Okumidori Kabusecha (Shaded Sencha) 2022
The Henta family’s organic garden sits in Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu island, in south Japan. This is an active volcanic region, making the soils volcanic. Henta-san himself prioritises the quality of the soil, and has a craft approach to tea, ideal for making individual, high quality teas on their organic garden. This tea is a Kabusecha which ranks above sencha in Japanese teas. Kabusecha is only grown in the spring season, under the shade. Shading the tea plants increases the umami in the tea, giving Kabusecha its characteristic umami, which is an important flavour in Japanese cuisine.
This is a single-varietal batch, the leaves coming from the Okumidori varietal, which makes up a small proportion of tea grown in Japan. The covers were over the plants for 11 days, reducing the sunlight and increasing the production of amino acids in the leaf, which increases the umami. After picking, the leaves were steamed to keep them green, as with most teas in Japan. The steaming was a quick 30s which preserves the leaf shape and give the tea precision of flavour.
This magnificent tea expresses the beauty of the Okumidori varietal. It opens with leafy green vegetal notes, leading to edamame, peas, and legumes, then a particularly delicious long umami finish. The texture is thick, silky, and smooth.
Infuse at 6g per 150ml (teacup size) at 40C for 2-3 mins. This is the authentic Japanese way which brings out the umami. You can also infuse with 4g at 60C for 1 min which gives a more leafy vegetal profile.