What Green Are You Drinking

Non-oxidized tea
faj
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Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:18 am

This morning, I went ahead and tested the same Sae Midori, with the same brewing parameters I previously used, but adding a circular mixing motion throughout the infusion. As was to be expected since this is a deep steamed sencha, the first infusion came out quite cloudy. I could detect neither the color nor the taste of the "yellow" (low temperature) component of my test above. Overall, I would say despite the temperature being the same, the result gives the impression it was infused at a higher temperature, which makes sense : when not mixing, the leaves remain at the bottom, which I have tested to be much cooler than the top. When mixing, the temperature equalizes, and the leaves are, on average, exposed to higher temperature.

All of that is of significant interest to me.

I have commented on a few occasions that I feel too much leaf for sencha sometimes changes the aromatic balance in a way I do not like. I also tend to brew sencha at temperatures a bit lower than most I think, even if I do not preheat my teapot. But it is a balancing act, as infusion at cool temperatures exhibit unwanted characteristics. Basically, infusing sencha too close to how you would a gyokuro has not been a success for me. I have a feeling that mixing might make it possible to have lower temperature and more leaf with less of that "sencha-is-not-gyokuro" reminder.

At the risk of breaking tradition, I will for sure try this again, as I suspect this Sae Midori was not the best candidate.
Last edited by faj on Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Noonie
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Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:38 am

@faj would be interesting if you tried this blindfolded (without spilling haha) to see if your visual perception changes things...
faj
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Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:58 am

Noonie wrote:
Mon Mar 30, 2020 6:38 am
faj would be interesting if you tried this blindfolded (without spilling haha) to see if your visual perception changes things...
For my first test (pouring the first and second halves separately), a blind test is not necessary : the differences are very significant, even sensory bias taken into account. As for comparing first infusions from different days, this is a different story of course.

It would be interesting to do a blind side-by-side test to compare a mixed and unmixed infusion, but that would require two identical teapots, which I do not have. The best I could do for now is have someone else make the tea, not telling me whether they are mixing or not, taste blindfolded and take notes, and see if a clear picture emerges after a few days of doing that. I think I will first see if I can find a tea for which the "mixing technique" seems to anecdotally perform better than my utual method, and then maybe I can do something like that.

So many tests, so little time... ;)
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debunix
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Tue Mar 31, 2020 10:22 am

Just morning daily sencha ('Brightness' summer sencha from Obubu) in Yamada Sou blues....

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Noonie
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Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:42 am

Enjoying Sencha Yame Organic from Camellia SInensis in Montreal. Flavour notes from their website: "Rich and dense, its emerald green infusion is quite intense. Herbaceous and marine aromas (kale, seaweed) are followed by a mineral presence reminiscent of seashells." It is both rich and dense, with a sweet marine aroma. Very nice.
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Victoria
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Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:57 pm

Noonie wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:42 am
Enjoying Sencha Yame Organic from Camellia SInensis in Montreal. Flavour notes from their website: "Rich and dense, its emerald green infusion is quite intense. Herbaceous and marine aromas (kale, seaweed) are followed by a mineral presence reminiscent of seashells." It is both rich and dense, with a sweet marine aroma. Very nice.
Sounds really good, and love the description Noonie. I’ve hear good things about Camellia Sinensis. Sipping on my every other daily Kabusecha from Kagoshima Seicha’s Birouen Tea House. I like it so much I may prefer it over quite a few Gyokuro. It is flavorful and rich, a Sae Midori with sweet dew umami notes
Noonie
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Fri Apr 03, 2020 5:59 pm

Victoria wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 1:57 pm
Noonie wrote:
Fri Apr 03, 2020 11:42 am
Enjoying Sencha Yame Organic from Camellia SInensis in Montreal. Flavour notes from their website: "Rich and dense, its emerald green infusion is quite intense. Herbaceous and marine aromas (kale, seaweed) are followed by a mineral presence reminiscent of seashells." It is both rich and dense, with a sweet marine aroma. Very nice.
Sounds really good, and love the description Noonie. I’ve hear good things about Camellia Sinensis. Sipping on my every other daily Kabusecha from Kagoshima Seicha’s Birouen Tea House. I like it so much I may prefer it over quite a few Gyokuro. It is flavorful and rich, a Sae Midori with sweet dew umami notes
Thanks @Victoria. I had to lift that description from their site as I'm terrible at describing tea, I just know what moves me.

