Do you prefer light, medium, or deep steamed sencha?

Non-oxidized tea
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Shine Magical
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Tue May 14, 2019 11:01 am

And what do you like about them?
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Tue May 14, 2019 2:39 pm

Yes! :mrgreen:

If I have a bag of asa open, I will be craving fuka and vice versa. So right now since we have been drinking 3 different bags of fuka shicha, I am definitely craving asa ... and with that ... Aoi just arrived!

But I guess if I am being honest with myself, fuka has the highest "crave factor" for me. It is murky, full throttle and sweeter.

Asa can be more ... enigmatic at times. Might take a full bag to figure it out.
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Tue May 14, 2019 2:56 pm

Yes, ‘full throttle’ is a great description for my favorite deep steamed Kagoshima fukamushi. I find this southern sencha thick and brothy, generally richer, sweeter, and less bitter.

But, it is also a little difficult to categorize flavor profiles based only on levels of steaming. Today, I am sipping on 2019 deep steamed Sae Midori sincha and it is mellow and elegant rather than bold. Low/medium/high steaming levels depend on cultivar, seasonal conditions and regional preferences. Then other processing methods like rolling, shaping, drying, roasting, storage, and aging time -all these will change flavor profiles. Pan frying rather than steaming is another variable to try. Also, sencha cultivars are often blended in Japan, further refining outcomes and complicating categorization.

Steaming Levels including some cultivars, regions, vendors, and profiles:
(not comprehensive, just based on what I’ve tried)

Light steamed = Asamushi cha steamed less than 25 seconds. Kyoto and Honyama, Shizuoka Prefecture. Yabukita, Okumidori cultivars. Tsuen (vía O-cha), Uji vendors; Uji- Maiko and Hibiki-An. Leaves are long and narrow, less broken up, resulting in clearer liquor. Clean taste, aromatic, some astringency, milder taste, grassier (depends on aging) and more aromatic.

Regular/Normal steamed = Futsumushi steamed 20-30seconds, Asamushi. Kansai area.

Medium steamed = Chumushi cha steamed 30-60 seconds. Yame, Fukuoka. Asatsuyu, Kuritawase/Yabukita cultivars. Zencha (Sencha the Ultimate), Yukki-cha sencha. Needles are thin slightly broken resulting in greener liquor with umami taste, and medium aroma.

Deep steamed = Fukamushi cha steamed 1+ minute. Kagoshima. Sae Midori, Yutaka Midori cultivars. Leaves more broken up resulting in darker greener cloudier brothy liquor. Flavors are bold, rich, sweet, with reduced grassy taste, less astringent, good umami, less aroma.
There is also Jomushi 2 minutes deep steaming, and Kyokumushi 2-3 minutes extra deep steaming.

Then there is Gyokuro to consider:
Gyokuro = light, light medium steaming. Rich umami, sweet, and aromatic.
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Tue May 14, 2019 4:55 pm

Because no two moments are ever identical, and there are always exceptions, I am comfortable catagorizing sencha into the three, light, medium and deep, steamings as mentioned.
Deep is beyond my threshold of enjoyment. Medium is a nice but infrequent change to appreciate the sweetness of sencha. Light steamed is what perfectly matches all my conceptions for sencha. The grassy, vegetal and lightness, the astringency and lack of any one dominant taste. The idea of a tea producer working so hard to make it seem as if nothing was done, I am intrigued by this in all facets of life. But especially with what we consume. Light steamed reflects the enjoyment of being outdoors and in nature, within the four walls of home.
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Tue May 14, 2019 8:15 pm

For me it is most definitely deep steamed.

That fuka just calls out to me with it's sweet, velvety, murky swamp water goodness. :mrgreen:
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Tue May 14, 2019 11:47 pm

Another vote for deep steamed. Light steamed sencha is pleasant, but fukamushicha just has a certain rich factor I crave.
Last edited by brutusK on Wed May 15, 2019 10:20 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Wed May 15, 2019 2:20 am

I'm not very experienced yet by any means, but so far I like deep steamed the best. But we'll see how I feel after I've tried all the shincha that I ordered this year.
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Wed May 15, 2019 3:14 am

Light steamed for me.
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Wed May 15, 2019 9:09 pm

Light steamed. Deep steamed tastes a little too much like the ocean. Not sure I could recognize a 'mid-steamed'.
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Wed May 15, 2019 11:02 pm

Medium steamed sencha for me....I like the balanced flavor.
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Fri May 17, 2019 8:02 pm

It takes a while for my tongue to wake up. I can only taste deep and medium steamed sencha in the morning. I've had maybe 2 asamushi senchas that worked well for me in the morning, so I save those for the afternoon. If I had to choose the most enjoyable sessions, I would have to go with light steamed. For me they are much more complex, varied, and meditative than most medium & deep steamed senchas I've tried. Although if I was only given access to one sencha, I would choose my favorite fukamushi over my favorite asamushi so that I could enjoy sencha in the morning and afternoon :)
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