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Sencha Keikoku Green Tea

Translation: Infused tea and valley
Production area: Shizuoka Prefecture
Cultivar: Yabukita
Harvest season: Early May

Sencha, a tea that appeared in the early 17th century, is the most widespread type of green tea in Japan and represents more than 80 percent of the country's total production. Growing extends across many regions, from Kagoshima Prefecture in the south to Ibaraki Prefecture in the north, with the highest concentration in Shizuoka. There are many varieties of Sencha, from the very ordinary to the very refined, and the highest quality teas are usually harvested between late April and mid-May. The liquid from this tea, whose long, flat leaves resernble pine needles, is vegetal and iodized. The Sencha Keikoku variety is a Sencha of the Asamushi type, which means that it has undergone a short period of dehydration of only about 30 seconds. It comes from an area around the little town of Tenryu, which is dotted with many charming small tea gardens.

Tasting notes: The needlelike leaves are very beautiful. Infusion releases a gentle smell of freshly cut grass, watercress and water chestnut. The cloudy, pistachio-green liquid smells of cooked celery and seaweed. The mouth feel is of rich, full tannins that coat the tongue with a lively attack that quickly softens. This well-structured tea fills the mouth with vegetal aromas of arugula, leading into a long but light note of pine. The enduring finish of green mango and lime zest is delicate and refreshing.

Recommended infusion accessory: A small kyusu or small teapot.