2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Chip » Jul 1st, '11, 09:51

Organic Kagoshima ASAMUSHI. O-Cha's newest offering. Probably my first ever organic asa from Kagoshima?

The dry leaf aroma is very fresh and on the sweet side, leaves are dark green, more broken than more expensive offerings such as Warashina Supreme or Aoi, which I would expect. This is 21 USD, not 30-35.

First steep is bright yellow. Aroma slightly veggie, but mellower than Aoi. Flavor is generally sweet, not an intense veggie flavor.

Overall, at this price point it is a very good value. It is a mellower, sweeter experience than Shizuoka and Uji asamushi counterparts. But this is organic so I expect this to a degree. The brew is very agreeable and a beginner to a seasoned drinker of sencha could find enjoyment in this selection for different reasons. Seems like a pretty easy brewer.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Stentor » Jul 1st, '11, 11:16

Nice review. Thanks, Chip.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Kevangogh » Jul 2nd, '11, 12:05

Speaking of which, I got samples for a killer organic Kagoshima asa the other day that even beats this one, but it isn't cheap. I'd probably have to sell it at $32 for a 100 gram bag, not sure if the organic maniacs are willing to go that high or not! We're now heading into gyokuro priced territory...
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Stentor » Jul 3rd, '11, 10:00

Can anybody give me some tips on how to make O-Cha's Sae Midori shincha shine?
I have been through 30 grams, tried a few things, have had decent brews but haven't quite nailed it, yet.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Chip » Jul 3rd, '11, 11:47

Stentor wrote:Can anybody give me some tips on how to make O-Cha's Sae Midori shincha shine?
I have been through 30 grams, tried a few things, have had decent brews but haven't quite nailed it, yet.

Sae Midori is a mild varietal, it could be that it is mild to your tastes.

Try more leaf, longer steeps.

What have you been doing so far?

EDIT: Unfortunately, I do not have Sae Midori.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby DBentz » Jul 3rd, '11, 12:17

Important discalimer: hope you aren't looking for THE ONE TRUE WAY, because this advice certainly isn't, and, I am not an expert! But, I claim a back seat to no one in the enjoyment of Sae Midori varietal. I have found that steeping it alternately between a Yabukita type brew and a gyokuro, is possible because it is so forgiving (as long as you don't go over 160 degrees). So sometimes I'll go as high as 160 for a minute, and as low as 140 for 2. When done that way I use the more standard water to leaf ratio. When steeped like a gyokuro I'll use barely enough water to wet the leaves after full absorption. In that case, as low as 100 degrees and not above 140. Subsequent steeps tend to have more water, higher temps, and longer times (except for the second). I think it tastes good even with room temperature water (longer steep time). Though not a gyokuro, when brewed like one, the first steep is truly nectar of the gods! And subsequent steeps don't fade as fast as gyokuro! Another possible sin I am guilty of is to drink Sae Midori in conjunction with a Yabukita sencha as the two contrasting flavor profiles highlight and complement one another beautifully.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby TIM » Jul 3rd, '11, 12:28

Stentor wrote:Can anybody give me some tips on how to make O-Cha's Sae Midori shincha shine?
I have been through 30 grams, tried a few things, have had decent brews but haven't quite nailed it, yet.


http://tinyurl.com/6fqe7b2
This might help, as long as you do not have a preconceived notion to judge the tea.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Stentor » Jul 3rd, '11, 14:30

Chip wrote:What have you been doing so far?

Best result so far was probably when I did about 72° C (preheated), 1 g per oz, 45 seconds.
I've tried more and less leaf, up to 80° C and times between 20 seconds and 1 minute (first infusion). I haven't tried too much colder than 72° C.
Like I said, it's not like I have been getting bad brews, it's just that I strongly suspect these leaves have more to offer and I haven't been doing them justice :)
Oh and I've had last year's sencha, which, brewed the way I have been doing it with this one, had a bit more punch. So I wouldn't say the varietal is too mild for me. I enjoy a little variety every now and then. I just got more of that vegetable sweetness from last year's version. It wasn't as subtle as the shincha version has been for me so far. I'm not saying this has little flavor or anything, it just seems a bit subdued, no real high points so far. That's why I think I've not been brewing it perfectly so far.
Still about 70 g left to get it right! :mrgreen:

Thanks, DBentz. I will try to steep longer and 60° C (140° F) to make a radical change and see if it's going in the right direction and fine tune from there. I guess I may have been too heavily influenced by the Yutaka Midori shincha which did pretty well at higher temperatures up to 80° C in my opinion, so I haven't been going very low in temperature with this Sae Midori.

Very bookmark-worthy link, TIM! I'm not a sencha beginner myself, but this will sure help me explain the basic principles to others in the future.

What I will do though, is do the pour-stop-pour-motion with the kysusu as if I were pouring into several small cups instead of one 120 ml one. Maybe it'll make a difference. Or I'll just use two small cups.

Some really good replies. Thanks, guys! Makes me really want to make some right now but it's too late for tea now. For us it's just a normal monday tomorrow... :)
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby olivierco » Jul 3rd, '11, 14:41

Kevangogh wrote:Speaking of which, I got samples for a killer organic Kagoshima asa the other day that even beats this one, but it isn't cheap. I'd probably have to sell it at $32 for a 100 gram bag, not sure if the organic maniacs are willing to go that high or not! We're now heading into gyokuro priced territory...


