for me, 2022 among many other things is about trying to allow myself to have as many new tea experiences as possible, of which I have luckily already had a few in just the first two months. Today I wanted to add to that list of new tea experiences in 2022 with another tea first for me, a Japanese White Tea. Shockingly in all my years of drinking tea, I’ve never tried a white tea from Japan but today that’s about to change. I am writing this post while I’m doing my first ever session with a Hand Picked Fukumidori – Sayamacha White Tea that I was given the chance to try thanks to the ever amazing team at Yunomi Tea.
Normally before doing a post like this I would do a few sessions and combine my notes from all of them into one but I wanted to take you all along for the ride this time and document my very first experience with this tea in real-time. Before I get into that tasting session though let me tell you more about this tea.
”Having studied tea-making in Taiwan during the past decade, tea merchant Shimizu Keiichiro has created his own Japanese white tea, named “Haru”, handpicked from the Yagi Tea Garden. This award-winning leaf creates a delicate, exquisite liquor” – Yunomi Tea‘. Shimizu-san and his staff handpick only the bud and top two leaves from the Fukumidori cultivar field (cultivated without the use of pesticides) at the Yagi Tea Garden in Takahagi, Hidetaka City, Saitama Prefecture (part of the Sayama region). The leaves are withered for 30 hours reducing moisture by 70% to create the floral aroma of Haru. By this time, the buds turn silver in colour. It is then baked in a bamboo basket Taiwanese style.
Harvest Date: May 12, 2019 – Region: Takahagi, Hidetaka City, Saitama, Japan
The wet leaves are relatively large and are a fresh shade of green, reminiscent of Lilypads. Because of their serrated edges, they did remind me a lot of the greener Taiwanese oolongs I’ve had and this is where the influences from the Taiwanese processing became most apparent to me. They also give off a sweet scent of ripening pears with spices, along with an aroma of sweet and juicy fresh pears, a hint of spices and wildflower honey.
The first notes that appeared in this teas flavour profile for me were fruity sweetness and a hint of wildflower honey. It’s subtly vegetal, reminiscent of springtime grass, juicy like pears and apples straight out of the fridge which still has that crisp cold bite to them. It’s the perfect tea for spring, with a subtle floral note that reminded me of water lilies. Surprisingly for a white tea, it’s forgiving to longer steeping times and the longer you steep it the stronger that floral note becomes and similarly the sweetness is also amplified. If you let it cool there’s a hit of spiciness that appears right at the back of the mouth which along with the sweetness is amplified when you take deep breaths in. As the steeps went on that sweetness dissipated and it gave notes of freshly cut springtime grass.
The liquor from the start of the session through to the end was a pale yellow with a green tint and not overly thick. It has a soft finish that was surprisingly long-lasting but subtle and made up mostly of light juicy apple sweetness with a hit of honey. The overall mouthfeel was soft, light and smooth which made this such a pleasure to sip on. In terms of dryness or astringency, there was non present at all, even after the tea had cooled. This has a complexity to it but because it is on the lighter side of the scale I would recommend enjoying this on its own rather than sipping on it with an accompanying treat as I this a lot of things would easily overpower this tea and the subtler notes of its overall flavour profile.
After I finished off my session with these leaves I also cold steeped them in the fridge as I just wanted to see if the overall flavour profile would differ at all with cold brewing. It resulted in a pleasantly fruity cup with subtle fresh green vegetal notes. The sweeter elements weren’t as present but that subtle spice I spoke about earlier in the post was. While it wasn’t as full flavoured as the version I steeped hot, I still enjoyed it and more than anything it made me want to buy more of this tea so I can cold brew it without doing a session prior and see how much that effects of how favour this ends up being after cold brewing.
I don’t know how I thought I was going to feel after my session with tea I was left feeling sleepy and I won’t lie to you I took a half-hour nap because I just couldn’t keep myself awake, but I’ve been struggling to sleep recently so that was honestly welcomed. With most white teas from China (aside from aged whites), I get intense heartburn so I very rarely reach for them because nobody wants to put themselves in pain purposefully.
But luckily with this white tea that wasn’t the case at all and it was a much more pleasant experience for me. I’m so sad that it took me so long to get around to trying a Japanese white tea because this kind of experience has been there all alone and I’ve been missing out on it. That’s not from a lack of trying through it’s mostly just because Japanese white tea can be very hard to find.
If you have personally tried any Japanese white teas please leave your suggestions in the comments as I’ll be looking to try more of them in the future.
If you want to find out more about this tea you can do that here on the Yunomi Website. Remember to use the code START20 to get 20% off your order. Be sure to follow me on Instagram & Tik Tok @kimberleyskyusu as those are the platforms that I use the most to share tea content outside of my blog.
Until next time. Happy Steeping – Kimberley
* The tea was purchased using a gift card provided to me by Yunomi Tea to be used to purchased tea in order to create content featuring it. However I was not specifically asked to write a full blog post about it. All opinions are my own and have not been paid for *