Shimada Yabukita Sencha (島田やぶきた煎茶) is a classic sencha green tea made from the popular Yabukita (やぶきた) cultivar. This tea is grown at low altitude in Shimada (島田) in Shizuoka Prefecture, a region famous for tea production. This Sencha undergoes a slightly higher degree of roasting to produce a more balanced and approachable flavour to suit a wider palate of tea tastes. However it still delivers the famous Japanese green tea character, with a herbaceous and vegetal profile. This current lot was harvested in May 2020.
This Shimada Yabukita Sencha is made from the leaves of Yabukita cultivar plants. This cultivar is the most popular and widespread tea plant in Japan and Yabukita plants cover about 75% of Japanese tea fields. It was developed by a tea breeder from Shizuoka in the early 1900’s called Hikosaburo Sugiyama, but it was officially registered only in 1956. The well-performing Yabukita plants quickly proved popular due to their hardiness, ease of cultivation and tea flavours; with time becoming the mainstay of Japanese green tea production. One of the main factors for the popularity of the Yabukita cultivar has been the flavours that they are known for. These plants produce teas with typical savoury and umami grassy flavours and strong aromas that are particularly sought after in Japanese green teas.
Shimada Yabukita Sencha is processed like any other Japanese green tea: by steaming the leaves. The process is referred to as kill-green or fixation. After rolling and shaping, the tea undergoes a finishing, or drying process. This can be done in various ways but often involves baking or roasting the tea. With most sencha teas this process is done very quickly in order to preserve the green grassy nature of the tea. However this tea undergoes additional roasting during the finishing process to impart a lightly toasted character and to further balance the flavours. The roasting level is stronger than on most sencha green teas, however it is nowhere as strong as the popular roasted Hojicha green tea.
This Shimada Yabukita Sencha has a dark mixed leaf – a classic sencha in appearance. The lengthier roasting is apparent in the diminished grassy features of the aroma and flavour. It produces an opaque green-yellow liquor with a vegetal aroma. The light taste delivers a vegetal profile that is nicely balanced and not particularly grassy. The herbaceous umami notes provide some pleasant complexity and the hints of roasted flavour translate to notes of roasted nori seaweed. The aftertaste has a pleasant vegetal dryness and just a touch of stringency.
We suggest brewing at 80°C for around 2 minutes. It can be brewed multiple times depending on your taste preferences.