SHINCHA 2019!

Non-oxidized tea
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Victoria
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Sun Jun 02, 2019 3:17 pm

@LuckyMe your capture of sencha liquor is so light and bright, just the way it might taste. That fine cup reminds me of one Everyone's Tea use to sell. Funny that your Gyokko and my Gyokuryu (Mr. Umehara Jiro) both use sesame filters, are very affordable, and are from Tokoname. They both seem to produce handmade kyusu with a manufactured precision, rather than artist expression. At the moment, sesame is my favorite filter for fukamushi (speed of the pour/extraction of liquor), with ball filters coming in second. I have heard that some sesame filters that are too fine, so easily get clogged, mine is perfectly sized though and fast as a ferrari. Your adding a mesh basket to houhin, was that necessary because the wall filter is too constricted for very fine fukamushi leaves and so gets clogged up? I’d rather just get another kyusu with better filter if that’s the case.. :) ..mainly because leaves get stuck in the mesh, no longer freely floating around.
LuckyMe
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Sun Jun 02, 2019 4:35 pm

@Victoria thanks, good lighting certainly helps the Sencha color pop in photos. And you guessed right...the cone shaped cup is indeed from Everyone's Tea! :D Its my favorite cup to drink green tea out of. I love its eggshell color and texture as well as how paper thin it is. I'm super careful with it since it's no longer available online.

The clay mesh filter is my kyusu seems to be the same size as yours. I would say the holes are fine, there are usually one or two stubborn bits of tea that get stuck in the holes but it doesn't have clogging issues like my shibo. It works well with all types of green tea.

As for the hohin, the infuser basket was necessary because the filter has big holes that allow fine leaf teas to escape. I think it was designed for oolongs. The mesh infuser is also easier to clean than a clay pot.
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Victoria
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Tue Jun 04, 2019 3:27 pm

I enjoyed Everyone’s Teas posts and looking at his teaware, especially those thin cups, but I never hit buy button :shock:. He has a houhin set from the same Tokoname studio that I have, Koudou studio run by Chitoshi Morita. I got my set at auction and had no idea who made it, but then saw his practically identical set so we struck up a dialogue back in 2012.

Finally getting the hang of O-cha’s Yuatake Midori sincha. I found it a little too thin steeped in porcelain Kyo-ware houhin and Gyokuren’s very dense kyusu, so tried shigaraki clay kyusu by Masaki Tachi... and voila results are richer brothier. A sweet smooth elegant brew with umami notes.

Steep
5gr/130ml/162F/35sec. filtered SM tap
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Chip
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Fri Jun 07, 2019 10:48 am

New tea day! Kirari 31 asamushi. A cultivar I have not tried before. VERRRRY aromatic dry leaves are captivating ... can this be this good at only $14.40 per 100 grams???

Answer, yes. Might be the best I have had at this price point. Very flavorful, deep mouth feel, lots of umami, very low astringency and bitterness.

Great every day selection on its own, but I might try blending just for kicks. Seems like a very easy brewer ... I went BOLD out of the gate and was rewarded.

From the O-Cha site:

"Kirari 31, from the first harvest, is a rather rare and especially delicious sencha from Miyazaki prefecture located in Southern Japan. O-Cha.com was the first internet tea shop to offer Sae Midori online years ago to the general public outside of Japan and now we belive we are the first to introduce this newer sencha variety as well.

"Kirari 31" is derived from a cross of Saki Midori and Sae Midori (which was a cross between Yabukita and Asatsuyu varieties). It matures early in the season. The breed was first produced in 1994 with traits such as growth, disease resistance, cold resistance, and tea quality in mind. Kirari 31 is an early maturing species and because it has excellent frost resistance, it can be cultivated in tea production areas throughout Japan including hilly and mountainous areas."
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2nd steep.
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Mrs. Chip
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 12:28 pm

And ... voila, our 3rd bag of O-Cha's 20th Anniversary Tea has been opened. :mrgreen:
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Chip
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Fri Jun 14, 2019 5:50 pm

My overall impression of the rare yet very affordable Kirari 31 from O-Cha. We really flew through the 100 grams.

