What Green Are You Drinking

Non-oxidized tea
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bentz98125
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Tue Apr 14, 2020 3:33 pm

Victoria wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:42 pm
faj wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 6:29 pm
Victoria wrote:
Sun Apr 12, 2020 5:17 pm
I started off using 6.4g/80ml/135f/2min in a preheated shigaraki 90ml kyusu and found the liquor too concentrated. Just reducing leaf to 6g/80ml/135f/2min resulted in a more elegant nuanced steep.
Is that a typo, or you got a notable difference going from 6.4g to 6g for the same volume of water and infusion parameters?
Not typo :) the difference between the two was noticeable 🍃.
Wow, that level of precision confirms my novice status. And my variablilty of results. Easy to avoid scorching or drowning, I've found gyokuro easier to not ruin but harder to optimize than sencha. Though not as much as the earthiness or minerality of other teas, I can see how gyokuro's vegetal/umami flavor neighborhood could surprise or off-put someone not preacclimated. I think prodigious sencha consumption may help with that. I can also see how lower water temperatures might also be a hurtle. I can remember when "hot" and "tea" as in "...a hot cup of..." used to be fused to each other in my mind. But hot, warm, tepid, cool, and cold are all tea to me now. As far as precision and consistency, I may suffer from anxiety about missing the path not taken. Nuerotic anxiety that objective measurements might somehow preclude discovery of hidden treasure. I always know precisely how hot or cool my water is, but guesstimating the amount of leaf to use and pouring the water up to what seems like just the right amount, emanates a sense of exploration and discovery. I am hypnotized by scooping the leaf, gravity feeding the vessel, and the water hitting it and then seeping into and throughout. Visual effect of mathmatical imprecision. A heavy cross, but I'll persevere.
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S_B
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Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:43 pm

Was fortunate enough to start my Japanese Green Tea journey with quite a bang! @Victoria was kind enough to send me a care package of two senchas, and two gyokuro. I'm a bit afraid to try and share too much about each tea, as I'm afraid that others would probably have a better understanding of the great heart of each of these teas. The care package included the following teas:

#1. Kagoshima Seicha Co, Birouen Tea House
#2 Maeda-en 2013 Shincha Select Gold (Hachijyu-Hachiya)
#3 O-Cha 2017 Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro
#4 Tsien Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi

Victoria's brewing parameters kindly included all made for very successful cups of tea! The intense umami of the gyokuros really has me hooked. Many thanks to Victoria for sharing these wonderful teas!

Currently brewing the Tsien Uji Gyokuro. The body of this tea is incredible. It is thick and brothy. This tea is very high energy. As steeps progressed, brothy umami explosions traded for intense fragrance and aftertaste. Fresh grassy and slightly vegetal fragrances took the stage. Each of these teas has incredible qualities to offer, and Victoria was very generous to provide enough for multiple sessions. Much gratitude, to an amazing member of our community! Happy steeping, everyone!
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faj
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Wed Apr 15, 2020 5:23 pm

S_B wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:43 pm
I'm afraid that others would probably have a better understanding of the great heart of each of these teas.
I understand what you mean. There is always someone more knowledgeable and experienced somewhere that might frown upon your perceptions, but I hope that along with knowledge and experience people also gather kindness toward others that are at a different point in their journey. After all, tea appreciation is highly subjective, and you will find gurus that disagree. There is something to be gained in having feedback and suggestions from others.
S_B wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:43 pm
Victoria's brewing parameters kindly included all made for very successful cups of tea! The intense umami of the gyokuros really has me hooked.
I only got to really experience gyokuro after joining this forum and seeing the kind of leaf/water ratio that get you that strong burst of umami. It is not to everyone's liking, but I am hooked too.
S_B wrote:
Wed Apr 15, 2020 4:43 pm
Currently brewing the Tsien Uji Gyokuro. As steeps progressed, brothy umami explosions traded for intense fragrance and aftertaste. Fresh grassy and slightly vegetal fragrances took the stage.
I had this tea today as well, and it is good tea, for sure. Sometimes, I get a distinct and pleasant flavor I can only describe as similar to raw cabbage or coleslaw with this tea.
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S_B
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Thu Apr 16, 2020 8:46 am

