Review: Norbu Tea 2010 Spring Hon Yama Zairai Sencha

Green Tea, Japanese Tea, Norbu Tea, Sencha Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!" It was like someone took the almondy note from the dry leaves and added a touch of honey to 'em."
Geoff’s Teaview: 7.9/10
Other Teaviews: Jamie gave it 9/10
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Hon Yama is one of the oldest (and most famous) growing regions in Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan. The region is known for its hills and low-mountain slopes near the banks of a tributary and major river - apparently ideal for cultivation. "Zairai" means "Native" in Japanese and is the name given to a type of tea leaf cultivar known for being ancient in comparison to most, even the well-established Yabukita varietal. Farmers look upon the old-growth tea trees as a weed-like nuisance and not quite as durable as their younger cousins. However, attempts to be rid of the cultivar were travailing due to their deep and extensive root system.

The leaves for this spring-grown sencha were light green and possessed an almond-like, nutty aroma. There wasn't much of an impression of light-steaming as the title of the tea suggested. It was quite similar to bancha in this regard - a rough green tea I didn't care for. The loudest characteristic that shined through was the roasting, and I've reflected my opinion in the past about roasted Japanese green teas.

Norbu Tea recommended a steep of ninety seconds to two minutes in 145F-155F water. That made a lot of sense to me, given what little I knew of light-steamed greens. The last "asamushi"-style tea I tried required around the same amount of time and temp. I went with their instructions; 1 teaspoon-worth in 8oz of water, but kept the infusion time and temp on the low end.

The liquor brewed to a very pale, somewhat foggy yellow-green with a surprising nut-sweet nose. It was like someone took the almondy note from the dry leaves and added a touch of honey to 'em. I actually found it sort of pleasant. The taste took on a buttery, leafy characteristic I mostly expected but didn't lament. I would've liked a less vegetal note and more of a fruity one, but that's what one gets from sencha most of the time. It's pretty good but not the best I've imbibed.

— To purchase Norbu Tea 2010 Spring Hon Yama Zairai 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.

Teaviews Member: Geoff Geoff
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