Saturday, March 28, 2009
Tea Tasting Saturday #13 - Matsuda's Sencha
This week an old friend dropped by the office, and a co-worker who knew I'd want to see her eagerly brought her and her family upstairs for a quick visit. My friend and her husband are missionaries in Japan, and they and their four precious little boys are here for only a very short time for a missions conference. I had just a brief time to quiz my friend on her tea-drinking habits, but I learned two interesting things: 1) Yes, she still drinks her old-fashioned, southern-style "sweet tea" there in Japan. 2) Her oldest son, who has just started school, like most of his classmates takes green tea to school to drink, because green tea and water are the only drinks they are allowed at school! That definitely piqued my interest in learning more about Japanese teas in the coming weeks.
Name of tea: Matsuda's Sencha
Category: Japanese Green Tea
Purveyor: Harney & Sons
When purchased: March 2009
Dry leaf appearance: Very thin, dark green leaves. You know how you sometimes open a box of vermicelli and think wow, that's some skinny spaghetti? That's what I thought of when I opened this tea.
Wet leaf appearance: This tea changed color very quickly, taking on a much brighter green hue almost from the moment the water hit it.
Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 175 degrees, 1 minute. (Yes, 1 minute!)
Scent: This tea had a nice vegetal scent, sort of a "steamed asparagus" one but with a final note that struck me as citrusy, like a lemon. Maybe with a little butter, too?
Color: Yellow green
Flavor: Mmm! I liked this tea immediately, although I didn't experience the fullness of it at first sip. It seemed like a nice white tea, but about halfway through the cup I thought no, this is different from those light whites and has a richer taste. It's that "broth" taste again. I had several more cups of this tea and enjoyed it a lot, re-steeping it for about a minute and a half.
Additional notes: I was eager to read the Harney book to find out who Matsuda was and why he got a Sencha named after him. I fully expected some mysterious, ancient Japanese myth. Imagine my surprise at learning Matsuda is simply the Japanese tea farmer who grows this tea!
Next week's tea: Kakegawa Ichiban Sencha