Japanese Green Teas - Sencha, Gyokuro...and more,
Posted 16 November 2010 - 12:31 AM
Posted 18 November 2010 - 09:42 PM
Sunpu Boucha - 2010 1st Harvest Hon Yama Kuki-Hojicha
Got a little sample of this free with my latest Norbu order, and because I want to get to sleep early tonight, I figured a low-caffeine tea was just the ticket for my first taste of the new stuff. I very much enjoy a roasted toasted flavor in my teas, but the first genmaicha I tried was overwhelmingly toasty and not at all to my taste. I think this tea must be what genmaicha wishes it could be: warm toasty but also sweet and surprisingly, fruity!
I started with 2.4 grams of tea in my small gaiwans (about 75mL or 2.5 oz water per infusion), with water at 150 degrees. I used shorter infusion times than Greg recommends just because I’m a tea wimp and like most of my teas a little more dilute than average, and for the same reason I started on the lower end of his suggested temp range.
I started 30 seconds, then 15, 30, 45, 45. All infusions were warmly toasty, but not so toasted as to be bitter (in this very different than that genmaicha that I couldn’t really enjoy at all). They were also sweet, and where I was expecting some vegetal flavors from the green leaf, something alchemical happened with the toasted stems transmuting it into fruitiness. Wonderful, odd, but wonderful. Very very nice. The sweet n’ fruity faded with later infusions, but even at my fifth it was delicious (probably lasting so long because of my short infusion times).
This is a very nice tea.
Posted 21 November 2010 - 07:54 PM
from Norbu Tea
This is a sweet, nutty, vegetal sencha without the strong briny umami that I so often find offputting in more heavily steamed senchas and gyokuro.
The leaf is deep rich green, medium long fragments--not quite as long as the Sayamakaori from Yuuki-cha, but longer than my average Asamushi sencha, very sweet smelling, even a bit nutty.
2.5 grams of leaf in a small gaiwan, about 2.5 oz or 75 mL of tap water per infusion
1st infusion, 30 seconds
sweet, vegetal, nutty, very nice
2nd infusion, 10 seconds
vegetal, sweet, nutty--the nutty is a hint of astringency, I think, but not bitterness, and a hint of toasted/roasted flavor
3rd infusion, 45 seconds
again, the toasty, vegetal nuttiness, astringency, but light
a 4th infusion, 1 minute
still nutty, vegetal, now fairly astringent
The finished leaves are bright green, and moderately broken up, although I did fine one or two small whole leaves
I think part of the astringency is the brewing, here, because just for accuracy's sake, not really for comparison, I'm brewing up some of the Yuuki-Cha Sayamakaori sencha at the same time, and finding some of the same elements in it--not the roastedness, but more astringency than I'm used to. I think my leaf-to-water ratio is really not quite the same as in the kyusu. But I've got a pretty good idea that this is going to be a very nice sencha, and am looking forward to first proper session with the Tokoname kyusu.
Both with this and with another new green tea I tried this weekend, it's quite clear that despite attempts to control conditions, changes in brewing conditions for the purpose of doing these comparisons--brewing sencha in my gaiwans instead of my kyusu--sometimes distorts the results, because I'm moving outside my usual comfort zone.
A 2nd set of infusions, in the 5 oz kyusu with 4 grams of leaf, tap water 160 degrees at first, infusions 30", 15", 30"; raised temp to 170 degrees for 45 seconds and 1 minute infusions, worked out better, still some astringency but not as much.
This is a nice, vegetal nutty sencha.
Posted 22 November 2010 - 11:21 AM
Posted 24 November 2010 - 07:35 PM
It was lovely--a little sweeter, mellower, but still rich and vegetal. Very nice.
Posted 22 December 2010 - 11:59 AM
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Now back to the tea -- and thanks!
Posted 16 January 2011 - 10:20 AM
Yamakai Sencha - 2010 1st Harvest Shizuoka Sencha
One sniff and I'm already in love: the scent is sweet and rich. 5 grams of tea to my 150mL kyusu, prewarmed, water to 140 degrees per Greg's brewing recommendation.
