Micro-fermented sencha from Sayama, Sayama-kaori cultivar

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Green Tea
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Edit tea info Last updated by Shinobi_cha
Average preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 oz / 118 ml

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From Thés du Japon

Type of tea: “Micro-fermented” sencha
Origin: Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture
Cultivar: Sayama-kaori
Harvest: First spring harvest

Multi-talented tea producer Hiruma Yoshiaki shines in tea competitions when it comes to both hand-rolled teas (te-momi cha) and especially innovation. Not satisfied with using new Japanese tea plant cultivars, he has re-invented sencha with his series of “micro-fermented” teas (bihakkô-cha). He very slightly ferments the fresh leaves that he intends to use to make sencha, so that they wilt. The process is inspired by methods used for certain oolong teas, especially in Taiwan. The results are astonishing senchas with a floral fragrance that was until now unknown in Japanese teas.

For this tea, he uses the sayama-kaori cultivar, which is a famous cultivar created in Saitama Prefecture and long used in many tea-producing areas in Japan. It is especially prized for its pleasant aroma. Thus, it was natural that Mr. Hiruma would turn to this cultivar a number of years ago for his experiments with leaf-wilting techniques. This is the cultivar that he has most often used in his experiments.
Indeed, the sweet, slightly creamy and fruity smell of flowers is particularly clear in this tea. It has a strong flavour that echoes the fragrance perfectly. It is a little astringent, but that makes this sencha refreshing. Long in the mouth, it leaves a delicately perfumed aftertaste.

This sencha shows the extent of the new horizons that this producer has opened for the future of Japanese tea.

Steeping method
Quantity of leaves*: 3 g / 1 tsp per person
Quantity of water: 70 ml / 1/4 cup per person
Water temperature: 70°C / 158°F
Steeping time: 40 seconds

*If you are making tea for just one person, increase the quantity of leaves slightly.

About Thés du Japon View company

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2 Tasting Notes

280 tasting notes

I had this for the first time yesterday; yet another of the free samples that Thes du Japon included in my order.

Wow! I mean, I knew from the description that it would taste or be reminiscent of an Oolong, but wow. The dry leaves filled the whole mini-package full of a flowery ali shan or tie guan yin aroma. The leaves were also very much intact, some as long as 1" (before infusion!).

I was a little intrigued by their infusion directions – 158F, 40 seconds, 3-4g per 70ml (2+oz), because it looked like they were for a fukamushi sencha. But, I heeded them.
And, this tasted just like a green oolong up front (flowery), followed by the nice refreshing bitter-sweetness of sencha.

I am very impressed… I just kept taking sips couldn’t believe this was a Japanese green tea! The fragrance and flavor were very strong and pleasant.

Interestingly, the wet leaves opened up huge to show mostly whole leaves, and many of them had a lot of browning along the edges, as a result of the withering/partial-oxidation process.

What a fun experience! This is an awesome, unique tea, and I look forward to comparing this sample, to the other micro-oxidized tea that I actually bought from them.

155 °F / 68 °C 0 min, 45 sec

Good to have your comments on Florent’s teas. They will help when I place my own order.

Best wishes,


Cool! Well, I’ve got 5 more to review, the 4 I ordered, and the last free sample they included (that wasn’t a duplicate, that is).


I look forward to your reviews!

Best wishes,


Whoa! How COOL! Take some pictures of the leaves if you get a chance sometime :) How many infusions were you able to get out of the leaf? I can usually get 7-10 gaiwan cups out of some good tie guan yin, but you know how Japanese greens love to expel their goodies.

Can’t wait to hear how the other micro-organized teas fare!


I think I was able to get 3 excellent steepings with very little flavor lost, and the 4th and 5th were slightly weaker, but still great. In terms of longevity for Japanese greens, this (and one or two others I’ve had from Thes du Japon but have not yet written about) definitely stands out!


Pictures of the leaves have been posted on teachat – go check them out!

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16 tasting notes

Very clean and straight-forward, not at all vegetal, not very sweet either.

Flavors: Grass

160 °F / 71 °C 1 min, 0 sec 4 tsp 4 OZ / 118 ML

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