April 18/25 2021 harvest

With only a few servings left of the 50g bag, it’s time to attempt some kind of description of this sencha. My multiple notes literally got scattered all over the place and I can only find this one now.

Dry leaf has a lush, deep green aroma. Very fruity, strawberry-pineapple-sakura-pine, sometimes mandarin orange-Asian pear attached to that hyphenation.

Wet leaf smells very meaty, can’t get the idea of Vienna sausages out of my head. I guess that’s the umami revealing itself, much moreso in the wet leaf than in the taste. Dark green wet grass, subdued flowers.

The tea is such a moving mix of flavors and sensations. I find it difficult to sit with the tea but that doesn’t mean I don’t enjoy drinking it. Active tea means activity. Rich, persimmonsweet flavor. Rather smooth, fruity with a bitter-bright vegetal taste, piney backdrop. Fairly light rounded umami that is not a distinct note or aftertaste. Floral-fruity-bitter-brightgrassy finish. Fruity aftertaste later turns piney-fruity.

There is some bitterness-astringency in the throat that quickly brings about returning sweetness. Cool inhalations, a light chill lines the inner perimeter of my lips. Feels like my body is breathing. Bottom of the cup smells like sakura. Only in later steeps do I notice the cinnamon and vanilla described by Thés du Japon, mostly in the aroma.

I also really like this western brewed. Probably around 1g:100mL, 2-3 min?, 2-3 steeps. It’s so refreshing. Good astringency mixed with gentle cooked white bean and seaweed overtone, butter. Not fruity as prepared in my small clay teapot but I feel like I get hints of it all here and there. Returning sweetness.

Flavors: Astringent, Beans, Bittersweet, Butter, Cinnamon, Drying, Floral, Fruity, Grassy, Green, Mandarin, Meat, Pear, Persimmon, Pine, Pineapple, Round, Sakura, Seaweed, Strawberry, Sweet, Umami, Vanilla, Vegetal, Wheatgrass

175 °F / 79 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 g 2 OZ / 70 ML

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If you’re an aspiring or current tea grower, let’s talk! I am slowly beginning a tea farm here in Northern California. Currently growing are young plants pulled from the ground and gifted to me after a visit to Fairhope Tea Plantation in Alabama. The parent plants are sinensis variety from a defunct Lipton research project. I’ve also started seeds from Camellia Forest Nursery in North Carolina. The types include Camellia taliensis, an assamica variety, and 3 sinensis varieties including “Small leaf” “Large leaf” and “Black Sea.” To learn how to process tea into different styles, I plan on traveling to China and Taiwan if/when COVID becomes a relative non-issue. I’m taking Mandarin classes to aid in this journey.

Tea became a hobby and my daily drink of choice some time late in the last decade. My introduction to loose leaf came, following a lone tin of some Tie Guan Yin oolong many years prior, in the form of dumpster-dived Wuyi oolong packets that somebody left upon moving out of an apartment building. From there, my palate expanded to teas from across China and the world. I used to focus more on taste and still harbor the habit, but after trying sheng pu’er, I tend to focus more on how a tea feels in my body. Does it complement my constitution? Does it change my mood or does it enhance my current mindstate? While I may not mention those effects in tea notes, it is what I value most.

Flavored teas are not a favorite but I do drink them intermittently. Drink a variety of teabags at work. Herbal teas/tisanes provide balance. Unfiltered tap water heathen (it’s good here).

In terms of who I am, you could consider me a jill of all trades. Specialty is not my strength, as can be seen in the spread of my tea notes.

One thing I will always love is riding a bicycle.


Sonoma County, California, USA

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