I ate some kiwiberries before drinking this this morning. This is a note to myself to /not/ do that again.
In Japanese, there is a special word for describing the key flavor note of Sae green tea: umami. Known as the “fifth taste,” umami is a savory deliciousness found in foods ranging from aged cheeses and soy sauce to mushrooms and seaweed… and this delectable Japanese green tea. Along with a serious umami bomb, Sae offers up a satisfying, sensuous palate of aromas and flavors that cover the entire spectrum of “green” from cucumber to watercress and back again. From its deep blue-green leaves to its soft, rich aroma to its incredible taste, there are many ways to love Sae. But the one way to appreciate Sae that you might not expect is through its sumptuous texture. Like all the best umami-rich green teas, Sae is broth-like, chewy and dense in the mouth, leaving the sense that it’s more like a soup or a fresh-pressed juice than a tea. Also be sure to note Sae’s evolution as you drink it. From aroma to aftertaste, it varies quite a bit, gratifying the senses in surprising ways when you pay attention.
Origin: Kagoshima Prefecture
Sae is grown on the subtropical island of Kagoshima. Although the Sae (Saemidori) tea plant is a relative newcomer to the world of Japanese tea varietals, it already has a loyal following amongst farmers and tea drinkers alike.
Growing and processing: shaded and deep-steamed.
Sae is a Kabusecha green tea, which means it was shaded for 14 days before harvest. This shading process changes the amino acids in the tea, giving it a brilliant blue-green color and a deep umami flavor. A more extreme version of this (in terms of color, flavor and, sadly, price) is Gyokuro green tea.
Luckily, our Sae is a hybrid between Yabukita (by far the most popular tea plant in Japan) and Asatsuyu (a tea plant nicknamed “Natural Gyokuro” for its naturally sweet, smooth flavor). The influence of these “Natural Gyokuro” genes creates a uniquely sweet, rich, incredibly Gyokuro-like Kabusecha that we’ve never seen the likes of before.
Taste: pure umami with a dense mouthfeel
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Organic Sae Midori Kabusecha 2015O-Cha.com