A while ago, I tried this sencha grown in Chiran, Kagoshima from Itoen which came from the kanaya-midori breed. I found it to be a light-flavored asamushi. Today, I have another sencha from Chiran from one of my favorite online sencha suppliers, O-Cha.com. It comes from a yutaka-midori breed plant.
The dry leaf is really broken up. According to the description, this tea is deeper-steamed, thus the more broken leaf. The first steep is a clear yellow-green, with an aroma that is slightly foody, yet succulent. The taste is very satisfying, but very different from most of O-Cha's high-quality senchas. The foody aroma transfers into the taste, which gives the tea a lot of body and warmth. However, it also reminds me of lower quality sencha, and even bancha. This characteristic gives the tea a much less refined feel. A medium viscosity and thick mouthfeel tell me the tea is situated right around the chumushi (medium-steamed) range.
The second steep finally delivers that thick, deep-green liquor. Now, the taste hasn't changed much, still being foody and succulent, but it has blended and come out fuller. This tea actualy reminds me a lot of Itoen's makinohara fukamushi, but I think the chiran rests a few levels above, for just $2 more. Compared to O-cha's more expensive ($23-28) offerings, it doesn't quite match up. But because it's only $18, I believe it holds its place. I really can't tell any similarity between this chiran and the other one from Itoen. Whatever differences in upbringing, and processing are greater than the similarities chiran soil and climate must impart.
I've been drinking lots of gyokuro and asamushi sencha lately. This chumushi is obviously quite different. It delivered 3 flavorful steeps, all thick and succulent. If this is your price range, then it's not a bad choice. If you can, I highly recommend stepping up to O-Cha's classic offerings. $7 more will get you a better Kagoshima Yutaka Midori that few other chumushi sencha can compete with.
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