Thursday, April 28, 2011

Tasting the first tea of 2011

Do people feel delight for any first harvest or products of the year in your country? Beaujolais Nouveau, perhaps? Somehow, we Japanese appreciate firstlings. There is even an old saying, “If you eat firstling, your life will be extend 75 days longer.” Hahaha^^

Konnichiwa, it’s meヽ(^。^)ノ Now it is the season for first harvest of tea this year in Japan! Yaaay! Now, tea is being harvested and sold in stores. Farmers say that this year’s picking season is about one week later than the usual years’ because of the climate change. Geographically, the season starts from southern regions and move up to northern areas.

I had a chance to taste the first tea of 2011 at the workshop I joined last week. It was still the beginning of the season so the teas were from Kagoshima, southern prefecture of Japan. We had two kinds of fukamushi-sencha (deeps-teamed sencha). One was made of Yutakamidor breed and the other one was made of Saemidori breed.

Left: Saemidori, Right:Yutakamidori

We brewed it at 63degC (145F) in 50ml of water for 1 min.
The aroma was very natural and rounded. As I sip it, the flavor made me smile. It had a nice sweetness.

We brewed it at (65degC 149F) in 50ml of water for 40sec.
This tea had greener aroma than Yutakamidori but despite of the aroma I found more umami in this tea. All I can say was “Wow!” It had a rich and mellow flavor.

Both teas had rich umami and did not have much bitterness. These senchas are covered by screen to avoid direct sunlight for a few days before picking. Some of you might notice that they aren’t considered as kabusecha. Yes, these senchas are made like kabusecha, but the covering period is shorter than kabuse. That’s why these are sold as sencha. *I believe there is no clear definition of the covering period to distinguish sencha, kabusecha and gyokuro. Anyway these senchashad good umami like kabusecha. I actually loved both of them. I very much enjoyed the first tea with kuzu confection and the tea time with other participants. I guess I am one of the people who feel delight for firstlings, hehe^^ Jah!

Basically, sencha is not covered with screen. Some farmers cover sencha for a very short period to make mild sencha.


  1. That's some great news ! There are finally here.

    To tell you the truth, Beaujolais nouveau is crap. It is something that sells very well outside of France but it is not known for its tasting qualities here. It is said that there is more Beaujolais nouveau sold than actually produced... It is a good occasion to drink, but the wine in itself is usually pretty bad. ;-)

  2. You are right. Maybe we just want a reason to party♪( ´▽`)  Beaujolais nouveau, the first tea of the year or whatever!