Hey there Teacups! I’m back today with another Stateside Steeps post and this time around I’m going to be reviewing Adagio Masters – 2019 Shincha Sencha. As you all know I’ve recently tried Adagio Masters Shincha Genmaicha and Shincha Gyokuro and I loved them both so going into this tasting session I definitely had some high expectations. When it comes to green tea, Gyokuro is by far my favourite but Sencha comes a close second so I really wanted this so blow my socks off. I have a few Senchas that I love so I was also really interested to see if this would make it’s way into my top 5 and knock any of my current favourites Senchas off their spot.
Here’s what Adagio Masters have to say about this tea over on their website: ”The very first plucking of the first harvest of the year is known as Shincha and is highly prized in Japan. While Sencha has a tendency to be quite brothy with strong umami notes the earliest harvests can be much lighter with hints of sweet grass. Our 2019 Shincha Sencha is a light, layered cup. The nutty notes of umami hit your mid-palate, while delicate apricot lingers on in the finish. Elegant and lovely.”
”In the Japanese tea tradition, the texture of the tea itself is extremely important. At the end of the tea making process, the tea master will carefully blend in tiny, broken up ‘tea dust’ to give the finished cup more body and richness. You can actually see these particles when you scoop out your tea. You also see them in your cup – Sencha should have a lovely, slightly cloudy appearance. This contributes to the ‘umami’ of the tea (the 5th taste – the others being sweet, salty, sour and bitter). Taste and enjoy the added richness umami gives your cup of tea.”
Tea Tasting Notes
For this tasting session I simply tried this one way, on it’s own. I wasn’t able to do a gaiwan tasting session with this and I did steep this western style but I did do a few infusions throughout the day (3 in total | Though Adagio say this can do up to 7) and I’m really glad that I took the time to do so. The reason I didn’t try this any other way than on it’s own is because I took my first sip of the first cup and loved it instantly. I tend to love teas like this on their own anyway and adding anything to them would just feel wrong to me, so I didn’t do it for this tasting session as it’s not normally something I would do in day to day life. The dry leaf was a few different shades of green; flat, long and glossy with a mix of both umami savoury vegetal notes and a fruity sweetness.
My first and second steeps were both green / yellow in colour though I think I did use a little too many leaves in my small cup so my cups have steeped up quite a bit darker than I have been some other steep this up. Looking back I would have used much less in the way of leaves and I would have steeped my first and second steeps for around 30 seconds less. The two cups I had in my first tasting session were strong on the umami, savoury, vegetal notes and the peach / apricot sweetness I had been able to pick out in the aroma was present but much more subtle than I would have liked it to be. These cups were still delicious but I knew I had messed up with this tea initially and that it had so much more of a varied flavour profile to it.
My third steep I actually took some of the leaves I used out of my steeper I steeped them for nowhere near as long as the first steeps I did which resulted in a much lighter but cup that was a hell of a lot easier on the palette than the first two cup. That’s not to say I didn’t enjoy the first two cups, because I did, but this lighter cup was just a much more pleasurable experience. That is not the fault of Adagio though that is completely my fault and I definitely should have paid more attention to what I was doing during my first steeps with this tea. I should know so much better and looking back I actually feel a little embarrassed about how many things I did wrong in preparing this tea for the first time.
Since doing this tasting session I have also since done another with this in which I was much more thoughtful and put my full focus on everything I was doing in the moment. I only did two steeps but though two cups were my favourite cups I have had of this blend to date. They were perfect balanced, bringing both umami vegetal notes (mostly grassy) and a sweet fruit notes that I can only describe as both apricot and peach, in fact it was almost a perfect mix of both. I didn’t get the nutty note than Adagio themselves spoke about but that didn’t stop me from loving this. Once I took better care in the way I prepared this is was light, smooth and an absolute dream to drink.
Let this post be a perfect example of how to learn from your mistakes. Let it also show you that when it comes to preparing teas I am nowhere near perfect and even after all these years I still make mistakes. Never take yourself too seriously.
Overall Teacup Rating: 5/5
If you want to find out more about Adagio Masters Teas and purchase some of this Shincha Sencha or the 2020 harvest you can do both here. As always if you have questions at all either stick them in the comments or send them to me on Twitter/Instagram @teaisawishblog and I’ll answer them all as soon as I can.
Speak to you all again soon. Happy Steeping – Kimberley
*The tea featured in this post was gifted to me for the purpose of this review. All opinions are my own and have not been paid for*