This is a sweet, nutty, vegetal sencha without the strong briny umami that I so often find offputting in more heavily steamed senchas and gyokuro.
The leaf is deep rich green, medium long fragments—not quite as long as the Sayamakaori from Yuuki-cha, but longer than my average Asamushi sencha, very sweet smelling, even a bit nutty.
2.5 grams of leaf in a small gaiwan, about 2.5 oz or 75 mL of tap water per infusion
1st infusion, 30 seconds
sweet, vegetal, nutty, very nice
2nd infusion, 10 seconds
vegetal, sweet, nutty—the nutty is a hint of astringency, I think, but not bitterness, and a hint of toasted/roasted flavor
3rd infusion, 45 seconds
again, the toasty, vegetal nuttiness, astringency, but light
a 4th infusion, 1 minute
still nutty, vegetal, now fairly astringent
The finished leaves are bright green, and moderately broken up, although I did fine one or two small whole leaves
I think part of the astringency is the brewing, here, because just for accuracy’s sake, not really for comparison, I’m brewing up some of the Yuuki-Cha Sayamakaori sencha at the same time, and finding some of the same elements in it—not the roastedness, but more astringency than I’m used to. I think my leaf-to-water ratio is really not quite the same as in the kyusu. But I’ve got a pretty good idea that this is going to be a very nice sencha, and am looking forward to first proper session with the Tokoname kyusu.
Both with this and with another new green tea I tried this weekend, it’s quite clear that despite attempts to control conditions, changes in brewing conditions for the purpose of doing these comparisons—brewing sencha in my gaiwans instead of my kyusu—sometimes distorts the results, because I’m moving outside my usual comfort zone.
A 2nd set of infusions, in the 5 oz kyusu with 4 grams of leaf, tap water 160 degrees at first, infusions 30", 15", 30"; raised temp to 170 degrees for 45 seconds and 1 minute infusions, worked out better, still some astringency but not as much, more to my taste.
This is a nice, vegetal nutty sencha.