is then prepared with warmer water and left brewing for just a short while, delivering more yellowish color, intensive aroma and heavy, fruity taste with notes of plums, pears, nuts and menthol. Typically for the second infusion, its aftertaste keeps lingering on tongue for many minutes after drinking and is still present when the third infusion is prepared.

The third infusion is yellowish-green in color and is as rich in taste as both previous, now dominated by nutty, milky tones, rich softness and a bit warmer character. The aftertaste is a bit milder than that of previous infusion, yet still being very intense and long-lasting.

Last two infusions maintain the color and warm character of its predecessor and remain nutty and intensive, now being more woody, flat and generally much less complicated.

High quality of this tea can also be seen on the infused leaves, which are refined, lively green and quite entire (for a machine-processed Japanese green tea). Typically, I ate some of these after the session – it would be a pity not to do so with such leaves.


  1. Hello, Michal-san,

    Great photos!!
    I like your white curled plate for tea leaves in the first picture. It seems easy to move tea leaves from the plate into a teapot. It is well-designed practically, and still beautiful. I love it! Is the plate a Chinese-style tea ware? I wonder where you got it. Anyway, Japanese tea leaves you showed in this blog look very good, and I want to try them (^-^)

  2. Kohei,
    thanks a lot!
    Yes, this white plate is made of Chinese porcelain and is called "Cha He" ("presentation vessel"). It's specially designed for examining leaves before putting them into the teapot, as well as moving them easily from the plate into the pot, like you said. It's very practical, simple and beautiful, so I use it almost every time I drink tea :-)
    I got mine in a local teashop, though these Cha He can be widely found on the internet, for example here:

    About the tea, these leaves come from quite traditional Kyoto-based teashop Horaido and I really recommend trying their teas, they are very good ;-)