On my recent trip to Brno, I have finally tasted and purchased some 2012 Japanese green teas. Visiting both of my favorite teahouses, I first enjoyed tasting Teamountain's Sencha Tsuyuhikari in Sklenena Louka (previously mentioned here) and then bought some other teas – also from Teamountain – for home consumption in Probuzeny Slon.
Sencha Harukaze is a light steamed tea from Shizuoka, grown by Mr. Katahira, whose teas have been in Teamountain offering for years and have been mentioned many times on this blog. However, last year saw unavailability of these teas as well as most other teas from Shizuoka – this year, though, all of Katahira's teas successfully passed radiation tests as safe and are, to my delight, back in offering.
Harukaze is a blended tea, consisting of three different breeds - 75% Yabukita, 15% Okumidori and 10% Kurasawa. Its leaves are good-looking, long, shiny green needles, typical for good Asamushi teas.
They smell fresh, fruity and deep – a bit like young, unripe peaches and grapes.
Water is cooled down for the first infusion which is light yellowish-green, mostly clear with just a slight opaqueness and fresh, sweet smell. This applies to taste as well – it's very sweet, mouthfilling, fruity and somehow heavy – heavier than many other fresh Sencha teas, this one inclines towards a taste bit reminiscent of grape must. Still, it's very refined and pure, with vivid freshness of a tea made just recently. The following aftertaste is a long one, slightly astringent (in a good way though) and reminded me of fresh red currant.
The second infusion is poured down immediately and shows typically greener, though still very clear infusion and sharper character. The taste of red currant and unripe grapes gets stronger, followed by a much cooler mouthfeel than before, giving the tea a new, very refreshing note. Its aftertaste has similar character – it's shorted and less mouthfilling as well as less sweet than that of the previous brew, but instead much cooler and fresher with predominant tones of young fruit and a small trace of sweetness.
The third infusion gets back to the more refined character of the first one, though being a bit drier and with a subtle woodiness. It also lacks most of the previously found sweetness, now being simpler and more refreshing than the previous brews with a shorter aftertaste.
One more brew is made of these leaves, now a very simple, refreshing drink with clear light-yellow color and spicy and woody tones in taste. A satisfying last sip.
Finally, a short note on some new members of my tea-ware collection, as seen in this post – I recently got three of these little teacups from Petr Novak during Bratislava's Festeaval. A beautiful, handmade thin white porcelain which evolves with every use, showing new cracks all over its surface, gradually creating a thick spiderweb – it is always a pleasure to watch tea ware live its own life like this, encouraging me to use it as often as possible.