March 2015 - Chirancha from Kyushu
Last week I went with my family on a short trip to visit the region of Kagoshima (鹿児島), at the south western tip of the island of Kyushu (九州). The area is fantastic, with many hot springs, and jaw-dropping landscapes. The food is of course delicious: local specialties include black pork and... raw chicken! And of course there is Sakurajima (桜島): the volcano facing the city, shaking it a little every time it explodes (several times a day, no less).
We brought back Chirancha (知覧茶), a Fukamushi Sencha (deep steamed tea) from Chiran, an old samurai town located south of Kagoshima. The fertile lands of this region are said to produce the best green teas of Japan. When brewed Chirancha has a somewhat cloudy appearance, and a rich, bold taste with sweet grass notes.
How to prepare Chirancha?
The amount of tea leaves should be adapted according to the desired taste: roughly 2 teaspoons (6 to 8 grams) of tea leaves in a 200 to 300ml (7 to 10oz) teapot.
The first infusion should last 2 minutes in water at 70ºC. Second and third infusions should be done at 80ºC for 1 minute.