What Green Are You Drinking

Non-oxidized tea
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Victoria
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Tue Feb 25, 2020 1:20 pm

@mjac any success locating tea shops in your area, or have your just ordered online from vendors that were recommended? Hope you found @faj replies to your questions helpful as well.
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Victoria
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Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:52 pm

Enjoying a kabusecha that was identified as an easy brewer, but instead I’ve found it to be very difficult to brew. Other ones that are supposed to be hard to brew on the other hand I’ve found easy. Interesting... I’ve steeped O-Cha’s Kabusecha six times now, each time getting varying degrees of bitterness in background, almost wrote it off several times but figured I’d try it again using slightly different volume of leaf/water and another kyusu. Using the same leaf:water proportion, but just increasing gram:volume and switching to an Emu shudei kyusu seems to have made all the difference (or is it that the bag has been open a couple of weeks now). Bitterness is gone with nutty, sweet vegetal notes coming through now. Having gone through the usually leaf gram/water ml/temp/time/water type tweaks to refine results I decided to focus on clay type and volume. After a first sub-par bitter watery session with a Yamada Sou 140ml shudei kyusu, I switched to a Kyo-ware porcelain 150ml houhin with better results but still some bitterness, to then a dense walled Konishi 180ml kyusu with slightly better results but still got watery bitterness, so then tried a shigaraki clay 140ml kyusu by Tachi Masaki with thicker liquor and nutty notes coming through but still some bitterness, then back to Kyo-ware porcelain 150ml houhin still with bitterness... until today’s favorable session using;

6.7g/220ml/168f/90sec. in 230ml Emu shudei, with Crystal Gyser, Olancha, Ca water.
O-Cha recommended brewing: .6g/30ml/170f/90sec. (4.4g/220ml/170F/90sec)

I’ll see if tomorrow I can replicate this session. It is possible that my first session with Yamada Sou shudei kyusu was hampered because that kyusu hasn’t gotten much use yet. The Yamada kiln shudei clay range does feel different though between generations, with Emu’s pear skin steeping differently than the others. I’d need to do a side by side I guess to really compare.
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Victoria
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Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:01 pm

Success, day 2 with O-Cha’s Kabusecha steeped in Emu 230ml shudei kyusu using Chrystal Gyser, Olancha. I’m wondering if this is partly due to pack being open for a few weeks (usually 24-48hr is plenty for Japanese greens) but don’t really feel like going through any more bitter watery sessions to find out. The liquor is now well balanced with nutty and sweet light green vegetal notes. Sometimes, with persistence, a few failures can lead to success. Now, if only I could get those seared scallop notes @nasalfrog mentioned 🍃.
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nasalfrog
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Mon Mar 02, 2020 11:44 am

Victoria wrote:
Sun Mar 01, 2020 1:01 pm
...Now, if only I could get those seared scallop notes nasalfrog mentioned 🍃.
The other day I realized that mine was part of my shincha order from last spring, so it had been in refrigeration most of the year. That may have something to do with it, since I don’t recall that flavor being in the other non-shincha bags of that tea that I’ve tried in years past (it was not in my notes, either). And maybe this tea likes to sit a while. The dry leaf aroma from the bag was much stronger than years past, I guess because it was shincha, and I also went through the bag over a couple of months rather than the usual month.

Hopefully my freezer bags aren’t letting in anything from my fridge... I’m not hoping to add lasagna notes in my sencha.
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RinsedSloth
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Mon Mar 02, 2020 1:59 pm

Today I have started this long day with a light session of Sanxia Long Jing.

It is one of the richest greens I have tried without being grassy or savory. It brings a sweet melon note to the comfortable experience of a good quality green brewed in a tall glass grandpa style.

Even if this method suits it really well I do not want to drink this one mindlessly, focus is important.
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Victoria
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:36 pm

Had back-to-back sessions with two elegant greens that represent their growing regions well. One normal steamed (futsumushi) Oku-Midori cultivar from Thes du Japon, the other lightly steamed (asamushi) blend of Sae Midori, Gokō, and Yabukita cultivars from O-Cha. Each represents their regional character well with Thes du Japon’s Miyakonojo, Miyazaki, Oku-Midori from the southern island of Kyushu (Miyazaki Prefecture) being rich and complex, and O-Cha’s Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro from Uji, just south of a Kyoto, with an elegant and light profile. I think both are high quality and deliver. I’ll get them both again.

