What-Cha Japan Yame Matured Kurajikomi Sencha

What-Cha Japan Yame Matured Kurajikomi Sencha
Origin: Yame, Kyushu, Japan
Harvest: May 2014
Elevation: 400-500m

I decided to try one of What-Cha’s new Japanese greens after a rather good experience with his Australian Japanese-style teas and this one stood out to me (although I did forget to buy a sample of the 2015 Goishicha Bancha which is probably What-Cha’s most interesting new tea).
A matured Yame Sencha which has been carefully stored over the summer so as to allow the flavour to continue to develop, it has a smooth well rounded grassy taste with little to no astringency.
This tea has been specially stored in refrigeration for the past year in Japan, in addition to being bagged in Japan, so as to ensure the tea is as fresh as possible.
It seems this “matured” sencha is a pseudo-kuradashi sencha, kuradashi teas are traditionally enriched for around a year, although I have heard of kuradashi teas being refrigerated rather than stored in a warehouse away from heat and cold. Although there have always been stories about crafty businesspeople who sell those teas that were forgotten in the back of a wearhouse as Kuradashi teas, although only certain types of teas are supposed to benefit from aging.

Dry Leaves: The majority of my sample is tea dust (not like bagged tea tea dust, but typical of Japanese greens) as well as couple long leaves. There is a quite a pungent grassy aroma and hints of chocolate.

First Steeping
Temperature: 185oF
Brewing Time: Immediately
Aroma: Grassy
Flavor: Fresh Cut Grass, Citrus and Nutty
Tasting Notes: This is a rather interesting tea, it certainly tastes like a Kuradashi Sencha, it lacks the punch that some Senchas have. It has an incredibly mellow and crisp flavor, although there is quite a bit of depth to it. It was a little unusual for an aged tea to have as fresh of taste as this had.

Other than that the liquor is incredibly clear although you can’t really tell with my photos. It does have some very slight astringency and a little unami too it. This is definitely an Asamushi sencha rather than a Fukamushi, I am a little curious why I have ever encountered an aged Fukamushi Sencha.

Second Steeping
Temperature: 185oF
Brewing Time: Twenty Seconds
Aroma: Grassy                   
Flavor: Grassy and Nutty
Tasting Notes: I was a little hesitant to follow What-Cha’s recommended brewing parameters; What-Cha suggests for the first infusion to remove leaves immediately and for each subsequent infusion add twenty seconds). I decided to even though the last infusion was pretty strong, luckily I did not over brew! While it is a tad more potent than the last infusion, it is rather nice.

The flavors are still very crisp and mellow, but the citrus of the last is gone, and while this tea is still grassy it is not a fresh as the last. I rather liked this infusion; it has a nice unusual texture for a Japanese green and some astringency.

Third Steeping
Temperature: 185oF
Brewing Time: Forty Seconds
Aroma: Nutty
Flavor: Grassy and Nutty
Tasting Notes: Not much has changed from the last infusion, it has not started to wane, but you can definitely tell its days are numbered.

I enjoyed this Matured Kurajikomi Sencha, while it is not a complex tea it is rather nice because of how crisp and clean it is. It is very easy to enjoy while those new to Japanese greens may mistake this for a simple daily drinker, there is a lot of nuance to it. It could be a nice introduction to Japanese greens, but I’d feel more comfortable recommending this to someone with a more experienced palate and looking for really clean flavors. At the time of writing this What-Cha is selling this at $13.50 for 50g. 


Just a guy who likes tea.