Why Japanese teas?


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby DBentz » Jun 23rd, '11, 00:53

The intensity of my preference for Japanese green teas makes me want to verbalize some sort of rationale or excuse. But my knowledge and skill are probably not up to the task. All I can say is that I would love to discover anything as impressive to me as Japanese greens teas. Some Taiwanese high mountain oolongs are the closest I have found. Maybe it was some childhood experience of green tea that resonates in my adult subconscious. I don't know. But I do know I have a problem. How can sencha, gykuro, and matcha flavors be both so bold and delicate at the same time? And how can they be so sensitive to variations in water/leaf ratios, water temperature, brewing times, iron/mineral content of kyusus, cups, and tetsubins, and even, I am told, oxygen content of the water?! Like I said, I have a problem. In fact, probably because of me, my 3 year old granddaughter exhibits a ghastly obsession with eating my raw, spent, tea leaves after brewing. I have to fend her off while brewing the tea and then restrain her from retrieving them after! I'm going to try to get a picture of the leaves stuck between her teeth and all over her lips and face, but here's what it looks like when she gets her hands on a bowl of matcha.
Image
Image
Last edited by DBentz on Jun 23rd, '11, 02:56, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby debunix » Jun 23rd, '11, 01:05

!!

So cute.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby Lionel » Jun 23rd, '11, 07:12

I have been drinking japanese green teas for one year now. For 8 years before (2002-2010), I was only drinking chinese and taiwanese teas (red tea, pu er, wulongs). Now that I drink japanese green teas, I drink it every day, once or twice a day, and I almost don't drink anything else.
I first thought that all japanese teas were the same...green, umami...boring...But things prove me that this is wrong. My green tea is never twice the same, it changes every day.
The same tea will never be the same, depending on how I prepare it : ratio leaves/water, temperature, steeping time, kyusu and yunomi I use...
And what a great diversity in cultivars (kôshun, asatsuyu, saemidori, yumewakaba, fukumidori, sayamakaori, hokumei, yabukita, musashikaori, okumidori, okuyutaka, samidori....), of course the difference between fukamushi and asamushi...
Tealover since 2002, japanese green teas is the greatest experience I have came through.
And so much to say about japanese teaware...Since I bought a japanese kyusu by Yamada So, I have 3 masterpiece chinese teapots sleeping on my tea shelf...
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby lkj23 » Jun 25th, '11, 13:01

This year is my first year drinking high quality teas and I have bought a lof of chinese teas (scare of radiation). But a lot is a lot :lol: :lol: :lol: . Then since I have received my order from japanese teas from 2010 I only drink japanese teas, I don´t know why but my body asks me to drink sencha all the time.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby Tead Off » Jun 26th, '11, 10:20

lkj23 wrote:This year is my first year drinking high quality teas and I have bought a lof of chinese teas (scare of radiation). But a lot is a lot :lol: :lol: :lol: . Then since I have received my order from japanese teas from 2010 I only drink japanese teas, I don´t know why but my body asks me to drink sencha all the time.

Japanese teas are unique in flavor, to be sure. And, the teaware is very compelling, indeed. But, I could never drink just one type of tea all the time. Sure, for a week or so, I could drink a type of tea but then the craving for something else sets in. I could never turn my back on Taiwan oolongs or TGY or Darjeelings. Plus, Wuyi and Puerh? No way I am giving those up!
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby lkj23 » Jun 26th, '11, 10:50

Tead Off wrote:
lkj23 wrote:This year is my first year drinking high quality teas and I have bought a lof of chinese teas (scare of radiation). But a lot is a lot :lol: :lol: :lol: . Then since I have received my order from japanese teas from 2010 I only drink japanese teas, I don´t know why but my body asks me to drink sencha all the time.

Japanese teas are unique in flavor, to be sure. And, the teaware is very compelling, indeed. But, I could never drink just one type of tea all the time. Sure, for a week or so, I could drink a type of tea but then the craving for something else sets in. I could never turn my back on Taiwan oolongs or TGY or Darjeelings. Plus, Wuyi and Puerh? No way I am giving those up!


Yes, I love taiwanese oolong and pu-erh but I basically drink green tea, others 2 or 3 times a week. I have never tried TGY, DArjeeling or Wuyi teas, I have to explore a lot.

No words to explain japanese teaware ImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImageImage
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby debunix » Jun 26th, '11, 11:26

Tead Off wrote: Sure, for a week or so, I could drink a type of tea but then the craving for something else sets in. I could never turn my back on Taiwan oolongs or TGY or Darjeelings. Plus, Wuyi and Puerh? No way I am giving those up!