Thes du Japon‘s Miyakonojo, Miyazaki, Oku-Midori has a rich biscotti bakery aroma coming off the preheated kyusu. The liquor is nutty buttery smooth and fruity with a full mouth feel. It induces a lingering palate with strong salivation, or as Thes du Japon calls it ‘long in the mouth’. It envelopes the senses in an elegant way. Settled steeping at; 10g/140ml/146f preheated/60sec, 60, 2min. in reduction fired Gyokuryu (Mr. Umehara Jiro) kyusu, Crystal Gyser Olancha.

O-Cha’s Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro is umami rich yet delicate and light, a characteristic of gyokuro from Uji, home of 10th c temples and shrines. The umami rich liquor is clear yet brothy, savory, and warming with subtle peas and sweat fruit notes. Lingering salivation is also strong. Steeped perfectly in very slightly porous Jozan III 80ml mayake kyusu at; 5.5g/75ml/131F pre-heated/80sec, 80, 2min. Iceland Spring water.
faj
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:16 pm

Victoria wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:36 pm
Had back-to-back sessions with two elegant greens that represent their growing regions well. I think both are high quality and deliver.
Posting favorable impressions of one good tea is cause for envy. Two at a time might cause frustration to some readers. You at least had the decency of refraining from posting pictures, which would have been outright sadistic ;). It is bad enough that I have a few unopened bags of sencha and gyokuro I Iook forward to tasting once I finish those I am "working" on right now, you are not making things any better... :D

I think I notice your second infusions are not the very short steeps sometimes used. Is that your usual approach? Do you prefer "sacrificing" a bit more on later infusions for the sake of improving the second one? Do you keep the temperature the same for all infusions?
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Victoria
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:59 pm

faj wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:16 pm
Victoria wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 1:36 pm
Had back-to-back sessions with two elegant greens that represent their growing regions well. I think both are high quality and deliver.
Posting favorable impressions of one good tea is cause for envy. Two at a time might cause frustration to some readers. You at least had the decency of refraining from posting pictures, which would have been outright sadistic ;). It is bad enough that I have a few unopened bags of sencha and gyokuro I Iook forward to tasting once I finish those I am "working" on right now, you are not making things any better... :D

I think I notice your second infusions are not the very short steeps sometimes used. Is that your usual approach? Do you prefer "sacrificing" a bit more on later infusions for the sake of improving the second one? Do you keep the temperature the same for all infusions?
Haha, the picture hasn’t been100% rosy these past few weeks. First getting through too many watery bitter steeps of O-Cha’s Kabusecha until I finally got it right, then had several soggy blah attempts with his refrigerated Yutaka-Midori from 2014. The ‘aged’ leaves are very fine and clogged every wall filtered kyusu that I used. It took the big sesame filter from Gyokuryu (Mr. Umehara Jiro) kyusu to steep correctly and not make a soggy mess. This sencha has been in my refrigerator for six years now and I can say it has suffered from that, still okay but is past its prime. Funny enough I did a side-by-side comparison of the same sencha already Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results. I’m once again attempting to finish refrigerated Japanese greens that are more than a couple of years in the cooler. Clearing the decks for Sincha 2020!

Regarding second infusions: I use the same temp/time as first, doubling time on the third steep, then usually do all day or night for fourth steep. O-Cha on the packet of Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro recommends steeping time as 120, 30, 90sec but I instead opted for 80, 80, 120sec. using same temp in all steeps. Just worked out well that way for me. If possible I prefer rich steeps, so you are right I’m probably sacrificing later steeps in favor of the first ones.
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rdl
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 5:43 pm

Victoria,
Each time you write of s "soggy" tea session I can't help but laugh. Certainly not at you, just at the David and Goliath image that I conjure up in my mind.
I asked a friend about the Miyakonojo tea bushes and received a report of 17C degree weather and two videos of nice green bushes as far as the eye can see. I haven't had any since many years ago on a visit, but your description may change that.
faj
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:29 pm

