Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Yunomi.us and Yamane-en: Shincha from Onejime, Kagoshima, A Tea Review

I woke up bright and early today thanks to the excessive happy chirping of birds and my cat chirping at the birds. Laying in bed I thought to myself, I should make some origami, and so I got all my paper out of storage and set it up in my craft and tea lair. Of course I promptly went back to sleep and have not actually started folding anything yet, but I am mulling over some projects, I am excited. I have a suspicion that I will hang lots of modular pieces from the rafters.

Today's tea is Shincha from Onejime, Kagoshima from the Yamane-en Tea Shop and Yunomi.us. This particular Shincha (first flush of Sencha, for those unfamiliar with the term) comes from the rare Shouju Cultivar whose name translates to Eternal Happiness. With a name like that I knew I needed to try it, plus have I ever seen a Sencha that I didn't immediately want to try? The aroma is very green, full of life and grass! There is also notes of cedar and straw with a touch of kelp. I am used to Sencha smelling faintly sweet, but these leaves are savory and green, I find it very intriguing and pleasant.

Once the delicate leaves get a dip in warm and fairly short bath, I notice the aroma gets more of a chestnut quality with a strong grassy note. This fades to a kelp and finally fresh sea-side air. I love when the aroma of tea evokes the ocean, it is just such a clean aroma. The liquid mixes the aroma of spring vegetation and sea-side air, primarily fresh grass, there is also a tiny touch of chestnut at the finish.

The first thing I notice about the taste is how sweet it is, surprisingly honey sweet compared to its savory aroma. The sweetness has an almost citrus quality, similar to orange blossom honey mixed with a gently and fresh grass taste. The midtaste is kelp, giving this tea an umami quality. Finishing the experience is a sweet citrus note that lingers in the mouth for quite a while. This tea manages to be very subtle while also being very complex, a quality I find very endearing.

As to be expected I wanted to have another dance with the leaves. The second steep, like the first starts off very sweet, but it differs by being more of a sugar cane sweetness instead of honey. The rest of the taste is buttery smooth and grassy with a gentle hint of hay. The second steep has a whole new level of subtlety that I find very soothing. I can imagine being a leaf absorbing sunlight while drinking this tea, it feels refreshing and soothing in that very manner.

1 comment: