YAME SENCHA | CHARCOAL FINISH FIRED
The 2022 version of this beautiful sencha is finally here.
When we first heard about this tea, we couldn't help but jumping with excitement; we've been fans of Konomi San's work since 2019, but this gem had somehow escaped our attention until last year.
After the leaves are steamed (asamushi style), Konomi San finishes this tea by hand on a table that is covered with Japanese traditional paper and fired with high density charcoal.
Geoff's words when he first tried this tea: "At first taste, (it's) extremely smooth. (I'm) unsure if this is a factor of the cultivar or the processing, but it is intensely smooth liquor nonetheless. Medium body, notes of pumpkin seeds and fiddleheads. Pleasant but not overpowering umami presents itself at the end, along with a gentle but still detectable ‘bite’.
Coaxing Lingering Sweetness and Aroma.
Finish firing (火入れ) is a most important process when crafting Japanese-style, steamed green tea. Not only is it important to reducing moisture content (thus preserving freshness for longer), but as our friend Jared from Jagasilk says, finish-firing 'develops the sugars and curb the tannins.' By the end of the Tokugawa Shogunate, it was already a well-established custom.
Most artisans in modern Japan use a drum roaster; electricity or gas fuel the 'fire'. Konomi San keeps an older tradition alive: 焙炉製法 (charcoal firing); it is a hands-on process that starts early in the morning, lighting a few chunks of charcoal and carefully supervising them until the artisan judges that they are ready. The inside of a 'firing table' (see below) is designed to contain these glowing embers.
Once the fire is ready, the shokunin (master artisan) covers the charcoal with a lid made of wood and finished with handcrafted paper. Then, with dance-like maneuvers, he carefully rolls the tea leaves, filling the room with a glorious aroma and developing the tea into a masterpiece.
TYPE GREEN TEA (Steamed)
ORIGIN Yame, Japan GPS 33.2ºN 130.6ºE CULTIVARS Okumidori, Saemidori, Tsuyu Hikari, Yabukita, Samidori PRODUCER Konomi Family
About the Producer
Konomi San's family started their tea business in the Edo period; they were the first family to become tea merchants in the Island of Kyushu. In that period, most of the local teas were kama-iri cha.
In the late Meiji period, Konomi's family were some of the pioneers that imported some production techniques from Uji; as a result of these pioneers, Yame is now famous for its stunning gyokuro and matcha.
SUN 12:00PM - 7:00PMMON - THURS 12:00PM - 6:00PMFRI - SAT 12:00PM - 8:00PM
Location2208 West 4th Avenue, Vancouver, BC1.604.558.0500
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