I have turned my back on darjeelings, but other than those and Assams, I crave them all from time to time. And much as I enjoy a morning sencha, if I'm traveling with very limited baggage, I'll bring a couple of oolongs along for the trip and leave the sencha behind.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby Tead Off » Jun 26th, '11, 23:46

Darjeeling cries for you. :(
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby debunix » Jun 27th, '11, 00:11

The production is so limited of true, pure Darjeeling that the rest of you should be glad I'm leaving more of the precious leaf for you!
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby Tead Off » Jun 27th, '11, 04:56

debunix wrote:The production is so limited of true, pure Darjeeling that the rest of you should be glad I'm leaving more of the precious leaf for you!

There are some reliable vendors right there that you can buy from as opposed to many other teas from countries where the vendor is removed from the gardens sometimes by thousands of miles. I worry less about Darjeelings than about Chinese teas.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby Chasm » Jun 28th, '11, 02:32

Chesslover wrote:For me personally chinese teas are way too much delicate...I like the thick, full of umami, second steeping of fukamushi sencha...just can't beat that taste :mrgreen:


Heh, I drink mainly sencha, but that second steeping of a powerhouse fuka is always too much for me and I wind up diluting it.

Part of why I've been drinking mainly sencha for a while is, well, laziness. I know I can find flavor profiles I want by going through O-Cha's offerings, and I never get a bad result. The right tea does a lot to strengthen my delicate digestion, which I've come to depend on, so right now I'm just sticking to what I know will get me what I need. O-cha has been a godsend for me.

I love good asamushi, and I wind up chasing some of the same flavors I've found in good Chinese greens, but without the floral notes, which I just don't care for. I will undoubtedly branch out again, but probably not this summer.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby gingkoseto » Jun 29th, '11, 00:05

Interesting topic!

Personal taste is surely an important reason. Besides, I guess, once there are more discussions on Chinese green, they will induce even more discussions. Just as when there are more discussions on Japanese green or other teas, they will induce even more discussions on the genre. It's often a positive feedback process. :D

Also I suspect there is greater barrier on buying high quality Chinese green tea than high quality Japanese green tea. I am not familiar with Japanese green tea market, but have the impression that there are many ways to buy tea directly from Japan. But vendors who offer teas from China are rather few. One reason behind it, I guess, is the currency regulation in China. Currently a China-based vendor accessible to overseas buyers must have an overseas account to sort out his own currency issue. There is almost no way to pay a China-based vendor directly with a non-RMB currency and let the payment reach the vendor's Chinese bank account (you always have to go through a bank or some agent). There is a visa card online payment system but it barely works. Therefore very few Chinese vendors can sell directly to international market. When you have to go through an agent, not only there is higher cost, but also direct communication with the vendor is missing.

I think the same problem is behind the tea ware issue mentioned earlier in this thread. I guess there are no fewer high end tea wares from China than from Japan. But most Chinese high end tea wares don't make their way to international market. Most Chinese vendors don't consider international market an option for them as they don't have a way to take direct payment.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby IPT » Jun 29th, '11, 01:59

DBentz wrote: Image
Image


These are absolutely priceless! What a cutie!
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby FlyedPiper » Jun 29th, '11, 19:50

Chip wrote:Perhaps because once smitten, it is hard to resist the steamed leaf.

It is the tea that I crave each night thinking about the first tea of the day

It is the tea that I first think of whenever I want tea.

Maybe they lace it with highly addictive drugs ...

Actually it was not always this way on TeaChat. When I joined 5 years ago, sencha was pratically a bad word!!! How things have changed. :lol:


Chip had to bust out some poetry for that answer :lol: .

My answer is: if you like green tea- I mean really like green tea- not just drink it on occasion along with your yerba matte or hibiscus-peppermint beepollen-organic rooibos tea, the Japanese have it down to a science. It's the only tea they drink and have been doing it for centuries.

Not to say anything against Chinese greens. I drink them on occasion, and enjoy them very much. But I LOVE green tea, so I buy sencha, matcha, gyokuro etc.
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Re: Why Japanese teas?

Postby oeroe » Jul 1st, '11, 16:05

Hey all, thanks for the discussion this far!

This is kind of tough topic, as it is so closely tied to personal taste. Maybe the question "why so many here seem to personally favour japanese teas" cannot be answered.

I think Gingko made a good point with the synergies of threads -a lot of discussion on japanese teas will produce more discussion on japanese teas.
I believe the market is pretty balanced, however. There are many namely internet vendors selling japanese teas (O-Cha, Hibiki-An, Ippodo..) but also many good vendors on chinese teas (Teaspring, Amazing Green Tea, Life in Teacup, Teahub). I think that we can safely be sure that stuff of quite high quality is available on both markets, and I don't believe how many vendors are providing it matters much, providing there is sufficient amount of variancy.

The point of Shincha being the "annual celebration of Spring" is quite interesting. China does have it's Mingqiang cha, tea picked before ~April 5th. So China does have it's "shincha", but somehow japanese teas are more closely assossiated with spring.

Speaking of personal taste, I think I can understand the idea of Japanese teas tasting fresher than Chinese do. Also they are stronger in taste, maybe easier to approach?
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