If you're ever in Montreal or Quebec City you have to visit their boutique and tea room. I've been to many tea shops in NYC and to me, Camellia Sinensis has the best combination of a quaint tea room to enjoy their teas for as long as you like, and a great shop with nice teaware selection. And the people are super. I was supposed to have been there for our March break visiting family and was really looking forward to going to the shop in Montreal, but we decided to stay home as the virus was starting to get out of hand at that point (a good call I think).
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Darbotek
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Sat Apr 04, 2020 5:51 pm

My wife went with her best friend and took the kiddos through a drive through safari, one of the few kid friendly and social distancing friendly activities that is open. I am savoring this quiet time and the weather. Despite being springtime in East Texas, when I go on my evening walks I can pretend it's late autumn. Cloudy, misty and the smell of a few fireplaces. So with the wife and kiddo gone, its nothing but the sound of rain, birds and my cat demanding to be let into my office.

From my recent Thes Du Japon haul, my most consumed sencha has been Hon Yama, Koshun cultivar. I am a dill fiend and this tea is just loaded with dill flavor. One of the thing that really dragged me into Sencha was the prevalence of savory flavors and this tea deeeelivers.

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Vanenbw
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Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:56 pm

I recently made my first purchase from Thes Du Japon. I purchased Organic Sencha from Shimizu, Sayama Kaori cultivar, Sencha from Kagoshima Yamakai cultivar, and Organic Sencha from Koyu, Miyazaki Yamanami cultivar cultivar. The first two were more astringent (of bitter, if you will) than any other teas I have tried from Japan. I like them though, quite a lot. When I first tasted it, I was surprised at the bitterness because I had been drinking sweeter, more vegetal green teas, so I became accustomed to the taste. But then I remembered how for so many years I used to steep my tea with water that was too hot, and for several minutes, so naturally it was a little bitter. But this is a different bitterness. Maybe the right word is astringency. I don't know, but I do enjoy it.

I'm still working my way through O-cha's and Birouen Tea House's kabesecha. Both very good, but prefer the latter a little more.
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Victoria
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Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:16 pm

Vanenbw wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:56 pm
I recently made my first purchase from Thes Du Japon. I purchased Organic Sencha from Shimizu, Sayama Kaori cultivar, Sencha from Kagoshima Yamakai cultivar, and Organic Sencha from Koyu, Miyazaki Yamanami cultivar cultivar. The first two were more astringent (of bitter, if you will) than any other teas I have tried from Japan. I like them though, quite a lot. When I first tasted it, I was surprised at the bitterness because I had been drinking sweeter, more vegetal green teas, so I became accustomed to the taste. But then I remembered how for so many years I used to steep my tea with water that was too hot, and for several minutes, so naturally it was a little bitter. But this is a different bitterness. Maybe the right word is astringency. I don't know, but I do enjoy it.

I'm still working my way through O-cha's and Birouen Tea House's kabesecha. Both very good, but prefer the latter a little more.
Did you try tweaking with cooler water, less leaf, and or time with those that had bitter or astringent notes? Typically, these aren’t flavors or sensations that I look for or want in Japanese teas. Although, when we have tea sessions at my house, members laugh because I seem to have a high tolerance for both. So what’s bitter for you, might be perfect for me, hard to know without a mano a mano actual sample.
Vanenbw
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Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:38 am

