Okay, time to get another oldie out of the way. This was one of my sipdowns from the summer of 2020. To this day, it remains one of the best senchas I have ever had.
I made use of a multi-step Western preparation method for this tea. I started off by steeping approximately 3 grams of loose tea leaves in 8 fluid ounces of 149 F water for 1 minute. Four additional infusions followed. I varied the steep time for each infusion, cutting back to 30 seconds for the second infusion, then 45 seconds for the third infusion, 1 minute 30 seconds for the fourth infusion, and then a full 3 minutes for the fifth and final infusion. I also increased the water temperature by 5 degrees for each of the subsequent infusions, so I went from 154 F on the second infusion to 169 F on the final infusion.
Prior to the first infusion, the dry tea leaves produced lovely aromas of spinach, grass, baked bread, honey, zucchini, and asparagus. After infusion, the tea liquor offered up novel aromas of lettuce, kale, chestnut, and seaweed. In the mouth, the tea liquor presented notes of snow pea, honey, lettuce, grass, cream, butter, chestnut, zucchini, and light vegetable broth balanced by subtler impressions of pear, green apple, lemon zest, asparagus, seaweed, baked bread, and orange zest. The second infusion introduced aromas of cream, butter, and toasted sweet corn in addition to subtler aromas of snow peas and hazelnut. A fine minerality emerged in the mouth while stronger and somewhat more immediately evident notes of lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus appeared. I also detected subtle impressions of toasted sweet corn, straw, hazelnut, kale, and bamboo. The third infusion saw the nose turn very fine and light, with a ghostly mineral presence appearing. Even stronger and more dominant lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus notes were evident in the mouth, though this time they were balanced by amplified bamboo and toasted sweet corn flavors. A slightly stronger baked bread note also appeared along with hints of spearmint, sugarcane, coriander, and marshmallow. The fourth infusion saw the mineral presence on the nose strengthen and take on something of a marine quality reminiscent of sea salt or sea spray. More of a vegetable broth presence emerged on the palate with pronounced mineral, sugarcane, lemon zest, orange zest, and asparagus notes. Slightly stronger impressions of spearmint, coriander, and marshmallow were also present, and fresh hints of sea salt and moss appeared as well. The fifth and final infusion did not offer much in terms of aroma. The tea’s bouquet was mild and heavy on mineral character with traces of toasted sweet corn and grass remaining. The tea liquor had washed out greatly at this point, though very subtle citrus zest, asparagus, chestnut, lettuce, grass, spinach, kale, spearmint, coriander, moss, sea salt, cream, and butter hints could still be detected under a bed of soft minerality.
This was an absolutely fantastic sencha. The tea liquor it produced was vibrant, gorgeously textured, incredibly complex, and almost unbelievably refined. I loved the way the tea evolved over the course of my review session. Each infusion offered something unique and different on the nose and in the mouth. Fortunately, What-Cha still stocks this tea. Make a point of trying it if you have yet to get around to it.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bamboo, Bread, Broth, Butter, Chestnut, Coriander, Cream, Grass, Green Apple, Hazelnut, Honey, Kale, Lemon Zest, Lettuce, Marshmallow, Mineral, Moss, Orange Zest, Pear, Salt, Seaweed, Snow Peas, Spearmint, Straw, Sugarcane, Sweet, Zucchini