Scent of sweetness is the first to push through, but also very earthy and fruity aromas accompany it, as a very delicate trace of dried fruits tries to get noticed. For some reason makes me think of dried apricots, but there are some other scents in it as well, dodging everytime I barely put my finger on them. Sneaky sencha this is.
The steeping process itself is both frustrating and rewarding if everything goes well. I have been working with this ninja-like specimen for some time and it still loves to give me gray hairs. To be honest, I can sometimes be considered very anal person when it comes to making things by the book to the utmost ridiculous detail, but this, this tea promptly makes me lose it. I have a craving desire to get it j u s t r i g h t yet at the same time I’m going berserk and think of ways of making this experience to go so wrong that even UN should consider intervening. Send me some of those blue barrets and I’ll show you an international escapade to last a lifetime. Which might lead to banning this type of tea and mentally scarring few generations, but what the hey. A n y h o w.
To make things a tad bit more interesting: the first time I encountered this tea was in a tearoom just a couple of hours before my wedding. I needed something to soothe and take my mind away from all the things happening around and sat there for a good hour by myself, wedding bouquet on the floor, enjoying the crisp, sunny spring winter morning (in March) and the delicate lingering taste of this tea. What I would’ve really said at the altar without having this moment, best to leave it untouched.
But that moment gave me a reference how the tea should look and taste when it’s made properly: spring green, like the first leaves that pop out in the trees, and very, very intriguing mixture of morning dew, dried fruits and sweet promise which doesn’t dominate others but complements them. The earth element was present, like fresh grass at five a.m. when the dew is on the ground. Ideal for mornings, that is.
Hence the frustration. Since being a person who doesn’t want to use thermometers and all that but learn things through trial and error because it’s always fun and problem solving is something my half-engineer mind enjoys, the steeping at home goes something like this many times:
First attempt: a bit too warm water, turned yellow and bitter and the flavor sharpens so much it’s violating my taste buds. eugh.
Second attempt: temperature just right, nice and green and sweet, but just had to forget the sieve in the cup as ended up doing something else suddenly. Well, at least it was g r e e n. The taste turned ugly. Note to myself: do not make complicated tea while making as well complicated art and/or schoolwork.
Third attempt: A-ha! All is right, the taste lingers as the sweetness is just right as well the solid character, not too thin on tongue and long enough to make the cup last longer. The dried apricots turn into more undefined rough yet subtle underlayer, like the after taste of dried fruits one usually ends up on the tongue: something dry yet still solid and moist. Very pure taste of green, if one could say that. This is what I enjoy with sencha, somehow the taste, even with trace of sweetness, resembles something I categorize as ‘pure’. And it’s also something I wouldn’t enjoy during winter, somehow light and airy flavor suffers when there isn’t enough natural light to boost them. Finnish winter melancholy blues is too much to handle for these types. Figures. Optimists never last here.
Still retracking my way to the succeeded attempt, step by step. But, everytime when things turn right, it’s worth it.
The UN approves.