Micro-fermented sencha from Sayama, Sayama-kaori cultivar
Type of tea: “Micro-fermented” sencha
Origin: Iruma City, Saitama Prefecture
Harvest: First spring harvest
Multi-talented tea producer Hiruma Yoshiaki shines in tea competitions when it comes to both hand-rolled teas (te-momi cha) and especially innovation. Not satisfied with using new Japanese tea plant cultivars, he has re-invented sencha with his series of “micro-fermented” teas (bihakkô-cha). He very slightly ferments the fresh leaves that he intends to use to make sencha, so that they wilt. The process is inspired by methods used for certain oolong teas, especially in Taiwan. The results are astonishing senchas with a floral fragrance that was until now unknown in Japanese teas.
For this tea, he uses the sayama-kaori cultivar, which is a famous cultivar created in Saitama Prefecture and long used in many tea-producing areas in Japan. It is especially prized for its pleasant aroma. Thus, it was natural that Mr. Hiruma would turn to this cultivar a number of years ago for his experiments with leaf-wilting techniques. This is the cultivar that he has most often used in his experiments.
Indeed, the sweet, slightly creamy and fruity smell of flowers is particularly clear in this tea. It has a strong flavour that echoes the fragrance perfectly. It is a little astringent, but that makes this sencha refreshing. Long in the mouth, it leaves a delicately perfumed aftertaste.
This sencha shows the extent of the new horizons that this producer has opened for the future of Japanese tea.
Quantity of leaves*: 3 g / 1 tsp per person
Quantity of water: 70 ml / 1/4 cup per person
Water temperature: 70°C / 158°F
Steeping time: 40 seconds
*If you are making tea for just one person, increase the quantity of leaves slightly.