Friday, April 24, 2015

Curious Tea, Sencha Fukujyu

Curious Tea Description:
Sencha is the most popular tea in Japan. Unlike the Chinese green tea counterparts, which are pan fried after plucking, Japanese Sencha is steamed to prevent the oxidisation of the tea. Only after the oxidisation process has been stopped by steaming are the leaves rolled, shaped and dried. This steaming process gives Japanese green tea its unique flavour that is so different from other non-steamed green teas.

We sourced this Sencha Fukujyu for our January 2015 Light and Mixed boxes. It is a later harvest Sencha, the flavour of which is enhanced by partially covering the tea bushes with blankets as they are grown. This slows the growing process, allowing the bushes to draw more nutrients from the soil, thus producing a tea with a stronger flavour.

Sample provided by Curious Tea

My Review:
This is the second of two teas included in a monthly subscription box sent to me by Curious Tea for review. The sample contains 50 g of leaf. It is packaged in a resealable zip lock pouch. The label is attractive yet simple and uncluttered in design. It features a brief description of the tea and recommended brewing parameters.

I catch a slightly sweet and sour grassiness upon opening the bag. Removing a scoop of leaf reveals the flat pressed leaf that resembles dried blades of grass. As I add the leaf to my clear glass teapot, I am noticing a lot of very tiny particles. I have only seen this type tea one other time so I do not know if that is the nature of this tea or if it is the result of settling. Either, way I might have been better served to have prepared this in a Finum basket - we'll see.

The water was heated to 158 F (70 C) and poured over the leaf. The lowest setting on my kettle is 175 F, so I had to stand guard over the water to catch it at the proper moment. The steep time was 1 1/2 minutes.

The liquor is a little cloudy from the small particles that my poor quality filter could not strain out. No real harm except a slight aesthetic blip. The liquor is very yellow green, to the point of an almost fluorescent hue. I find that pretty cool. It is like lemonhead candy colored.

The wet leaf is pretty chopped but very fresh and green. It looks like herbs and has a steamed spinach scent. It's not even suppertime so it isn't the belly speaking.

I think Curious Tea nails the taste profile on their webpage by saying this "has a full vegetal and slightly toasty flavour. It strongly evokes green vegetables, such as spinach or greens with a nori undertone and a distinct dryness in the aftertaste."

I am not sure what more I could add to this description except to say using such a low temperature has made for a very mild cup. Apparently, I have always used a much higher temperature in the past as my sencha has always had a strong bitter note. This really is devoid of bitterness and rough edges. The dryness gives it just a touch of texture but no sense of astringency. Though the dry leaf had a slight sweetness in its scent, the brew does not.

This tea was part of a monthly subscription box. Based on what I have seen so far, this tea was well worth over half the monthly price. If you are outside the UK you will have to add in some shipping costs before deciding. You can learn more here.

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