Handpicked Shizuoka sencha from Murakami Tea Garden is not your usual sencha – it needs a lot of patience and effort which will be highly rewarded – this tea has the completely and depth of gyokuro and green freshness of the finest sencha.
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Handpicked Shizuoka Sencha is a mountain-grown sencha from Yoshiwara in Shizuoka, made by Murakami Tea Garden. Cultivar used is yabukita.
A Bit More Yellowish than Your Regular Sencha
Leaves are dark green with a tiny yellowish hue, very silky, quite unbroken. This tea has been steamed for 90-100 seconds. Producer says it is on the border of chuumushi and fukamushi sencha. Btw, did you ever put fukamushi tea leaves in a tea pot and made round movements near your ear with your teapot in hand? This sound reminds me of waves. I love it, as it fits this Handpicked Shizuoka Sencha perfectly. Do you know why? Let’s talk about the scent.
This handpicked Shizuoka sencha has a very fresh, grassy and sweet scent – seaside and roasted hazelnuts soaked in honey. And this is only the beginning. Price is $30 for 50 grams, and it is also available in 10 grams sample pouch. Keep in mind that sencha is unshaded tea.
Handling the Handpicked Shizuoka Sencha
Brewing: 5 grams, 60 degrees Celsius, 100ml, 60 seconds, 80 degrees Celsius, 200 ml, 15, 30, 45, 60 seconds
Handpicked Shizuoka Sencha has a more yellowish color than some senchas of same steaming time. Color is very murky, which is the result of steaming time. This tea has a lot of umami (not quite like the gyokuro one, but definitely there) mixed with sweet lightly toasty notes and slightly bitter tail what leaves so much sweetness in your mouth. Umami doesn’t want to leave as well. There is a lot of depth in the flavor. This is definitely not your typical sencha. There is so much scent in the leaves, scent that is matching the flavor 100%.
Even the suggested starting temperature is much lower than for regular sencha, and this one would really be ruined if you try using 70+ degrees.
Second steep gives a much greener color, very murky as well, with so much flavor and scent left, quite unusual for a second sencha infusion. It’s a bit more refreshing, a bit less umami (80 degrees), but with even more sweetness and slightly stronger bitterness. Leaves have a strong cooked green vegetable scent, still full of sweetness. It is slightly changing from dessert tea into refreshing tea. Third one is slowly losing umami and sweetness and starts getting very refreshing. It also gives an instant sweetness, as soon as it touches your tongue. I got two more infusions, still very nice, sweet and very green and refreshing. I think it would be a shame to waste the leaves, as they really are nothing like the ordinary sencha leaves.
This Handmade Shizuoka sencha is one of rare teas that gives me an instant caffeine kick. I don’t usually feel caffeine in tea as I drink up to 4 litres of tea per day, but gyokuro and strong sencha always makes me wide awake and even a bit hyperactive.
This tea is very complex. It needs enormous amount of patience and attention, just as any complex person would need. Treat it nice and it will pay you back in amazing layers of scents and flavors and strong unique bitter-sweet experience. Never ever overbrew sencha during the first steep as the bitterness will stay and the leaves will be completely ruined. This tea is for those searching for umami and sweetness, full flavor and depth. It wouldn’t be a good choice if you want just a simple refreshment and intense vegetal flavor.