I understand what you mean. There is always someone more knowledgeable and experienced somewhere that might frown upon your perceptions, but I hope that along with knowledge and experience people also gather kindness toward others that are at a different point in their journey. After all, tea appreciation is highly subjective, and you will find gurus that disagree. There is something to be gained in having feedback and suggestions from others.
Thanks! I'll see if I can't give it a try in the future. I've never been huge on flavor profiles as it is, but as I get more comfortable brewing these teas, I'll definitely share what I find. Cheers!
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S_B
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Thu Apr 16, 2020 2:37 pm

本山煎茶 大川大間やぶきた<br />Hon.Yama Okawa-oma Yabukita Cultivar from Thés du Japon
本山煎茶 大川大間やぶきた
Hon.Yama Okawa-oma Yabukita Cultivar from Thés du Japon
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Perameters: 4.5g to a 105ml Kobiwako Hohin.

The first steep produced an amazingly brothy sweet brew that coated my entire mouth and cheeks with a rich oily coating of tea. I steeped at 70C by accident, forgetting that the recommended temperature on the site was 80C for this tea. I believe that I prefer it at this lower temperature. This was an extremely enjoyable cup of tea.

The second brew had an even more nutty buttery aftertaste than the first, but quite a jump in astringency. I brewed this one at 80C for closer to 30 seconds. While the first steep was brothy, this steep became very fragrance focused. A very long-lasting aftertaste brought along with it some moderately aggressive astringency on the back of the tongue and in the cheeks.

I dropped the temperature back down and extended the time for the third steep. Soothing alertness settled over me during this steep. Walnut and chestnut-like fragrance is lighter but balanced well with a slightly airier broth. This brew has become quite sweet, with a much more manageable astringency settling around the mouth. I get a bit of very light honeydew in the aftertaste.

My final steep went several minutes. Nutty flavors gave way to sweet grassy fragrances with a much airier broth. Gotta say that first steep has me dazzled. I'll have to chase the dragon and see what other ways I can bend this tea to pull more of those sensations out! :D
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VoirenTea
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Fri Apr 17, 2020 3:33 am

A little more gyokuro testing today: I went up to 5g/100ml, stayed at 70C and 1.5min. That's heading towards too strong again but was drinkable at the hotter temp.
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Victoria
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Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:22 pm

I am really jazzed that @S_B is getting into Japanese greens. It’s hit or miss when sharing teas with someone whether they’ll like them or not, so to hear that you liked them so much is heartwarming.

I’m curious how you would compare Thés du Japon’s Hon.Yama Okawa-oma to O-Cha’s #3 Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro. They are both grown in Shizuoka and use the same Yabukita cultivar, although processed differently, with TDJ being a high steamed sencha and O-Cha’s a lightly steamed Gyokuro blended with Sae Midori and Gokō. I notice that #4 Tsien Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi is also a blend of Yabukita and Gokou, with Gokou being more prominent. I’m thinking about cultivars since you chose to order a few teas from Thés du Japon, a vendor who specializes in identifying and selecting unique cultivars.

Also, did you notice the boldness of the Kagoshima #1 Kabusecha, it is a deep steamed Sae Midori cultivar.

As I am sipping on O-Cha’s Tsien Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi I wonder what Gokou cultivar is like on its own. I find this blended (Yabukita and Gokou) Gyokuro super-rich and vegetal, so much so that steeping it in a slightly larger kyusu resulted in too much intensity. Using an 80ml shigaraki Jozan III kyusu is a perfect pairing with this one. 6g/70ml/135f/2min preheated Jozan, Chrystal Geyser Olancha, Ca water.

