I was feeling a little adventurous when I bought this tea. Normally I stick to my tried and true favorite, the Kirishima/Kagoshima senchas, but I was curious about the other teas in Yuuki-Cha’s lineup. This was one of their newer Saemidori variants. Despite having zero reviews, I decided to roll the dice on this mystery tea based on Yuuki-Cha’s excellent track record.
The dry leaf appearance leaves a lot to be desired. The leaves are excessively broken and look like dust and fannings of a low grade tea. Despite using a stainless fine mesh strainer, the tea leaves behind a lot of sediment that can lead to bitterness. The leaves clogged my shibo and I didn’t even attempt to brew it in my kyusu for fear of badly clogging the sasame filter. I’m not one for teabags but it may be called for here.
Because of how broken the leaf is, this tea infuses quickly so it’s important to keep infusion times short. Like under a minute. I had to mess around with the brewing parameters for a bit because I kept getting a lot of bitterness. Finally, I settled on steep times of 25s/1s/30s/45s. Also, starting with a lower temperature around 140-150 F and going from there helped minimize bitterness.
The first steep was a balanced sweet-bitter brew. Second infusion was a flash steeping and it produced a thick, grassy cup with a nice chlorophyll flavor. The thickness and deep green color of the liquor resembled matcha. It had a brisk, bold vegetal flavor and ever-present astringency. Not as sweet as the higher grade Saemidori senchas nor does it have the umami of better teas.
Overall, while I liked it, I wasn’t as impressed with this tea as others. I found this to be a good, serviceable sencha but nothing remarkable. The extra fine particles of tea were annoying and couldn’t be steeped in my nicer teaware.
Flavors: Astringent, Grass, Vegetal