Victoria wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 4:16 pm
Vanenbw wrote:
Sun Apr 05, 2020 2:56 pm
I recently made my first purchase from Thes Du Japon. I purchased Organic Sencha from Shimizu, Sayama Kaori cultivar, Sencha from Kagoshima Yamakai cultivar, and Organic Sencha from Koyu, Miyazaki Yamanami cultivar cultivar. The first two were more astringent (of bitter, if you will) than any other teas I have tried from Japan. I like them though, quite a lot. When I first tasted it, I was surprised at the bitterness because I had been drinking sweeter, more vegetal green teas, so I became accustomed to the taste. But then I remembered how for so many years I used to steep my tea with water that was too hot, and for several minutes, so naturally it was a little bitter. But this is a different bitterness. Maybe the right word is astringency. I don't know, but I do enjoy it.

I'm still working my way through O-cha's and Birouen Tea House's kabesecha. Both very good, but prefer the latter a little more.
Did you try tweaking with cooler water, less leaf, and or time with those that had bitter or astringent notes? Typically, these aren’t flavors or sensations that I look for or want in Japanese teas. Although, when we have tea sessions at my house, members laugh because I seem to have a high tolerance for both. So what’s bitter for you, might be perfect for me, hard to know without a mano a mano actual sample.
I looked back at my notes. The lowest temperature I used for any of these teas was 70c. I usually steep for 1 minute for the first infusion, then 30 seconds, and then 1 minute for the third. Two out of the three teas had an astringency rating of 2 out of 4 stars on Thes Du Japon's website; however, I found the third one (Sencha from Kagoshima Yamakai cultivar) to still be a little on the bitter side. Not unpleasantly so. It's not a cloying astringency, but I detected it with each one of these. I brewed all of these teas 5 grams to 160ml of water, which is actually less than what Thes Du Japon recommends. I tried their recommended brewing guidelines initially, which is 4-5 grams of tea to 70ml of water. WAY too bitter for me. I can't believe that's the recommended brewing ratio. I found 5 grams to 160ml to be the sweet spot for me. I did try brewing with few grams of tea (I think as low as 3 grams, but I don't recall because I didn't record it, and it was still a little astringent. I figured it's the nature of this tea, which is fine with me.

I can certainly try brewing with even lower water temperature for for under a minute just to experiment and see if that reduces the astringency, but even if it did not I still enjoy all of these teas.
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Victoria
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Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:12 pm

Vanenbw wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 6:38 am
I looked back at my notes. The lowest temperature I used for any of these teas was 70c. I usually steep for 1 minute for the first infusion, then 30 seconds, and then 1 minute for the third. Two out of the three teas had an astringency rating of 2 out of 4 stars on Thes Du Japon's website; however, I found the third one (Sencha from Kagoshima Yamakai cultivar) to still be a little on the bitter side. Not unpleasantly so. It's not a cloying astringency, but I detected it with each one of these. I brewed all of these teas 5 grams to 160ml of water, which is actually less than what Thes Du Japon recommends. I tried their recommended brewing guidelines initially, which is 4-5 grams of tea to 70ml of water. WAY too bitter for me. I can't believe that's the recommended brewing ratio. I found 5 grams to 160ml to be the sweet spot for me. I did try brewing with few grams of tea (I think as low as 3 grams, but I don't recall because I didn't record it, and it was still a little astringent. I figured it's the nature of this tea, which is fine with me.

I can certainly try brewing with even lower water temperature for for under a minute just to experiment and see if that reduces the astringency, but even if it did not I still enjoy all of these teas.
Looks like you are enjoying them and refined the parameters quite a bit, that’s great. The only other thing I forgot to mention was water type used and kettle type as important variables. Yesterday, I used local filtered tap and it turned what is consistently a great Kabusecha into a blah session. It went from being a 9.6 to a 5 just because the water was coming from a different city well and treated with higher pH and lower mineral count. I keep bottled water as a back up now, mostly Chrystal Geyser and Iceland Spring. What kettle and water are you using? Looking at their site Thes du Japon sure sells a lot of teas, a little bit of everything.
Vanenbw
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Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:41 pm

