There's no doubting the nature of this tea when you first open the package. The heady scent of smoke, with complexity and elegance, fills the nose thanks to whiskey barrel oak chips from Ichiro's Chichibu distillery in Tokyo.
Small, fractured dry leaf is fully black with a reddish undertones that show more once infused. Much of the smokiness gives way to a slight floral pungency, like clove pods and a delicate sweetness reminiscent of roasted peanuts and cold smoked lox. All these notes seem to compliment each other well and are not bullied by the delicate smokiness. The liquor is soft, vivid amber in colour and virtually free of bitterness.
Matsumoto-san and family still produce tea on the Makinohara plateau where their ancestors began, about seventy years ago during the Edo period. They continue to this day to use the traditional chagusaba, or tea-grass farming method, to nourish the soil and grow superior tea plants. Chagusaba, a UN recognized agricultural system, are semi-natural grasslands, interspersed between tea fields, that help maintain biodiversity and endangered habitats.
○ Origin: Makinohara, Shizuoka, Japan
○ Cultivar: Yabukita
○ Harvest: First harvest May
○ Impressions: Resin, cedar bark, roasted peanut, lox
○Net weight: 40g
○Servings: 13 first infusions using 3g
As with most of our teas, this tea can be steeped several times. Second infusions are usually for about 2 minutes. Third or fourth infusions require longer times of 3 to 4 minutes. Please remember, these are guidelines to get you started and you may find your preference is to adjust them.