Monday, August 9, 2010

Looking for good sencha

One of our customers asked me if I can sell sencha for him. We (Everyone’s Tea) do not sell tea and never exported tea, but I decided to help him personally. He is exploring sencha, and wants to try some different sencha from what he’s tried. He wants to try what I recommend, and is looking for some good sencha in the price range of 1000-1500yen/100g or more.
There are some shops that offer free tea tasting for a couple kind of tea. But it is difficult find tea shops that offer tea tasting for many kind of tea. I know a lady who is a Japanese tea instructor, and works at a tea shop. I visited the shop that she works which offers the tea tasting. She recommended me five kind of sencha and I tested the five teas. I liked all of them. I’ll introduce the sencha I have tried. I’m sorry that the color of pictures is not good, kind of yellowish.

1. Honyama sencha
Good balance of umami and bitterness. This is very sencha. Good looking tealeaves. The tealeaves were preserved by the classical method and naturally matured.
Price: 126yen/10g (sold by weight)
Production region: Suruga Honyama in Shizuoka prefecture

2. Morimachi deep-steamed sencha
Nice aroma. The tea was brewed little strong, and it has pronounced flavor but still mild.
Price: 105yen/10g (sold by weight)
Production region: Enshu Morimachi in Shizuoka prefecture

3. Shizuoka blend deep-steamed sencha
Good *fire aroma (hika). Soft umami and good bitterness. If you want to know what hika is, this will be good one.
Price: 63yen/10g (sold by weight)
Production region: Shizuoka prefecture

*Fire aroma: Sorry, I could not find good translation for hika. Tea leaves are dried in high temperature in the making process. In the drying process, the distinctive aroma is given to the leaves, and it is called hika. And I translated it into fire aroma here.

Sorry I forgot to take a picture of the leaves.
4. Ariake sencha
It was very distinctive. Profound umami and flavor. The tea I tested was brewed with cold water, so I can not simply compare with the other teas brewed with hot water. But, I was impressed with the very rich umami like kabusecha. I believe it was deep-steamed sencha.
Price: 126yen/10g (sold by weight)
Production region: Ariake Kagoshima prefecture

5. Kawane sehcna
The flavor was rounded and accomplished. Nice umami and smooth bitterness. I liked this tea the best. This is made from 100 years old tea plants. It is very old for tea plants.
Price: 1050yen for 50g package
Production region: Kawane in shizuoka prefecture

The teas I tasted were all very good. I can recommend either of them to the customer. If I prioritize these teas with my preference, it will be the same order with the price. I don’t think the price of tea always decides the quality of tea, but this time it did.
I will definitely recommend the “# 5. Kawane sencha”.
If he wants to try …
Rich umami, “# 4.” will be good.
The standard sencha, “# 1.” will be good.
Nice deep-steamed sencha, “# 2.” will be good.
Fire aroma, “# 3.” will be good.

If you are looking for good Japanese tea, I’ll recommend finding a good tea shop that offers tea tasting for many kind of tea.

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