Brewing 2 minutes first steep, throwing caution to the wind…and it is sweet and rich.
30 second 2nd steep, delicious and sweet, a bit astringent and nutty too.
For 3 steep, heating the water to 150, just to play a little more, and steeping 1 minute--similar to previous infusion, but a bit lighter in body and richness--really think it's done at 3.
I may play with it a bit more next time, because I am concerned that the very long first steep took a bit more of the punch that should have been left for the later steeps.
Overall, this is a lovely sencha. Without a head-to-head comparison, it's hard to rank it other than saying it's right up there with my top-tier senchas. Lovely for breakfast this morning with toast with honey-butter.
Posted 23 June 2011 - 05:28 PM
Uji Asamushi Sencha "Aoi" by O-Cha.com
Finally finished off the last of a 2010 packet of sencha, and have now started my first 2011 shincha:
Very deep green leaves, most fairly small pieces, sweet rich scent
between 5 and 6 oz water, 160 degrees in my Petr Novak kyusu, about 45 seconds first infusion
sweet, nutty, vegetal, lightly grassy, and delicate green color but can’t judge that well against the blue glaze of the teacup
2nd infusion, 20 seconds, 160 degrees, very similar, some grassiness a little more prominent towards the end of the infusion
3rd infusion, 170 degrees, 30-45 seconds, sweet, vegetal, a little less nutty, sugar snap peas rather than asparagus
4th infusion, 170 degrees, 1 minute, sweet, light, astringency absent
There was a 5th, but I was too distracted to note much—it was 180 degrees, for about a minute, quite light and tasty.
Addendum: 2nd series of infusions, about the same setup, except I started lower, 145 degrees, working up to 180 at the sixth, still all delicious, perhaps even a little moore so than the first time. Nice that it’s so flexible.
One sad note: my packet is 100 grams, so given my 2-4 times weekly sencha habit, it may not all be drunk while still ‘shincha fresh’. And that would be sad. Will have to step up the sencha-brewing.
Posted 19 October 2011 - 09:53 AM
Opening the pouch, first notice a sweet rich scent, with hints of cherries & chocolate.
Preheated the kyusu (iron-rich clay, unglazed interior) for the 4 grams of leaf, typical sencha appearance of the dark thin pieces of leaf.
First infusion 160 degrees, about 30 seconds, pouring into my big chawan, lots of leaf bits come too—probably will strain the next infusion. Thick, silky, rich mouthfeel with sweet, delicate vegetal flavor, oh my. It is a little less leaf than I usually use in this 160mL kyusu, so the richness of the mouthfeel is surprising.
Really enjoying this one a LOT, now about the 5th infusion, and temp upped to 180 degrees for this infusion: it’s still sweet, light, rich. A bit of astringency has crept in, and I probably should have kept this one a bit shorter.
One more infusion, 180 degree water, and about 1 minute infusion, and we’re back to sweet, light, rich, with astringency retreating again into the background. I agree that this one is ‘Supremely’ good.
Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:16 PM
It is so cool that someone figured out how to use the leftovers to make something as bright and lovely as this.
Posted 16 July 2012 - 09:25 AM
"As life's pleasures go, food is second only to sex.Except for salami and eggs...Now that's better than sex, but only if the salami is thickly sliced"--Alan King (1927-2004)
Posted 16 July 2012 - 06:13 PM
I'm still officially agnostic re: matcha. Haven't yet had the 'aha!' moment that came so easily with oolongs and puerhs and white teas, and not so easily for green and black teas. It's too expensive to waste on 'meh' results, so until I can get to a matcha party with an expert and a selection of great matchas, I'll let the rest of you enjoy it and use my chawan for other teas.
Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:12 AM
Posted 25 August 2012 - 11:53 AM
Do you know if you prefer a lighter or darker steamed sencha--asamushi or fukamushi?
Posted 26 August 2012 - 04:02 PM
Posted 26 August 2012 - 04:55 PM
Posted 29 August 2012 - 07:55 PM