Morita #02: Sayama Sencha Green Tea from Yunomi

KakureiSayamaSencha2Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:

Tea Description:

The Morita family’s quality sencha is a result of 10 generations of tea farming. This Sayama region green tea is can be steeped to be very astringent with a touch of umami (savoriness) using hot water, or with a great balance between astringency (shibumi) and umami savoriness using warm water.

Learn more about this tea here.

Taster’s Review:

Yes! Green tea season is here! It is in this blogger’s personal preference to drink tea by the seasons. I often find myself craving one specific type of tea throughout a single time frame. And it makes perfect since too, I like higher oxidized teas that require hotter water in the winter, and lower or non-oxidized teas in the spring and summer for their fresh vegetal notes and their lower brewing temperature. With the weather turning warmer I have not even thought about boiling my water for a shou or a black tea, and have turned instead to Japanese greens, Taiwanese jade oolongs and sheng. The Morita family’s Sayama Sencha from Yunomi fits the bill quite nicely.

I love the smell of sencha tea every time I open a package and dive in. It just smells so buttery and fresh… like hot off the bamboo steamer steamed edamame, salty and so hot that it burns my tongue. Except that I use cooler water than I would for steaming the legume… but, I digress.

This tea lays all it’s cards on the table when I pour out the steeped leaves into my yunomi tea cup. The smell is fresh and intense. It’s so vegetal and marine-like, I can almost picture myself sitting on the beach while downing each sip.

Morita Tea Garden’s is a great Japanese green that hits all the right notes. I have yet to be disappointed by any of the farmers’ teas and offerings at Yunomi, and really, anything you choose will surely be a hit. I’d drink this all day everyday if I could! But then all of my other teas would get lonely.

2010 Tokujo Shin-cha from Maeda-en

Tea Information:

Leaf Type:  Green

Where to Buy:  Maeda-en

Company Description:

This is the creme de la creme of our Shin-cha selections. Our best baby leaves are harvested in the under the bright spring-time sun, then deep steamed to create this rich and hearty brew.

For each Hatsumono, or New Crop that one eats/drinks, it is said that one’s lifespan is extended for another 75 days. Shin-cha is also the harbinger of spring, and is a tea merchant’s treasured tradition.

Taster’s Review:

I pre-ordered this in early spring, 2010 (or perhaps even late winter!) and when I received it, I tucked it away in my tea drawer and kept it there.  As I write this, it is the first time I tried this delightful tea.

It came in such a pretty package!  The box was beautiful, and the tin was even prettier.  I just… didn’t want to open it!  How silly of me to postpone trying this tea!  Just like in people – the true beauty is within!

The tea leaves are cut very small and are vivid green.  When I poured hot water (165° F) over them the top of the water in my brewing device had a tiny bit of froth at the top that reminded me of Matcha!

The flavor is sublime!  It has a creaminess to it that is a little buttery, but not as buttery as some green teas I’ve tried.  It’s almost like butter and cream.  The vegetative quality is a little grassy and a little bit like vegetables, and when combined with the creamy taste it is quite a luscious experience.

And like the description suggests, this is really quite hearty for a green tea.  It has a sort of thickness to it that I would liken to Matcha, but without the “chalkiness” of Matcha.  The mouthfeel is velvet-y smooth and there is a very light astringency in the finish that is a nice contrast to the creamy-soft mouthfeel.

From what I can see of the Maeda-en website, the spring 2010 harvest of this outstanding tea has sold out.  So, I recommend that you keep your eyes peeled for the 2011 harvest, and pre-order it when the opportunity presents itself.  You won’t be disappointed!