明治神宮文化館 (Meiji jingu bunkakan)
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Recent Tasting Notes
My apologies for not writing any notes here for a long time. Exams, traveling and the lack of any special tea experience makes it hard to find the time or motivation. That, however, clearly changed yesterday as I both got more time and quite an extraordinary tea in my possession.
The tea this time is Tenryuu no megumi or Blessings of the heavenly dragon, a sencha tea I bought when visiting the Mejijingu or the Meji Shrine close to Harajuku, Tokyo. While the shrine also sells tea harvested from different, perhaps sometimes more unknown places in Japan, this tenryuu sencha is from Shizouka. The tenryuu can actually only be found here, as the tea has its name from being raised and picked on the mountainside close to the tenryuu river in northwestern Shizouka.
The leaves are thin and long and smell juicy and fresh. Usually, I would prepare it like a “normal” sencha on 80 degrees Celsius for about one minute, but since the leaves were giving such an impression of high quality, I decided to go for 70 degrees for about two minutes.
(On a side note, I actually visited a skilled tea specialist on Chinese tea some weeks ago, and she explained, as far as I understood, that tea infused on lower temperature steeping for a longer time, will give of more sweetness while tea infused on high temperature for a short amount of time, will have a stronger flavor releasing other flavors colder water would not be able to.)
When I drank this I was expecting the tea to taste like usual, perhaps a bit more round and and sweet sencha. Instead, the tea tasted almost like gyokuro, having the most wonderful juicy and sweet taste, and the delicious aftertaste remained in my mouth several minutes afterwards. I was, and still am, really astonished over this result.
I also infused the leaves again in the “normal” way, but although the taste was not bad, is was nowhere near the first result. Next time I will try the “normal” way when doing the first infusion, but I do think that I have already found the first preparation most suitable for my preferences.