Author’s note: Hi there, I’m Belle! I’m a new blogger for AJ-GT and this is my first post. Please go easy on me!
It’s no secret. Fukamushi sencha is bold, grassy, and proud. Its color is so rich, it’s redefining the color green. I love it for this, but what exactly makes a good fukamushi? What brings balance in a tea that’s all about extremes? We’re about to find out.
It’s All About the Grassiness
The grassy taste is my favorite part. When the grassy flavor is made in a harmonious way, it’s to die for. But when it’s out of sync, it can make a very unpleasant flavor.
The three main elements that create the grassy flavor are:
- Vegetal taste
- Citrus notes
The vegetal taste is where it starts. Some of the best fukamushi (in my opinion anyway) have a vegetal taste that reminds me of the ocean. A subtle seaweed taste is a sure fire indicator that you’re drinking some quality ocha.
Next, there is the bitterness in the tea. When under control, bitterness and astringency actually affects the tea in a positive way. When out of control, the taste is dreadful. (Belle’s tip: If you find your brew quite bitter, remember that fukamushi needs short steeps! Dial back your infusion time.)
Finally, one of the more aloof aspects of grassiness is the citrus note it sometimes gives off. Sometimes in the form of pineapple, sometimes in the form of orange; a mild citrus flavor adds an exciting and interesting element to fukamushi.
Aroma Therapy 101
As a tea lover, I find few scents nicer than the smell of a freshly opened canister of fukamushi. The aroma of a fukamushi is very important.
If the scent is subtle and light, the tea may not be very lively. A fukamushi needs to have a bold aroma. Fukamushi should carry a fresh, grassy scent that leaves you craving another cup.
It’s an open and shut case: fukamushi without the bold aroma just wouldn’t be fukamushi.
This would make an awesome name for a coloring pencil, or a paint color.
The first infusion of a great fukamushi will be green, with a hint of yellow. The second will be of a green so deep that it challenges the realm of matcha. Because fukamushi is so deeply steamed, the leaves crumble into small pieces. This means that there are a lot of fine tea particles that get released when the leaves open up after the first infusion. This is why the second infusion so deep in color.
You know what? Scratch naming a color after fukamushi. An imitation would never do the real fukamushi green justice.
Is There More to What Makes a Great Fukamushi?
With so many subtle hints, complexities, and differences in each cup, of course there are. The taste of tea is very hard to compartmentalize. But understanding these main concepts should help those who are scratching their heads, trying to decode what it is that they love about fukamushi.