Victoria wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:59 pm
Clearing the decks for Sincha 2020!
This year is my first spring since joining the forum. I purchased sincha once last year from my previous main source, not really knowing what it was. I certainly look forward to trying more this spring and receiving advice on what to expect, what to try, and what to avoid.
Victoria wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 4:59 pm
If possible I prefer rich steeps, so you are right I’m probably sacrificing later steeps in favor of the first ones.
While I do infuse tea as long as I feel there is something interesting left, I must admit I hope heaven is a place where you get to drink only first infusions :D. I often prefer shorter first steeps than recommended for sencha, but that is because I like the aromatic balance more, not because I am trying to get more/better steeps later on. However, I often perform a short second steep, and am often surprised at how satisfying that infusion turns out to be.
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Wed Mar 04, 2020 7:12 pm

Last night I had this very interesting Sencha. A Organic Nara Tsukigase Sencha, Yabukita varietal. According to the description the only fertiliser used is forest litter.

Wow! This tea is really good, so good I had not thought Sencha could taste like. There is some very powerful and fragrant aftertaste and throat feel going on, which I can not really compare with anything, only that in intensity it is as good as a good Gaoshan.

I brewed this tea twice already, once in Hokujo, the other time in an old Tokoname Shudei. Results are similar. Each time a delight. Personally I like to brew Japanese teas in a mix of Chinese and Japanese methods, Cover 2/3 with leaves and just about soak them with water, a little more. The resulting brew is intense and delicious.

This tea can take it! When I did this with other Sencha in the past, the result was nausea and stomach ache. This one gets a lovely balance of pleasant subtle bitterness, combined with a sweet, fruity aftertaste.

This tea is a cooperation of The Tea crane with a German teashop called Anmo. I am friends with that shop and got to taste their whole range, maybe I’ll write a sum-up on that at some point. If I understood correctly this tea is not part of Tea crane’s offering, but an exclusive for Anmo. In any case I only ever had such a good Sencha (limited experience thought) as good before and it was also a tea from this friend, a so called Temple Tea from organic 100+y old trees, harvested by their business partner’s family.

Seems to me only organic single origin Sencha can take the heat and deliver in Chinese brewing :)

Excellent tea aside, the personality behind Tea Crane I do find rather cringeworthy… maybe even more obnoxious than the Mad Tea Hutters… but who cares if the tea is good?
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debunix
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Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:22 am

faj wrote:
Wed Mar 04, 2020 6:29 pm
I hope heaven is a place where you get to drink only first infusions
Often the 3rd is my favorite with sencha and gyokuro; and while the first is often the best with light-roast oolongs, darker oolongs, puerh, and balhyochas can shine best in 1st, 3rd, or 5th.

Tomorrow I'll be opening a new packet of Obubu 'Autumn' sencha, and I'll try to keep track of which infusion is loveliest. I've been forgetting to pull out the next packet after running out of the last sencha, and after a week of starting with a little of everything, I know I will be just so happy to be back to starting with sencha!
faj
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Thu Mar 05, 2020 6:53 am

debunix wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 1:22 am
Often the 3rd is my favorite with sencha and gyokuro; and while the first is often the best with light-roast oolongs, darker oolongs, puerh, and balhyochas can shine best in 1st, 3rd, or 5th.
I went for maximum effect with my statement, oversimplifying things a bit. There have been teas the first infusion of which has not been my favorite. But not green teas. There have been Japanese teas for which, at first, I did not like the first infusion and the second one was not as bad, but I do not remember a case where, after improving the parameters, I honestly thought subsequent infusions were better than the first.

