The Otsuka family has been making tea in the coastal region of Kakegawa for almost 150 years. This Ichiban is their pride, made from the tea fields that surround their factory. The area is so dominated by tea that one hill has a tea bush topiary trimmed to the shape of the Japanese character for "tea." Ichiban is harvested on the first days of production in late April. It is made at an old, traditional factory and then finished at their plant. Compared with the polished and almost pastoral quality of Matsuda's Sencha, this Ichiban has the punch and intensity of Tokyo's rush hour.
I was a big fan of other Senchas and regularly stock H&S Japanese Sencha. I made the "mistake" of ordering a sample of the Ichiban Sencha and after that, everytime I drank the Japanese Sencha, my mind was wandering to cheat on her with Ichiban. Yes, it costs more than three times more but for me it is worth it and I can't go back.
The mouthfeel is amazing and especially the first brew has a creamy texture to it that fills the palate and has just enough spinach and seaweed flavor to it. This depreciates with each brewing but I usually still get three steapings before it gets tossed. I just ordered two tins, one for the office and one for home. (Posted on 3/31/15)
This is probably the most unusual sencha I've tried so far. It smells like raw cane sugar when dry, and a lot of that smell transfers when it's brewed, and adds to the flavor. It's not as heavy on the vegetal flavors as other senchas, but it is very very smooth and full-bodied. (Posted on 8/4/13)
The dry leaves are a rich dark green and the scent is very rich. My bag had a lot of fines, and not so many full leaves. Brewing gave the traditional yellow-green color and a smooth, yet rich, green tea. The fines made for initial tubidity that settled down. The turbidity reminded me of matcha. I am very much enjoying this tea. (Posted on 3/6/11)