I’ve logged this tea before (quite a number of times actually) but that was all from the 2010 crop. This is 2011. I’ll admit, I knew I wanted more of this tea before shincha preordering was even an option. I mean, it was so delicious last year. Sweet, pungent, notes of muscat and nori. It’s the stereotypical sencha profile taken this close to perfection. On top of that, it could take any kind of brewing method – it gave me deliciousness when brewed in not only my kyusu but also a steeping ball and an in-cup steeping basket (and not many sencha seem to be able to take that kind of abuse). So last year this delightful tea had firmly burrowed into my heart.
But this year, I didn’t order any. I was trying to be good and only do one (slightly massive) shincha order and O-cha.com didn’t get that order this year. And I loved my new shinchas. I really did. They were good to me. But by summer time, I was missing this one. Every time I’d try a new green tea, I’d think, “Mmm, this is delicious… but Yutaka Midori is better.” Fortunately, I happened to be complaining about my lack of my one favorite shincha around the time that my SIL was apparently searching for a birthday present for me. So she surprised me a pack of this. Have I mentioned the awesomeness that is my SIL?
I’ll admit, part of me was a little nervous to try this one again. Tea quality can differ from crop to crop and Japan didn’t exactly have an easy time of it the past year. Maybe the new crop wouldn’t be as good as the year before. Maybe it would tarnish my memory of Yutaka Midori forever.
Thankfully it didn’t. It’s just as tasty (and as forgiving) as last year. This tea has officially become one of my top hedonistic pleasure. Rough day? This is what I do: Drop some YM into a preheated pot and sniff the heady, sensual notes of gourd vegetables baked by the sun. As I smell the thick, heavy green-ness of the tea, tension begins to melt away. Add some water, pause for a few moments then pour. Inhale the oceanic notes, warm and heavy and I notice that my eyes have drifted closed as I smell. Sip. Ah, nectar of the gods. It explodes on my tongue – sweet, heavy, pungent, green. A strong but sweet vegetal taste with flashes of citrus, muscat, nori and ocean. The texture is heavy and silky and it coats my mouth and tongue and I can swear that when I swallow, I can feel it flowing down my throat into my stomach and then seeping into my muscles, forcing them to soften and relax. One cup later and I’ve officially become a puddle of mush. Rough day? What day? We had a day? All I can remember is tea.
Are there better senchas out there? Eh, probably. But I have yet to run across one that is as consistently delicious as this one is. Others might have flashes of orgasmic brilliance, but repeating that perfect cup can feel nigh on impossible. (I’m looking at you Maeda-en Tokujo Shin-cha.) This one though? Every cup gives me afterglow. Every. Cup.
Excuse me while I go bask some more.