Friday, June 19, 2009

REVIEW: Maeda-en, Sen-cha Fukamushi Green Tea Select

Maeda-en is a green tea company I was unfamiliar with, until the folks at TeaViews gave me a sample of their Sen-Cha Fukamushi Green Tea Select. I've had a number of senchas before, though not of this type. A Fukamuchi sencha is described thus on the Web site:

Fukamushi Sen-cha (deep-steam green tea) is steamed for longer periods of time than regular Sen-cha, which gives its milder aroma and robust taste. Leaves tend to crumble because of this extra processing, and gives the tea its signature opaque quality.

Our Blender's Fukamushi Select is medium bodied with pronounced flavors of green tea, and is minimally bitter.

For a delicious cup, we recommend: 1 tbsp of leaves, brewed in 9-12 ounces of hot water (160 to 190), for 1 minute.

I was surprised at the very short steep time (1 minute), but perhaps because the tea leaves were small with a lot of powder in it, it would be bitter if steeped longer.

As the Web site described, this tea is a translucent jade green, which is a quality much loved by the Japanese. The tea is a mildly sweet, with an almost nutty, buttery flavor within the typically "grassy" green-tea flavor. There is very little bitterness, and it's very easy to drink. There is a very faint-but-sweet aftertaste, but it does linger quite nicely.

This tea is relaxing and relaxed; it's not mind-blowing or amazing in any way, but it's very comforting and would be a great everyday tea. My little seven-year-old boy enjoyed his very much with buttered wheat toast and declared he wants to be a tea maker. Or a computer game maker. Or maybe both. What I take from this is that it's pleasant for even a little American boy to drink without milk or sugar to alter the taste, and of sufficient quality to set him thinking of a future in tea.