As an asamushi maniac I will sure get a bag if you decide to sell it.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Chip » Jul 3rd, '11, 14:43

DBentz wrote:Important discalimer: hope you aren't looking for THE ONE TRUE WAY, because this advice certainly isn't, and, I am not an expert! But, I claim a back seat to no one in the enjoyment of Sae Midori varietal. I have found that steeping it alternately between a Yabukita type brew and a gyokuro, is possible because it is so forgiving (as long as you don't go over 160 degrees). So sometimes I'll go as high as 160 for a minute, and as low as 140 for 2. When done that way I use the more standard water to leaf ratio. When steeped like a gyokuro I'll use barely enough water to wet the leaves after full absorption. In that case, as low as 100 degrees and not above 140. Subsequent steeps tend to have more water, higher temps, and longer times (except for the second). I think it tastes good even with room temperature water (longer steep time). Though not a gyokuro, when brewed like one, the first steep is truly nectar of the gods! And subsequent steeps don't fade as fast as gyokuro! Another possible sin I am guilty of is to drink Sae Midori in conjunction with a Yabukita sencha as the two contrasting flavor profiles highlight and complement one another beautifully.

Interesting DB ... SM is often called a natural gyokuro. You may become the SM (not S&M :lol: ) expert of TC. :mrgreen:

I was going to mention lower temps, but wanted to see what Stentor was doing.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Chip » Jul 3rd, '11, 14:46

olivierco wrote:
Kevangogh wrote:Speaking of which, I got samples for a killer organic Kagoshima asa the other day that even beats this one, but it isn't cheap. I'd probably have to sell it at $32 for a 100 gram bag, not sure if the organic maniacs are willing to go that high or not! We're now heading into gyokuro priced territory...


As an asamushi maniac I will sure get a bag if you decide to sell it.

+1!

Had the current Kago offering everyday since opening the bag several days ago. My first impression was not much veggie, but was softer, sweeter.

Change that ... it does have a potent veggie pop in the first steep, depending on how it is brewed.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Chip » Jul 3rd, '11, 15:00

Stentor wrote:Best result so far was probably when I did about 72° C (preheated), 1 g per oz, 45 seconds.
I've tried more and less leaf, up to 80° C and times between 20 seconds and 1 minute (first infusion). I haven't tried too much colder than 72° C.
Like I said, it's not like I have been getting bad brews, it's just that I strongly suspect these leaves have more to offer and I haven't been doing them justice :)
Oh and I've had last year's sencha, which, brewed the way I have been doing it with this one, had a bit more punch. So I wouldn't say the varietal is too mild for me. I enjoy a little variety every now and then. I just got more of that vegetable sweetness from last year's version. It wasn't as subtle as the shincha version has been for me so far. I'm not saying this has little flavor or anything, it just seems a bit subdued, no real high points so far. That's why I think I've not been brewing it perfectly so far.
Still about 70 g left to get it right! :mrgreen:

Agreed, YM likes it hotter to bring out its unique character. SM seems to respond to cooler and longer as I mentioned above. If I drop temp, I usually increase time, a sliding scale.

I have had some versions of SM that were incredibly sweet, almost imbalanced ... to more veggie/sweet versions that struck a perfect balance ... to some I just could not get to have enough flavor, were flat.

The rocking during pouring even when not pouring to multiple cups you mention from Tim's link is a common Japanese method and should add some intensity, just have to find the right balance.

Just another thing. The right screen for a tea like SM can make a big difference. You want some leaf particle to pour, thus the rocking technique along with the right screen can kick it up a notch!
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby NOESIS » Jul 3rd, '11, 15:26

Stentor, have you tried brewing in a porcelain vessel? I often find that a porcelain kyusu or houhin brews up a more robust cup, and often with more subtle flavors being revealed. Not the smoothing-out effect of Tokoname or Banko.
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Stentor » Jul 4th, '11, 11:01

Re: Sae Midori shincha. Having a really nice first steep of it right now. Brewed 4 g in 4 oz at 62° C (preheated Tokoname) for one minute. So basically: colder and longer. I should write this down as a rule of thumb, "Sae Midori colder and longer than Yutaka Midori".
I also did the "rocking" pour by the way. I think it may have made the first steep greener than before?
This is definitely a step in the right direction. I'm very pleased with it already and will see what slight changes will do. Delicious!
Thanks for the help, guys!

NOESIS wrote:Stentor, have you tried brewing in a porcelain vessel? I often find that a porcelain kyusu or houhin brews up a more robust cup, and often with more subtle flavors being revealed. Not the smoothing-out effect of Tokoname or Banko.

I have. I brewed a few sessions in a procelain tea tasting kit. Turned out fine. I think I know what you mean with regard to porcelain's influence (or, well, lack thereof) on taste. It was one of my better attempts definitely but I'm pretty sure my other "mistakes" played a bigger part than the brewing vessel. Thanks for the tip, though. It's always worth trying new things to find a way to get the best out of the leaves :)
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Re: 2011 Official Shincha Review Topic!

Postby Stentor » Jul 4th, '11, 11:13

Chip wrote:
olivierco wrote:
Kevangogh wrote:Speaking of which, I got samples for a killer organic Kagoshima asa the other day that even beats this one, but it isn't cheap. I'd probably have to sell it at $32 for a 100 gram bag, not sure if the organic maniacs are willing to go that high or not! We're now heading into gyokuro priced territory...


As an asamushi maniac I will sure get a bag if you decide to sell it.

+1!


I'm intrigued as well. :) I'd buy a bag.
Maybe it'd be smart to sell 50 g bags at $16. It looks cheaper and it's a good size that you can just add on top of another order without thinking you're overbuying expensive stuff.
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