After a long winter of drinking Oolongs and Puerh even the most die hard tea lovers become somewhat jaded, but spring does amazing things. With all the new teas coming to market it,s easy to get drawn into the world of tea again. This Takumi Shincha I bought at a local shop, $13.99 for a 50 gm. nitro flushed bag. Grown in the Kagoshima prefecture and using the Gokou varietal which is known for it.s sweetness and richness. This teas dry leaf appears much more broken than most Shincha, suggesting it,s been subjected to a little heavier steaming than is typical. Also a fair amount of tiny little stems, so small it,s easy to mistake them for leaf. So rustic that it almost looks more like an Aracha (farmers tea) The smell of the dry leaf is very vegetal and fresh. Traditionally Shincha is a very light and delicate tea, but this one appears to be a little bit more on the sturdy and stout end of the spectrum. Brews a deep green cup with a slight murkiness. a.k.a. cloudy. Yep! When they brew up like that, they have been deep steamed, a.k.a. fukamushi. The flavor is very deep and rich with that savory vegetal flavor permeating. In the aftertaste there is a noticable sweetness. A slight astringency in the aftertaste as well. I know a lot of people really love the fukamushi style tea but I prefer the traditional light or mid level steamed tea. Not because I don't like the flavor of the fukamushi but because I don't like the way it looks, green swamp water. Also I prefer to taste the tea itself and not the processing. I guess you could think of it as French Roast Coffee which because of the way it was roasted all you really taste is the roast, the type of coffee used is very much secondary. This is a good quality tea but I,m not sure I,d buy it again. The flavors this tea has are easily found in a lot of the less expensive brands. The characteristics of the Gokou varietal show up well and the tea is fresh, I,ll give it that much. For my money I,d rather buy a mid or light steamed Yakubita, now there,s a tea to swoon over.
note: one of my favorite cups, I bought this from Artistic Nippon a couple of years ago. Holds an entire pot of tea. Even though there is a crack running all the way down the side of the cup it doesn't leak. Very rustic clay with large particle sand mixed in and then glazed and hand painted in porcelain.