I first became aware of Asamushi Sae Midori when O-Cha.com listed it as one of their shincha pre-orders back in the spring. Now that it is late summer, I find it interesting how similar the weather is to late April. As I sit outside typing this review, I notice the temperature is comfortable, the grass is green, and the cool breeze is incredibly refreshing. What a perfect time to brew some AsaSM. 😀

Background

Grown in Kagoshima, Japan, Asamushi Sae Midori is an unusual sencha. The sae midori breed of tea plant is typically deep steamed. This made me rather interested in trying AsaSM.

asamushi sae midori bag sold by o-cha.com

The packaging is identical to the original SM except for it’s golden sticker that reads 浅蒸し (asamushi).  The leaves are long and vividly green. The aroma is a light combination of citrus and grass.

light steamed sae midori sencha leaves

Brewing Asamushi Sae Midori

By far, this has been the hardest review for me to decide on brewing parameters. AsaSM is incredibly flexible and can yield uniquely different outcomes, depending how you brew it.

Leaf: 3.6g (1 tbsp)/125ml
Temp: 75C(167F)
Time: 1:00 min

Ryan of the forum eventually showed me the way by suggesting going ultra-light on leaf. This method gives a very balanced and flavourful cup of tea. 3.6g of leaf per 125ml equals about 0.9g per ounce. A medium temperature of 75C keeps the tea sweet, and an infusion time of 1 minute ensures a balanced flavour.

japanese green tea brewing

Thoughts and Observations

The colour is a pale green hue that deepens with later infusions. There is little cloudiness in the first brew. A sweet, gentle aroma emanates from the tea.

asamushi sencha in blue hagi cup

The taste is a harmonious blend of sweetness, light grassiness, honey notes, and a hint of citrus. There is no astringency at all, just a lingering sweet after taste left on the tongue. AsaSM will leave you feeling refreshed and invigorated.

Later Infusions

Later infusions become a little more vegetal. Brew the second infusion for 30 seconds at the same temperature as the first, and the third infusion for 45 seconds, 5-10 degrees hotter. Fourth and fifth infusions are possible. Brew them for a couple minutes using water above 90C (194F).

Final Thoughts

I’m not sure why more tea producers aren’t making light steamed versions of sae midori. It is an incredibly dynamic sencha that is sure to please asamushi and fukamushi lovers alike. Competitively priced, Asamushi Sae Midori is something I would encourage you to try. 🙂

Griff is the co-founder of The Art of Japanese Green Tea website and video series.

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