Sencha Saito’s Passion


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Green Tea


Saito’s Passion


completely farmer grown and processed tea
Tea Farmer: Mr. Saito
Organic: Shizuoka Organic Tea Farmers Union (SOTFU)
Appearance: the leaf has some variation of of color due to the presence of some light green stem. The leaf is very large, long, and flatter than other of Saito’s teas.
Steaming Method: Asamushi
Flavor: sweet, and round in the mouth, with a buttery, prominent, full, savory, vegetal flavor
Aroma: the aroma is fresh, crisp, and seductive – and the balance of taste, flavor and aroma is in good harmony
Liquor: medium-green color, some yellow/gold highlights around the edges



Honyama Tea Harvesting Area
Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan

2017 1st Spring Pluck Ichibancha
(May, June)



Japan makes many styles of green tea, and each type requires its own steeping parameters. It is easier to mis-step with Japanese green tea than it is with Chinese green tea because Japanese green teas are more sensitive to water temperature and length of time in the water. Sweetness/astringency in Japanese teas can be influenced by steeping technique. It is important to know for each tea you have what water temperature and steeping time is appropriate.

The reason for this is that premium, spring-plucked Japanese green tea contains a large amount of amino acids and a lesser degree of tannin, which is what makes a tea bitter. Steeping Japanese green tea in cooler water encourages the amino acids to release into the steeping liquid, but not the tannins.


We follow our mentor Mr. Saito’s instructions for steeping his tea and he has been spot on.


However, we decided to see if we could come up with two different measurements of tea – one for those who like their Japanese green tea lighter and another for those who prefer a fuller dimension of flavor.

What was interesting is that the tea did not become astringent when we used 4 grams of leaf (twice the usual amount).  In fact, the larger quantity of leaf brought a more complete fullness of flavor to the liquor without any bitterness. We tried this test with all the tea from the Shizuoka Organic Tea Farmers Union, and found that across the board these two measures worked beautifully.


And for us, Bob preferred the tea steeped with 2 grams of leaf while I preferred the same tea made with 4 grams of leaf.


Steeping Instructions:


Use 1.5 teaspoons (2 grams) or 3 teaspoons (4 grams) per 4 oz water

Steep 1-2 infusions at 1 minute each
Water temperature should be 170°F – 185°F
(depending on your preference)




Japanese green teas can generally be re-steeped with delicious results.

We recommend:

4 ounces of water cooled to 160°F
1 minute re-steep
Steep as many times as you can until the flavor is diminished.

This tea is classified as Jien-cha, a term that means that it has been grown, processed and packed by a tea farmer.

This is an uncommon situation in Japan regarding tea. Most Japanese tea is manufactured in a small or large tea factory by a company that does not own its own tea gardens. Instead, the factory purchases aracha (stable, semi-processed leaf) from various tea farmers and blends different lots of aracha together to arrive at the flavor that they want. These teas are sold under the label of the tea company and the origin of the tea is usually unknown to the consumer.

While it is unusual for a tea farmer to process his own tea, this is an accomplishment that Mr. Saito and the other members of the Shizuoka Organic Tea Farmers Union are proud of. Jien-cha gives them total control over the finished tea, and also allows them to put all their years of knowledge about tea cultivation and manufacture into making truly delicious artisan tea.

This ultra-premium tea is produced by our dear friend and incredible tea producer Mr. Saito. His tea gardens are in Honyama, which many believe to be the area that produces the finest senchas in Shizuoka Prefecture. Saito’s tea fields are located in the mountains near the Warashina River. The environment of these tea fields is pristine and filled with natural beauty, healthy plants, birds, insects and all the good components of a thriving tea garden.

This Sencha is crafted from a blend of the leaf of several tea bush cultivars developed by Saito over the course of many years – and much experimenting. He never stops perfecting his tea until he is happy with the results, and we admire that quality in him. We designed the 2017 version of Saito’s Passion to be similar to what we made in both 2015 & 2016, although we think this 2017 version is the our best collaborative effort yet.

Saito’s Passion is a very delicious treat. It is sweet and round in the mouth, with a buttery, prominent, full, savory, vegetal flavor. The aroma is fresh, crisp, and seductive – and the balance of taste, flavor and aroma is in good harmony. What have we left out of this description?

The leaf has some variation of of color due to the presence of some light green stem. The leaf is very large, long, and more flat than most of Saito’s other teas.

In the cup this Sencha has generous mouth feel -what is known as ‘umami‘ from an abundance of rich amino acids. Overall, it is a Japanese Sencha with a prominent, well-structured flavor and enticing aroma.

Fans of Mr. Saito may recall that he suffered the loss of most of his tea in the spring of 2015 when he had a fire in his warehouse. We received a small first order that year and then nothing else until the following year (last year). Sencha Saito ‘Passion’ is our #1 Sencha choice for someone looking to experience a big flavor Sencha. Before we sold out of it and found out that the rest of his tea was lost in the fire, this was our most popular Sencha in 2015. We are pleased to report that his garden has suffered no long term damage from the warehouse and living quarters fire of two years ago, and he is back to full production. Saito’s tea gardens are thriving, and his tea is as tasty as, or in most cases even better than when Mary Lou first met him in the autumn of 2012.

Want to know more?

Shizuoka Organic Tea Farmers Union