Victoria wrote:
Mon Apr 06, 2020 12:12 pm
Looks like you are enjoying them and refined the parameters quite a bit, that’s great. The only other thing I forgot to mention was water type used and kettle type as important variables. Yesterday, I used local filtered tap and it turned what is consistently a great Kabusecha into a blah session. It went from being a 9.6 to a 5 just because the water was coming from a different city well and treated with higher pH and lower mineral count. I keep bottled water as a back up now, mostly Chrystal Geyser and Iceland Spring. What kettle and water are you using? Looking at their site Thes du Japon sure sells a lot of teas, a little bit of everything.
I've used both my kobiwako houhin and my yohen mogake hiramaru kyusu. I don't know if I can tell a difference between the two. For both teapots I've used Poland Spring water. I have used artesian from Trader Joes, and Fiji. I don't experiment with different ratios that much lately. Since I found my "sweet spot" of 5 grams to 160ml of water and somewhere around 70c - 75c, I have been happy, so I haven't messed around too much with the measurements.
Last edited by Victoria on Mon Apr 06, 2020 5:52 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Mod edit: cleaned up quote
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VoirenTea
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Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:24 am

Trying a gyokuro again which I brought back from Japan a couple of years ago. It has been stored with its packaging open but folded over inside a glass jar, so won't be the absolute freshest, but seems to have plenty of flavour left.

I did the 60C, 2 min initial steep and found it somewhat overwhelming - definitely got buttery and sea-like tastes, but I think it might be too rich for me!

2nd was 60C again for 45s but with the lid on - not so much to say about that one. Mostly just relieved that it was lighter! :lol:

I liked the third steep best - up to 70C for 1 min. It had a good balance of sweet and vegetably at that point and I do prefer my tea to be a bit hotter once it hits the cup. (I've not been pre-warming anything).

I haven't ever had a gyokuro brewed 'properly' by someone else and this is the only one I've tried - I seem to recall I had a similar experience the first time so stuck to my sencha! Didn't have a temperature-controlled kettle at that point so whatever temps I used then were estimated.
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Victoria
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Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:17 pm

VoirenTea wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 8:24 am
Trying a gyokuro again which I brought back from Japan a couple of years ago. It has been stored with its packaging open but folded over inside a glass jar, so won't be the absolute freshest, but seems to have plenty of flavour left.

I did the 60C, 2 min initial steep and found it somewhat overwhelming - definitely got buttery and sea-like tastes, but I think it might be too rich for me!

2nd was 60C again for 45s but with the lid on - not so much to say about that one. Mostly just relieved that it was lighter! :lol:

I liked the third steep best - up to 70C for 1 min. It had a good balance of sweet and vegetably at that point and I do prefer my tea to be a bit hotter once it hits the cup. (I've not been pre-warming anything).

I haven't ever had a gyokuro brewed 'properly' by someone else and this is the only one I've tried - I seem to recall I had a similar experience the first time so stuck to my sencha! Didn't have a temperature-controlled kettle at that point so whatever temps I used then were estimated.
How much leaf to water are you using @VoirenTea? Too much leaf can sometimes lead to overly concentrated liquor that overwhelms the elegance of certain quality Gyokuro. I had this happen to me recently with O-Cha’s Tsuen Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi. I started off using 6.4g/70ml/135f/2min in a preheated shigaraki 80ml kyusu and found the liquor too concentrated, overwhelming what I could detect were layers of more subtle flavors. Just reducing leaf to 6g/80ml/135f/2min resulted in a more elegant nuanced steep. A delicious Gyokuro full of umami, having long after taste and salivation, with very green leaf sweet aroma. Each Gyokuro is unique though, with producers and vendors refining and tweaking their teas differently, like Ippodo’s Gyokuro that do much better with a higher leaf:water ratio, 10g/80ml.
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