Tsuen Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi Jozan III _DSC0950_r.jpg
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S_B
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Fri Apr 17, 2020 6:33 pm

Victoria wrote:
Fri Apr 17, 2020 5:22 pm
I’m curious how you would compare Thés du Japon’s Hon.Yama Okawa-oma to O-Cha’s #3 Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro. They are both grown in Shizuoka and use the same Yabukita cultivar, although processed differently, with TDJ being a high steamed sencha and O-Cha’s a lightly steamed Gyokuro blended with Sae Midori and Gokō. I notice that #4 Tsien Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi is also a blend of Yabukita and Gokou, with Gokou being more prominent. I’m thinking about cultivars since you chose to order a few teas from Thés du Japon, a vendor who specializes in identifying and selecting unique cultivars.
THe Okawa-oma from TDJ is futsumushi. I suppose that they are somewhat similar in certain aspects of their vibrancy, but I think that the processing differences make them distinct enough that it is difficult for me to compare. The Gyokuro had a much more profound umami sensation in each steep, and less astringency than the Okawa-oma. Some slight buttery taste may be similar between the two. I'd have to drink more to give a more thorough answer...oh the pain! :D
Last edited by Victoria on Sat May 09, 2020 8:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.
Reason: Mod edit: cleaned up quote
twno1
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Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:43 am

Can someone give me tips for brewing gyokuro? My kyusu holds about 170ml of water without leaves/full. I infused 5g of leaves with 60C water 3 times for 2m30s each time and the results looked like this:
Image

Leftmost is the first infusion, middle is second infusion, right is third infusion. The first infusion was really yellow and sort of salty while the 2nd/3rd infusions were much greener and not salty. Is this normal? Am I using the proper leaf:water ratio, temp, and time?

Additionally, is it possible to determine leaf quality based on pictures alone? I paid about ¥1600 for 100g of this gyokuro, and it's being sold for ~$35/100g online.
Here are the dry leaves, leaves brewing, leaves after the 1st infusion, 2nd infusion, and 3rd infusion.
faj
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Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:13 am

twno1 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:43 am
Can someone give me tips for brewing gyokuro? My kyusu holds about 170ml of water without leaves/full. I infused 5g of leaves with 60C water 3 times for 2m30s each time
Not speaking as an expert here, just giving a bit of feedback based on what I have read and experimented with.

I assume you infused 5g in a full kyusu here. Many members would probably infuse gyokuro at higher concentration (say around 1g per 10ml, give or take). It yields strong umami, and some may find that too much and prefer less leaf.

A temperature of 50C to 60C for the first infusion would be quite typical I would say. Cold brew is possible, and a few people may prefer higher than 60C too. Many would increase the temperature in subsequent infusions.

2m30s may be a bit longer than others use for the first infusion. Recommendations are often around 2m, personally I often go for 90s. For subsequent infusions, some people will do a very short second infusion (single-digit to 30s), and go back to something in the same range as the first after that.

In the end, you are the judge of how you like it, but it can be useful to know what others are doing as it may widen the options you explore.
twno1 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:43 am
The first infusion was really yellow and sort of salty while the 2nd/3rd infusions were much greener and not salty. Is this normal?
The first infusion is always much stronger in umami than the following ones, but at higher leaf/water ratio subsequent infusions still have some of that. You could say they become greener : with less of that umami burst, you notice the aromatics more, the mouthfeel is thinner.
twno1 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:43 am
Additionally, is it possible to determine leaf quality based on pictures alone?
I can't ;) . Maybe more experienced members could chime on that. I have seen gyokuros of various quality with bigger or smaller leaves, very even or not so much. In all cases you should expect gyokuro to be dark green because the shading it undergoes causes the plant to produce more green pigments.
twno1 wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 3:43 am
I paid about ¥1600 for 100g of this gyokuro, and it's being sold for ~$35/100g online.
Unless I am mistaken, ¥1600 is about 15$, and I would consider that very inexpensive for gyokuro.
twno1
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Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:48 am

