Thursday, May 14, 2009

Sencha The Ultimate

Tea: Yame - Sencha The Ultimate
Vendor: Zencha
Price: $22.00 / 50g
Source: Yame, Japan
Vendor Description: This is the tea specially produced for exhibition and in limited supply.
Only first two leaves and buds are carefully picked by hands.
Rich in natural sweet aroma and fresh scent with excellent astringent taste.

Leaf: The leaf has a bold and fresh aroma to it. It is somewhat different than most sencha aromas, but I can't seem to pinpoint how. It has some very gracefully long and thin needles to it, but in general appears to be more of a fukamushi than anything.

1st Infusion Parameters: 5g, 5oz, 185F, 45s

1st Infusion: This tea has a brilliant green hue to it. It is a very bold and persistent aroma. It reminds me of the aroma from the leaf. There is a pleasant crispness to the aroma. The infusion is lightly murky with a bold flavor. It starts with a very sharp, but momentary flavor. On the back end there is a light marine flavor. There are other aspects to this flavor which I'm having a problem pinpointing. It feels very complex yet undefined. Overall the flavor starts off lightly and then hangs around in the middle to taper off to a long aftertaste.

2nd Infusion Parameters: 185F, 15s

2nd Infusion: This infusion has a bold and rich green hue to it. The flavor is light and crisp with a light bitterness to it. The backend has a light bit of astringency, but it's showing the same complicated nature as the first infusion.

Rating: 7/10

Conclusion: While I was excited to try this tea out in order to see more of the spectrum that a Yame sencha could offer I was disappointed by this offering. The flavor was muddled and not as clear as I would expect from something labeled as the ultimate. Part of this may be from this tea being more akin to a fukamushi bordering on a chumushi. But I don't particularly see this tea as being any better / worse than the Serene Forest from Lupicia. And given that the Serene Forest is around half the price, I would suggest going with that one instead. Currently though Zencha has this in a shincha for preorder and that might have a bit more brightness and clarity that the sampled one did not have.

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