Of course, this comes from limited experience discovering tea by myself out here in the woods, not decades of experimenting and developing my ability to taste the subtleties. So that is not meant as a broad statement about what is best, only my own preference at this point in time.
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bentz98125
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Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:57 pm

Victoria wrote:
Sat Feb 29, 2020 4:52 pm
Enjoying a kabusecha that was identified as an easy brewer, but instead I’ve found it to be very difficult to brew. Other ones that are supposed to be hard to brew on the other hand I’ve found easy. Interesting... I’ve steeped O-Cha’s Kabusecha six times now, each time getting varying degrees of bitterness in background, almost wrote it off several times but figured I’d try it again using slightly different volume of leaf/water and another kyusu. Using the same leaf:water proportion, but just increasing gram:volume and switching to an Emu shudei kyusu seems to have made all the difference (or is it that the bag has been open a couple of weeks now). Bitterness is gone with nutty, sweet vegetal notes coming through now. Having gone through the usually leaf gram/water ml/temp/time/water type tweaks to refine results I decided to focus on clay type and volume. After a first sub-par bitter watery session with a Yamada Sou 140ml shudei kyusu, I switched to a Kyo-ware porcelain 150ml houhin with better results but still some bitterness, to then a dense walled Konishi 180ml kyusu with slightly better results but still got watery bitterness, so then tried a shigaraki clay 140ml kyusu by Tachi Masaki with thicker liquor and nutty notes coming through but still some bitterness, then back to Kyo-ware porcelain 150ml houhin still with bitterness... until today’s favorable session using;

6.7g/220ml/168f/90sec. in 230ml Emu shudei, with Crystal Gyser, Olancha, Ca water.
O-Cha recommended brewing: .6g/30ml/170f/90sec. (4.4g/220ml/170F/90sec)

I’ll see if tomorrow I can replicate this session. It is possible that my first session with Yamada Sou shudei kyusu was hampered because that kyusu hasn’t gotten much use yet. The Yamada kiln shudei clay range does feel different though between generations, with Emu’s pear skin steeping differently than the others. I’d need to do a side by side I guess to really compare.

I admire your persistence and am grateful for the detail in your description. But most of all I am relieved to not be the only one struggling to unlock all that is in O-cha's Kabusecha. My most fruitful explorations were in the direction of lower temperature, less water, and shorter steeps. Unfortunately the only objective measurement I use is water temperature and steeping time. (Lazy or selfish, it just seems like a defeat when I can't eyeball water/leaf ratio.) Just wish I hadn't waited until the packet was almost gone before changing it up. Always next time. And it paid off on the next Kabuse-cha (Wazuka Uji-midori from Thes du Japon) that I opened and am still enjoying. But given your shudei/shigaraki experiences visa vie kabusecha and gyokuro, is their one shudei you can recommend as a person's first? (All my unglazed vessels are Banko).
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Victoria
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Sat Mar 07, 2020 2:38 pm

bentz98125 wrote:
Thu Mar 05, 2020 10:57 pm
I admire your persistence and am grateful for the detail in your description. But most of all I am relieved to not be the only one struggling to unlock all that is in O-cha's Kabusecha. My most fruitful explorations were in the direction of lower temperature, less water, and shorter steeps. Unfortunately the only objective measurement I use is water temperature and steeping time. (Lazy or selfish, it just seems like a defeat when I can't eyeball water/leaf ratio.) Just wish I hadn't waited until the packet was almost gone before changing it up. Always next time. And it paid off on the next Kabuse-cha (Wazuka Uji-midori from Thes du Japon) that I opened and am still enjoying. But given your shudei/shigaraki experiences visa vie kabusecha and gyokuro, is their one shudei you can recommend as a person's first? (All my unglazed vessels are Banko).
Thank you, it’s nice to know every once in a while that those details are useful. With Japanese greens in particular I find measuring and calibrating leaf/water/temp/time a very good way to arrive at best steeping parameters for each particular one. Unlike oolong, leaf/water/temperature/time varies a lot between each Japanese green, leading to a perfect steep or a very disappointing one. Also, my range is typically broad, trying many different types during most years so I don’t make many assumptions. It’s been ten plus years now that I dove into the world of Japanese teas, and I’m still finding all the variables and nuances fascinating and delectable.

@bentz98125 regarding your first shudei, you might like Yamada Sou or Fugetsu’s shudei. Fugetsu will be slightly less porous than Sou’s. I like both and recommend you buy based on size, shape, and aesthetic preference. Fugetsu is surprisingly affordable still given his skill and experience. He studied under Yamada Jozan III. Here are a few member Japanese Teaware Vendor Recommendations.

Edit: Fugetsu studied under Yamada Jozan III (not Hokujo).
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