I think I have an obsession with Liches (who Ben swears the plural is Lichen, and I am not sure I want to agree with that or not) I just absolutely love them! To me, painting a magical armor wearing or magic slinging skeleton glowing with undead magical energy is just the best thing, I might like painting them more than I do monsters. There are currently more Liches (my blue banshee totally counts) on my tea table then elves and monsters, and I am in the market for more…yep, I totally have an obsession. I blame Tolkien, since I am pretty sure my love for them started with the Nazgul and Barrow Wights…or maybe it came from the creepy Horned King from The Black Cauldron?
Today we are taking a trip to Japan for something beautiful and green, Yunomi’s Obubu #5 Kirameki No Sencha, Shaded Summer Green Tea. From the Kyoto Obubu Tea Farm in, you guessed it, Kyoto, this Sencha is shaded for two weeks before harvesting, giving it a lightness after its strong summer sunlight. The name, Kirameki no Sencha is evocative of shimmering light dancing on water, and that sounds beautiful, and I am a little sad I am drinking this so late in the year, it sounds like the perfect summer drink. Now, before I get into the way these leaves smell, I have to say wow, these are some big leaves! Very large, especially for a Sencha, I was very impressed by their pine needle like appearance and color. Ok, that aside, sniffing time! The leaves are at first nutty and sweet, notes of sesame seeds and a gentle honey sweetness, then it starts to get an umami note of toasted nori which blends really well with the sesame seed notes. The finishing notes are freshly mown grass and a sharp bell pepper greenness which lingers in the nose.
Into my tiny kyusu the leaves go, and the aroma coming of the now wet leaves is quite green! Fresh kelp and toasted nori blended with asparagus and cooked bell peppers. Undertones of fresh grass and a touch of sweet hay cut through the mostly savory notes. The liquid is sweet and warm, like sunlight on a summer day, where it has warmed the grass and hay, blending the aromas of nature. Underneath that is a gentle nuttiness and just the tiniest hint of kelp and sea air.
The first steeping is clean and smooth, the mouthfeel is very light, I can see why this tea is described as one that is good for a summer day, a combination of a lower brewing temperature and lightness would be very refreshing when it is hot. It starts with notes of lettuce and fresh kelp, cut grass and a touch of sea air. Then it moves to gentle sesame seeds and builds to a gentle sweetness that lingers into the aftertaste. The transition between umami and sweet is gradual and not jarring, which I always find quite nice.
Second steeping, the aroma is sweeter, no sea air or kelp to be found, just honey, sesame seeds, and grass. This steeping was smooth like the first, but the mouthfeel is more buttery than light, giving it a bit more depth. It is greener this time around, and not just in color, notes of kelp and spinach with a touch of grass and a finish of sesame seeds at the finish. Usually Sencha makes me feel energized, hilariously right after drinking this one I fell asleep, that was a first!