“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” C.S Lewis

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

"I yam what I yam and tha's all what I yam." -- Popeye the Sailor

Kihara Naturally Grown Kabusecha by Yunomi

The blurb from the company - Kabusecha, sometimes called Kabuse Sencha, is a tea that is shaded for approximately two weeks. Shading the tea leaves cuts out the sunlight that reaches the plant and forces the plant to retain more L-theanine (creating the savory umami flavor), and reduces catechins (the antioxidant which produces astringency). This results in a balanced tea that is rich and savory.

Kabusecha was most often used as a blender — combined with sencha to increase the quality of a large volume of sencha, or with gyokuro (tea shaded for approximately 3 weeks) to increase the quantity of gyokuro. Recently, it is sold by itself as more farmers attempt to create unique products for the market.

Tea farmer Shinichi Kihara inherited his farm from his father and follows an agricultural philosophy that prohibits the use of fertilizer and pesticides (synthetic, natural, organic or otherwise). This type of agricultural, called Shumei Natural Agriculture, aims to produce food that is as natural as possible.

The bit by me - In the last month I’ve been lucky enough to win two competitions run by Yunomi.us.

Each time I’ve won one main prize, and then they’ve sent me a 5gm sample of something else as well. This was one of those samples.

I wanted to try the warm water steeping method, but I have no means of testing my water temperature yet and I was less keen to wing it when I only have a 5g sample, so I went for standard (both of which are recommended). That’s 30secs in boiling water. The very first thing that strikes me when I’ve steeped it is that it looks like spinach. The second thing is that it smells like spinach.

I mean, really smells like it. I’m not talking ‘spinachy notes’. I’m talking what the water in the pan after your mum has overcooked the sunday dinner smells like.

Now, I think me and this tea have got off to a bad start. By the time I was getting to the end of my first cup I was thinking ‘Mmm, maybe…’. But at first all I could think was ‘This is weird, I’m drinking spinach water’.

I don’t want to dismiss this straight away, because I know even after this short amount of time my tastes are changing and I could end up absolutely loving this. But for a first time Sencha drinker – undecided.

Ten minutes later

Second steep

So, second steep, a mere 10 seconds. See, I knew my tastebuds would start to change their ideas pretty quick – (I wish they’d do that with olives, I really would like to like olives…).

The smell is still not really my, erm, cup of tea, but the taste is really growing on me. All the positive things you would expect from something that still does remind me an awful lot of spinach. A zinc tang, an earthiness. And it’s really green.

Not my favourite yet, but I did rather enjoy that.