Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Tea Review: Temomi Shincha 2019 (Sugimoto Tea)

Temomi Shincha (2019)
Sugimoto Tea
Type: Green
Origin: Japan, Shizuoka
Product Description:
Many decades ago, Japanese green tea was still largely handmade by skilled artisans. However as technology progressed and became better able to create delicious tea through automated means, this tradition has gradually died off in Japan. 
Today, Temomi Shincha is a true rarity, offered to the emperor each year as a tribute. The average age of the Japanese farmer is well into their late 70's and more and more tea farms are closing every year. The few Temomi artisans that remain today don't have as much energy as they did yesterday, and it takes a lot of hard effort to make Temomicha.
Temomi Shincha is made from handpicked Shincha leaves and is hand-rolled, creating long fine tea needles that almost look like thick pine needles. Over the course of 12 hours the leaves are steamed in bamboo baskets and slowly hand-rolled on hot tables to form into needles before being spread out to dry. 
When brewed, the needles transform into their original bright green leaves. The light green broth has a strong savory aroma, thick mouthfeel, and rich umami flavor. 
In Japanese Tea Ceremony there is a special idiom, 一期一会 (ichigo ichie) which can be translated to, "One Life, One Meeting". This means that we should treasure every encounter we have, for the exact same meeting and circumstances will never happen again.

Drinking our fresh Temomi Shincha is a rare and special experience that we hope you get to enjoy before the opportunity becomes unavailable.
Temperature: 100° F-130° F
Amount: 10 grams
Steeping Time: 1-2 minutes

The dry leaves have a savory, nutty and green aroma.

The pale green infusion has a rich, savory, nutty, and green aroma.  The taste of the first infusion is bold, though not sharp, savory and refreshingly green with no astringency and a long, sweet, green finish.

For the first infusion I followed the brewing guidance from Sugimoto Tea, preparing in a small teapot (~6 oz), using the whole bag of tea (10g), and steeping for 2 minutes in 100° F water (~2.5 oz/just enough to cover the leaves).  The results of that first infusion had possibly the greenest taste I've experienced next to eating spent tea leaves.  The broth was so full of flavor, I would almost describe it as chewy and the lack of bitterness or astringency was a very pleasant surprise. 

Sugimoto recommends brewing subsequent infusions for 1 minute in 130° F water and I found that the astringency missing from the first infusion was very much present in the second.  While this will appeal to others, I preferred the slightly milder results of a 30-45 second infusion. 

This tea produced several full-flavored infusions and, when it was time to move on to other things, I put the spent leaves in a water-filled pitcher and let that infuse in the refrigerator for 3 hours.  The resulting cold brew was sweet, green, and refreshing with only the barest hint of astringency.

This tea was purchased by me.

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