There is something special about Watsuka. To call it elite would be an understatement. With a price tag approaching a dollar a gram, this should be expected. However, it is an indulgence I think everyone should try.

Joining me today is an orange crocus I planted in hopes of some winter blooms. I started this little guy back in November. It has bloomed just in time to be a part of the Watsuka experience. 🙂

watsuka packaging and an orange crocus

Background

Watsuka is a high quality sencha offered by O-Cha.com. This asamushi gets its name from the area in which it’s grown. Due to its price, Watsuka is sold in 30 gram quantities.

beautiful asamushi sencha leavesThe leaves are long and very consistent in shape. They’re incredibly uniformed. An intensely rich aroma emanates from them. The scent is a symphony of sweet, savoury, oceanic, and grassy notes.

Brewing Parameters

The vendor suggests using a shibodashi or houhin teapot. I have brewed this tea in 4 different vessels now, including a houhin. In my opinion, if you don’t have a houhin or shibodashi, you won’t be missing out on much.

Leaf: 4.6g (1 1/3 tbsp)/125ml
Temp: 74C(165F)
Time: 1:15 sec

Asamushi Watsuka is surprisingly versatile. Many combinations of leaf, temp, and time will yield a successful brew with different nuances.

I find 4.6g/125ml, 74C (165F), and a infusion time of 1:15 to be ideal. Other combinations can give equally solid results, so be sure to experiment.

cup of watsukaThoughts and Observations

As I raise my cup to my mouth, I become engrossed in the moment. The wonderfully complex aroma is soothing to my soul. I roll the tea around my tongue savouring every sip. There is a slight haze to liquid. The colour is yellow-green, though it shows more green due to the blue glaze of this cup.

The taste is difficult to describe. It’s refreshing and plant like, but the flavour is so balanced that it’s almost like tasting nothing at all. It’s not just a taste, it’s an experience. It is so intricate that it is simple. It is such a standard that it’s exotic. Watsuka is the epitome of high quality asamushi.

After each sip, a sweetness is left on the palate. There is some astringency to it, but this seems to aid the body of the tea.

Later Infusions

Usually I ballpark the second infusion, but this time I will suggest brewing at 80C (176F) for 25 seconds. For the third infusion, use water that’s 5 degrees hotter for 45 seconds. For the fourth, use water that is hotter still for 1:15. A fifth infusion is possible; brew it for 4 minutes with the hottest water available.

Final Thoughts on Asamushi Watsuka

asamushi watsuka

Watsuka is like going on a holiday. While it’s expensive, it’s something that just needs to be experienced in life.

Japanese green tea means something different to everyone. To some it is spiritual, and to others it is just a drink. To those who view tea as only a drink, I challenge you to give Watsuka a try. I wouldn’t be surprised if you find a deeper meaning to tea in the bottom of your cup.

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

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