|"Generous and loud, this tea can easily stand up to strong flavours, providing many possible interesting steeps."|
Grown in Wazuka Garden, in Japan’s Kyoto Prefecture, this first flush (Ichibancha), organic sencha is picked exclusively from Yabukita varietal plants. It’s shade grown for 10 days to enhance its umami notes. Looking at my sample, the leaves are quite striking. Their sheen makes them almost opalescent, adding depth and dimension to their dark olive green shade. Their scent is hard to pin down, sweet and grassy, with creamy vanilla undertones.
I carefully follow the recommended brewing instructions provided by Lalani & Co. since senchas are notoriously finicky beasts to brew. I infuse 4 grams of leaf in 150ml of water, heated to 60 degrees Celsius for 1 minute. The resulting cup is a murky pale green. There are lots of particles floating at the bottom. Taking a sniff, the scent reminds me of white chocolate and raspberries. It’s quite a vegetal brew, with some kelp, bitter cocoa and berry tones thrown in. The sip has a pleasantly creamy feel, up until the finish, where citrus and grass notes give off a touch of astringency. These linger for a long while after I swallow. It’s good – the aftertaste is particularly refreshing, but I was hoping for more significant umami notes.
I try a second steep, infusing the leaves for 1 and a half minutes. The brew is more immediately flavourful now, starting off a touch brinier. The finish is all grass and bitter cocoa notes. While this is quite an expressive tea from the get go, this cup has about the subtlety of a steamroller.
I steep the leaves again for 2 minutes. The cup is a bit softer this time, with smoother vegetal notes. The flavour profile is more streamlined now, with grass notes dominating. The results are still quite potent, especially for a third brew.
I manage to get 3 more decent steeps, following 3, 4 and 5 minute long brews. Sweet vegetal tones such as corn and pea notes are most prominent now. There is still also an underlying briny, seaweed-like component to the cup as well.
Generous and loud, this tea can easily stand up to strong flavours. I can see it working well with creamy deserts, its astringency providing a nice counterpoint. This is a solid leaf, providing many possible interesting steeps. However, it’s quite pricey, especially since the smallest amount available is 100g.
— To purchase Lalani and Co. First Flush Yabukita Sencha, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.
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