Dry leaf aroma might be the number 1 memorable feature of this selection. Incredible! I could literally smell the intoxicating aroma a few meters away.

Price point of $14.40 makes the selection a very good value and great for everyday. I would consider using this also for blending.

First steep is really amazing, deep mouthfeel, flavor is right up front ... not coy! Bold! Lots of umami. Yet perhaps not as ... refined as O-Cha's higher priced selections. It is a great "change up" ...

Successive steeps. In order to enjoy successive steeps of this selection, I found it imperative to brew the first steep on the cooler side. The second was typically very good. By the 3rd or 4th, astringency begins to become more assertive. Yet we did typically enjoy 5 steeps.

Still, I feel it is important to keep things in perspective. This is not one of O-Cha's premium priced selections, and it would be unfair to have the same expectations ... plus premium prices are justified by the premium teas. But this one exceeded my expectations. I cannot ask for anything more than that.

But in terms of value in a rather unique selection at 14.40 USD, I will reorder!!!

I think it would be interesting to try a ... higher end version of Kirari 31.
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Chip
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Fri Jun 21, 2019 1:29 pm

Asanoka asamushi from O-Cha. 15.30 USD per 100 grams.

I had Asanoka last harvest from O-Cha, but this year's is a completely different experience. Last year's was a rather ... hmmm ... extreme example ... extremely assertive to the point I found myself using it for blending. But I enjoyed it and reordered it.

Fast forward to Shincha 2019. This one is a much more refined and reserved selection and not so extreme. The price point makes this an even better "value" than the Kirari.

For 2, 10 grams in maybe 210 ml (7ish ounces, might be between 6-7 ounces). That is usually a threshold ratio for most shincha/sencha for me, some more like 9 grams per 210 ml. Higher ratios and I am often ... disappointed. But I suspect I can go higher with this one.

The liquor has been a rather pale and delicate yellow ... it speaks softly ...

... but carries a big stick.

This selection has an incredibly sublime first steep! Pleasing balance of umami, sweet, slightly nutty, a bit veggie and I pick up a hint of fruit. I guess a touch of bitter is hiding in there somewhere. The overall impression is deep yet refined. This lingers deep on the palate ... until washed away by the second steep.

All for $15.50.

Successive steeps for me have been much more enjoyable than Kirari. And actually much better than last year's that seemed to quit after its potent first steep. This one carries on for enjoyable steep after steep.

I will definitely reorder more of this one!
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Dresden
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Mon Jul 01, 2019 12:48 am

Ahhh well. The impulse bug has bitten again. I have been looking at some yunomi from Hibiki-An for a while now that have a lovely matsuba design on them that matches my kyusu. Late night browsing led to late night purchasing. Somehow a few selections of shincha ended up in my cart... How could that have happened?!?

Anyway... One of the things I ended up getting was some of their aracha shincha (marketed as Farmer's Tea). I believe this will be my first time ordering aracha and not a finished sencha. Anyone have any experiences with the aracha from Hibiki-An?
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leafmajor
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Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:57 am

@Dresden I'm halfway through the second bag of the farmer's tea. It's my first aracha and I'm already quite fond of it. For me, the first brew is best--crisp, fresh and very slightly floral--but cold brew is better. The traditional is still my favorite of the hibiki-an shincha but farmer's is a close second. I sort of wish I'd purchased more, but with so many teas on the way from other sources(including another aracha), it's probably best I didn't.
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Chip
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:01 pm

Sadly, O-Cha's 20th Anniversary Sae Midori is now sold out. I was going to order a few more. Glad I ordered 6 previously ... have 2 unopened remaining.
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Victoria
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:08 pm

Chip wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 12:01 pm
Sadly, O-Cha's 20th Anniversary Sae Midori is now sold out. I was going to order a few more. Glad I ordered 6 previously ... have 2 unopened remaining.
Arrrr I was going to order next week. Oh well, I’ll just order Sae Midori sincha it was great too...
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