Sunday, February 22, 2009

Sencha Ashikubo

Tea: Sencha Ashikubo
Vendor: Davids Tea
Price: $9.38 /25g
Source: Ashikubo Valley, Japan
Vendor Description:If you’re a lover of Japanese sencha, this tea is a must. It comes from the stunning Ashikubo valley in Japan, and is dried the traditional way – using wood fires. As a result, it’s milder and less grassy than regular senchas. Admirers point to its characteristic fruitiness and to the hint of toast that comes from the firing process. Most say they can’t go a day without it.

Leaf: the leaf is either a chumushi or asamushi, it's along the line between the two. The life has a nice glossy appearance to it, there are a few nice long needles and not too much powder.

1st Infusion Parameters: 5g, 5 oz, 185F, 1 min

1st Infusion: The infusion is a clear yellow hue. There is no sedient or murkiness. The color has a brilliant yellow radiance to it. The aroma reminds me of a heavy grassy sencha aroma. Even though it's a thick and heavy aroma it was not very strong. The tea has a certain woodiness to it. It is lightly bitter and has a hint of grassiness. While the tea is very subdued it has some very mild tones.

2nd Infusion Parameters: 185F, 15s

2nd Infusion: This infusion was lightly murky. It has a sweet aroma and a light astringency. The flavor is lightly marine.

Rating: 6/10

Conclusion: This is a very puzzling sencha. It is mild and very much like an asamushi or a chumushi, but it's hard to tell where between the two it lies. The first infusion had an interesting woodiness to the flavor, possibly a result of the wood fires from the description. In a way it reminded me of the Kuradashi Sencha from Hibiki-an. The flavor is light and appropraite and quite good. It's hard to describe, but it was a very solid tating tea. The downside of it is that this tea is very highly priced. At almost 40 dollars for 100g, this is one of the pricier senchas around. While quite tasty, I'm hesitant to say that this tea is worth the cost.

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