Spring Travels 2019: Hugo's Top 3

July 15, 2019
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Every May since 2003 Hugo sets off to visit producers in Taiwan, Japan and Vietnam. He selects many of the wulongs and green teas in our menu. Hugo knows the country roads of Taiwan like the back of his hand and given the choice would eat cooked cabbage for every meal, every day.

This year, visiting Japan between May 3rd and 17th, he was accompanied by his 11-year-old son, Léo, and François.

While traveling with his son this year the tea taster's itinerary was a little more simplistic than usual but just as filled with beautiful moments and discoveries. Hugo and Leo first met François, who had already been in Japan for a week, in the region of Uji and Nara to visit some producers together. They then continued their journey towards Sayama and Shizuoka, before exploring the region of Tokoname, well known for its potters. He also had the chance to meet Yutaro Yamada, a promising young potter from the region: you'll be able to discover some of his teapots as early as next autumn. His personal touch is special!

When talking about his best moments, Hugo says: "I loved sharing this trip with my son Leo. He was able to experience my work at its source. It was an unforgettable experience to show him where the teas are made, to introduce him to  Japanese culture and the reason why I travel to Asia every year. " Adding, that he particularly enjoyed sharing meals with Leo, François, and the Japanese producers.

Finally, he can not ignore their visit to the producer of our Temomicha, a tea made entirely by hand. Hugo, François, and Leo have even transformed a small batch - a significantly physical task! It is impressive to experience the level of work involved in the transformation process of this exceptional type of tea.

Discover his three spring favourites  2019:

Sencha Kojima Kotarou

Hugo tells us: "This is definitely my favorite, probably even my favorite of the last 4 years. A very balanced tea, something we rarely see."

Proudly bearing its producer’s name, this early plucking from Shizuoka was made in the asamushi style (short steaming) with great skill. The tea shows uncommon aromatic complexity, a true testimony of Mr.  Kojima’s ability to manipulate cultivars and transformation techniques.

Tastewise, this sencha presents impeccable balance. Briny sea grass aromas (samphire), with bitter vegetable and fatty nuts undertones, it perfectly blends roundness and clarity. Very seductive, it made its way in our tasters’ top lists easily.

Sencha Ashikubo

Less grilled this year, Hugo loves Sencha Ashikubo, which comes from the garden of Mr. Yuki, now certified organic.

This tea comes from the magnificent Ashikubo valley and has undergone a long drying process. What results is a clear, mild liquor that is slightly fruitier and toastier than other generally more herbaceous senchas. Secondary aromas of corn, mango, hazelnuts and parsley make it an ideal tea for anyone starting to discover Japanese teas.

Sencha Asanoka

A very interesting lot, produced from the cultivar Asanoka (Hugo's favourite) and Yabukita. Coming soon!

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