Yunomi's Premium Sayama Sencha Suiren

Premium Sayama Sencha Suiren
Origin: Sayama, Saitama Prefecture, Japan
Harvest: First

So I decided to try the sample of Premium Sayama Sencha Surien from Morita TeaGarden that I got from Yunomi.Us for the second time today. The first time I tried it I brewed it at 150F by mistake and it turned out very bitter. I know ten degrees can be a lot of difference for a Japanese green tea, but if feel that this tea is a little temperamental. 

While not entirely relevant I know a lot of people, especially those who don’t regularly drink Japanese teas, can be a little skittish around teas grown in areas that were affected by the Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant failure of 2011. While Yunomi vouches for the safety of this tea and other teas produced in the affected regions, many small farms are avoided by vendors within Japan and out because of a perceived contamination. I don’t want to recommend this tea or any tea because I feel the people who grew and made this tea are unfairly being ignored, but if you are one of those people who are afraid of Japanese teas because of the 2011 Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant failure please reconsider your stance. You don’t owe anyone your patronage, but you are missing out on wonderful teas by avoiding teas produced within regions. If you have any questions about teas grown in areas affected by the 2011 disaster or want to see proof of their safety Yunomi has a contact page and they are always open to questions.

Dry Leaves: The leaves are a little broken up, but my mailman did deliver the envelop that contained this sample smashed between two heavy boxes, so I won’t hold that against it. Otherwise the dry leaf is pretty intense, mostly flattish pieces and the occasionally rounded needle shape, both of various sizes. It has a rather nice grassy scent and a little floral

First Steeping
Temperature: 140oF
Brewing Time: Thirty Seconds
Aroma: Grassy and Vegetal
Flavor: Cucumber, Grassy and Honey
Tasting Notes: This infusion was rather interesting; it has all these intense green flavors, and then this nice sweet honey aftertaste. It sort of reminds me of a Chinese green, while still being uniquely a Japanese green. There is plenty of unami in this despite the sweetness.

So despite my horrid first attempt at this tea, this brews very nice, even though I feel that I did not overbrew this tea, it has that slight bitter edge that is hiding under the surface.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 145oF
Brewing Time: Forty-Five Seconds
Aroma: Grassy and Vegetal   
Flavor: Grassy, Cucumber, Spinach, Nutty and Honey
Tasting Notes: Even sweeter than the last infusion. While the last infusion had a nice general grassy taste, this has a much fresher taste that is strangely sweet, reminiscent of a kabusencha. But the cucumber and spinach does offer a nice contrast to the sweetness in the grassy notes. It has a new nutty flavor that I thought was a little strange for such a grassy sencha. Regardless the honey taste is starting to wane and the sweet aftertaste is much weaker than the previous infusion.

This was my favorite of the three infusions, it was in that nice middle ground between good bitterness and sweetness. I don’t often find senchas that have a pleasant bitterness (without being overwhelming) or sweetness (without being sickly sweet). The more that I drank the more I felt this is similar to a kabusencha, although it is darker than any kabusencha I had this year.

Third Steeping
Temperature: 150oF
Brewing Time: One Minute
Aroma: Grassy
Flavor: Grassy, Floral and Lettuce
Tasting Notes: It’s starting to become apparent that this tea has given all it’s got. The sweetness is pretty much all gone, but now there is a weird floral taste that I did not care for. It’s drinkable still, but if I were to order this again I would probably stop at the second infusion, or perhaps a longer brew would bring out more of the dark green notes in this although it would be a shame to lose some of that sweetness.

When I decided to change my format of my blog to a more formulaic style I was afraid of this day; the day when I have to acknowledge that not all teas can last fifteen or more infusions. I am not disappointed that if I were going to brew this again I would probably stop at the second infusion, but sometimes we have to admit that it is perfectly fine for a tea be all used up after x amount of infusions. Sure I am probably that person who rings out as much as I can from my leaves, but sometimes I prefer a shorter more memorable experience than a long drawn out tea session. Regardless of the how many infusions I got out of this I still think it was a pretty good tea, currently it is being sold at $3.50 for a 10g sample, or $28.80 for 100g; while this tea is approaching its first birthday and Yunomi.Us is probably going to have a sale to get rid of their 2014 stock after the spring harvest comes in it is still nice. It doesn’t taste like it is starting to go sale, but you readers who are of a more economic mindset then me might want to wait on purchasing it, in a little more than a month I imagine many of us are going to be drinking 2015 Shincha for the same price as this tea right now.


Just a guy who likes tea.