My fellow Japanese tea aficionados, The Art of Japanese Green Tea has officially hit the big times. Why? Because recently I was in contact with Chiki Tea, and arranged to do a review on a couple of their sencha selections. For the first time in the history of the site, my love for Japanese tea has earned me a couple bags of it. Today, let’s review Chiki Tea’s Asatsuyu Kabusecha Sencha. 😀
I want to be clear that I have not been paid for this review, nor am I under any obligation to give this tea a good rating.
With that said, let’s dive into it. 🙂
Asatsuyu is a deep steamed kabusecha sencha from the Kagoshima Prefecture of Japan.
The leaves are a crumbly mixture consisting of a medium shade of green. Warm scents of dried seaweed, vegetal tones, and a drop of honey emanate from the leaves. This is one of the more aromatic sencha selections I have drank lately.
Brewing Asatsuyu is easy enough, but it does have a sweet spot. This tea can be very smooth and lively if you strike the right balance between the leaf, time, and temperature.
It is important to note how compact the leaves are. It doesn’t take a much of a scoop to get 4.2 grams.
With the goal of striking the ideal balance, brewing at 74C (165F) for 1 minute and 5 seconds seems to bring out the best in this tea, according to my tastebuds anyway.
Thoughts and Observations
The liquid is a light, emerald green. There is almost no cloudiness in the first infusion. A gentle aroma wafts from the brew.
The two dominant feelings I get from Asatsuyu are warmth, and refreshment. The taste is an intricate harmony of vegetal highlights, an oceanic base, and earthy undertones. It is slightly grassy, and slightly brothy, but these aspects aren’t major contributors to the flavour profile. There is also a combination of umami and sweetness, which appears to be one of the main selling points of this tea.
The aftertaste consists of honey notes, as well as a minimal amount of astringency.
Asatsuyu is good for five infusions.
For the second steeping, brew for 25 seconds only a couple degrees hotter than the first. This is one of the highest quality second infusions I’ve come across. Its cloudiness also helps show off its emerald green hue.
(Please note the colour is slightly skewed by the blue of my cup.)
For the third and fourth infusions, increase the time to 45s and 1:30 respectively, and increase the temperature by 5 degrees each time. For the fifth infusion, use near boiling water and steep for roughly 3:00 minutes.
Final Thoughts on Asatsuyu
This isn’t the first time I’ve been approached by a vendor to do a review on their tea. I have turned down several offers, some of which I would have been paid. I turned them all down because I didn’t feel I could honestly give their tea a good review.
When Chiki Tea contacted me, they asked if they could contribute something of value to the blog. After thoroughly going through their site, I felt that their products looked like something I actually would enjoy. I said I would do a review on their tea, if they sent a full bag of their sencha, and on the condition that the review would be completely honest and transparent. They agreed and shipped me two bags of their sencha. (Expect another Chiki review in a few weeks. 😛 )
I was initially worried about what I was getting myself into; I didn’t want to give a bad review, but honesty is an integral part of the site. Fortunately, every step of the way I became increasingly reassured. Their shipping time was decent, their packaging was top notch, and their tea was of a quality that met my standards.
I will definitely be ordering Asatsuyu from Chiki Tea as a normal customer sometime in the near future. I’ve also been eyeing up their Sae, “the daddy of Kabusecha”. Overall, I am very happy with how things have worked out, and whole heartily recommend this tea. 🙂