Ichiban Sencha is the first production from the all-important Kakegawa area within Shizuoka, Japan's most important tea growing prefecture. This bracing, lemony tea is an assertive example of the popular style of deep steamed (Fukumushi) Sencha.
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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.
A fine mix of leaf filaments that are light green and powdery. This is due to the deep steam (Fukumushi) method of fixing the teas green. The leaves are subjected to an extra thirty seconds of high pressure steam that totally breaks up the tea leaf.
This tea is a light green, and it is a little clouded from from the fine leaf particles that are dissolved in the liquor.
Ichiban has a citrusy top note of lemon juice and is balanced by the dark vegetal aromas of spinach and nori seaweed.
As a very early season tea, it is loaded with amino acids. So this tea has more body than most green teas.
The style of this Sencha is bracing and lemony at the start with the mellowness of cooked spinach at the finish. It is among the most assertive of Senchas that we offer. The guttiness and astringency come from the deep-steamed production method.