Sencha from the historic Ashikubo area of Shizuoka with a perfect balance between creamy, fruity and fresh.
I am a bit of a tea snob when it comes to Japanese tea cultivars and, while I enjoy the bright and verdant Yabukita cultivar, I tend to avoid teas that are 100% Yabukita in search of something with a little bit more depth.
This Sencha goes to show that you should never make broad sweeping generalizations in tea and highlights the importance of blind-tasting when sampling. This is because I adored this tea when I sampled it and especially loved the perfect balance of a creamy, sweet and fruity depth with a light and fresh character.
When I found out that this tea is 100% Yabukita, I was intrigued to learn more and reached out to the producers. They explained that this extra richness has a lot to do with the historic Ashikubo area which has over 800 years of tea growing history and was the birthplace of Shizuoka tea.
Ashikubo has steep mountains surrounding the Ashikubo river. These slopes mean that the tea plants growing in Ashikubo either have morning sun or the setting sun (depending on if they are East or West facing) and only receive a short amount of direct sunlight every day. The temperature difference between day and night is also large which slows the growth and allows morning mist to shroud over the tea plants giving natural shade. This promotes tea with added richness, sweetness and aroma.
This sencha has been lightly steamed (about 30 seconds) and rolled carefully to maintain fuller tea leaves. This lighter steaming is perfectly suited to tea growing on steeper slopes as these leaves have naturally lower levels of astringency and bitterness compared with plateau tea.
Ashikubo sencha is historically stored and aged until autumn to further enhance aroma and add a little extra umami