This is a regular sencha with a complicated name. Make that, a regular “rough” sencha somewhat mimicking the “aracha”-style of green tea. The leaves were long, reedy, and not quite as uniform as ordinary refined sencha. In truth, it looked like the Chinese sencha used in many green tea blends. Suits me just fine, I loved the stuff. Put analogously, this tasted like a celery stick lathered in honey-flavored peanut butter. Sure, it’s grassy like senchas are, but there’s more at work here than just that – a fruity lean, a nutty nuance, a sweet finishing act. Worth a visit even with the long-arse name.
Kondouwase Arashiage - 2010 1st Harvest Shizuoka Sencha
Kondouwase Arashiage is a type of Sencha coming from the Mariko area of Shizuoak’s Suruga Province. Kondouwase is an unregistered cultivar that apparently was a spontaneous hybridization of an established Shizuoka cultivar with another cultivar that was most likely of Indian (Assamese) origin.
The term Arashiage is a Japanese Sword-making term which refers to the rough finishing on a sword, and in this case it refers to the fact that this tea is close to Aracha, the term given to tea after its initial processing by the farmers right after harvest. It is close to aracha because it has only undergone minimal sorting after the initial processing at the farm. Basically the only sorting and post-processing that went on with this tea was the removal of any small leaf fragments or tea dust and any of the larger stems from the mix before the final drying/finishing. This finished tea is a more refined version of Aracha, or unsorted “farmers’ tea.”
After infusing, the tea liquor is a rich, clear yellow-green color. Because all but the large stems and small leaf particles are in this tea, the flavor and mouthfeel of the infusion is on the bold side, especially for a light steamed Sencha. The flavor is mildly sweet, a bit briny and has a nicely balanced bittersweet finish. The mouthfeel is moderately thick & full-bodied, and the aftertaste is rich, slightly sweet and long lasting. I highly recommend this particular tea for people new to light steamed Sencha simply because it delivers the rich, full mouthfeel of a deep steamed Sencha while allowing the more delicate & sweet flavors of a truly high quality Asamushi (light steamed) to come through prominently.