I also decided to give Thes du Japon Kondowase a go. First, the shimmering silky handpicked needles are stunning and impart a delightful floral aroma. As I am eternally curious, I researched the cultivar used, Kondo-wase. It is really a cross between Inzatsu 131 (an “unknown Japanese cultivar and an Assam cultivar, Manipuli 5” *) and Yabukita (dominant Japanese high yielding Shizuoka cultivar**) so it is really just 1/4 Assam. The cultivar that imparts its wonderful fragrance is Manipuli 5, known for its very strong floral aroma.
This is a first for me, a fruit floral sincha with buttery nutty notes. I really enjoyed its freshness and lightness also. I also tasted background astringency in the 1/2/3 steeps which I enjoyed. But be careful, Do Not Pre-Heat kyusu. I forgot and preheated my 1st brew and it came out too astringent. Luckily I had enough leaf for one more brew. Uhh, and now its finished. I meant to get 2X… what a tease 1X is. My Huang Yongyu owl overseeing the tea session with; 200ml Bizen kyusu with Mogake design & a Bizen cup with Hamada style weeds. In the back a drippy light blue Tanbayaki Tachikui cup by Tsuyoshi Uenaka with black ash and a leaky drippy very porous redware Ikebana slip glazed vase.
1st_ 1.25:1/185/70 (kyusu not pre-heated) Shiny forest green dry leaf has a fresh fruity floral aroma. Liquor has a smooth fruity floral aroma, with buttery croissant notes. Definitely a unique sincha. Pleasant background astringency. Leaf is less broken up than #21 Zencha Kagoshima Super Premium, so the filter doesn’t need to be so fine, it can be ball or direct as well.
2nd_ 190/50, buttery smooth, background astringency, nice lingering palate. Strong floral fragrance lingers in liquor and cup. Astringency there but pleasant flavorful.
3rd_ 200/1.5, let it go to 2.5, Liquor still fragrant, buttery, fruity flavorful with background astringency.
4th_ Poured kettle boiled water directly into kyusu/4.5min, liquor still somewhat fragrant with pleasant background astringency. Still fruity, but lighter.
5th_ 4/205/6, I just poured water that had boiled directly into kyusu because the highest temp I could measure in the preheated Pyrex cup was 195. It drops so quickly at higher temps.
6th_ Stove top 5second roll/4 minute steep. Still flavorful and buttery.
p.s. I am experimenting with google plus and picasa for images. Not sure if the link to image and album works.