faj wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:13 am
I assume you infused 5g in a full kyusu here. Many members would probably infuse gyokuro at higher concentration (say around 1g per 10ml, give or take).
Yup. The tea manufacturer's website (where I got it from) suggests 10g for 60-100cc of water, which seemed like a lot so I was hesitant (I'm still a noob haha). Interestingly enough, a vendor selling this tea (that's how I first found it) recommends 5g per "cup", but with no mention of how much a "cup" is. Another vendor's (unrelated to this specific tea) website recommended 1g/30ml for gyokuro so I started there, assuming my kyusu would hold ~150ml water with leaves in it.
faj wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:13 am
2m30s may be a bit longer than others use for the first infusion. Recommendations are often around 2m, personally I often go for 90s. For subsequent infusions, some people will do a very short second infusion (single-digit to 30s), and go back to something in the same range as the first after that.
I will definitely try playing around with the infusion times.
faj wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:13 am
The first infusion is always much stronger in umami than the following ones, but at higher leaf/water ratio subsequent infusions still have some of that. You could say they become greener : with less of that umami burst, you notice the aromatics more, the mouthfeel is thinner.
By greener I meant the brewed tea was visually greener :lol:
faj wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 6:13 am
Unless I am mistaken, ¥1600 is about 15$, and I would consider that very inexpensive for gyokuro.
Well I originally found this tea from a vendor here selling it for $35/100g. I am currently in Japan so I googled the information from the vendor and found the actual Japanese company selling it for ¥1600/100g, so I decided to buy it from them directly.
faj
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Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:58 am

Along with the Yume no Ukihashi gyokuro I have commented on recently, I have been working down a bag of asamushi sencha from O-Cha lately, and though it is good, I have not been able to nail down parameters that would take it to the level of repeat purchase. This morning, I was intent on trying another set of parameters. Water closer to vendor recommendations (75C rather than the 65C-70C I had been playing with), short 30s infusion, 4g/100ml, non-preheated teapot.

Tasting the first infusion, I quickly said to myself : that short infusion performed wonders for this sencha. Great balance, rich umami without the slightly bitter "sirupy heavyness" that sencha sometimes yields, nice aromatics. I was surprised to perceive a hint of the "cabbage" flavor I perceived in O-Cha's Yume gyokuro. Success!

Second infusion, 30s, same temperature. Surprisingly similar, maybe even more aromatic still. That tea was transfigured by my genius brewing skills! I thought : best two sencha infusions I have had in a long time. I could not remember any sencha having a second infusion with this kind of aromatic depth. Then I started laughing at myself as the obvious explanation hit me.

Sure enough, this is another entry in my tea blunder series. I picked the wrong bag, a habit of mine by now, and infused the Yume gyokuro. This was a good mistake though : I am on my 5th infusion now, 90s at 85C, and as usual this gyokuro takes the heat and delivers on the aromatics with no bitterness for many infusions in a way no sencha has ever done for me. This session beats those I have had with O-Cha's sencha hands down, and was by no means less pleasant than infusing that gykuro with more typical parameters.
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Bok
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Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:23 am

faj wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 7:58 am
and as usual this gyokuro takes the heat and delivers on the aromatics with no bitterness for many infusions in a way no sencha has ever done for me. This session beats those I have had with O-Cha's sencha hands down, and was by no means less pleasant than infusing that gykuro with more typical parameters.
I also find that really good Gyokuru can handle a lot of heat and remain delicious! Glad I am not alone with this.
faj
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Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:52 am

Bok wrote:
Sat Apr 18, 2020 8:23 am
I also find that really good Gyokuru can handle a lot of heat and remain delicious! Glad I am not alone with this.
Maybe the fact that gyokuro usually is infused at cooler temperature can be understood as meaning sencha withstands high temperature better. But Gyokuro is less bitter than sencha, and high temperature brings out bitterness, so gyokuro being OK with higher temperature is not that surprising to me.

One can argue that infusing gyokuro at higher temperature is a waste, but in this case the shorter, higher temperature infusion really holds its own against my usual parameters. It is different, for sure, but just as good to me. I have not tried that with other gyokuros so I cannot tell from experience if this is an exception or not, but I will, for sure, try that again with this, and other, gyokuros.
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Bok
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Sat Apr 18, 2020 9:59 am

@faj I found it works better with non-blended Gyokuru. Blended ones got a bit harsh for the stomach in my limited experience.

Sencha from original Japanese cultivars pre-Assam cross breeding, I can brew with water off the boil as I do for Taiwanese oolong. And high leaf water ratio.
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