Help a newbie out! Sencha/Shincha


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Help a newbie out! Sencha/Shincha

Postby Geekgirl » Jun 18th, '08, 12:37

Finally brave enough, (again) to delve into the world of Japanese green. I've wrestled with the Senchas offered by both Teavana (blech - when I was starting out. Almost derailed the entire tea "thing" for me. :shock: ) and from Uwajimaya - also a strike out, don't know if that's an Uwa thing or I just picked a couple of bad ones.

So... now taking recommendations. Keeping in mind that I'm not fond of drinking collard greens tea <-----joke, can someone(s) make a couple of recommendations?

I've poked around o-cha, den's, etc. I'd like to order stateside for my first "real" tries with this. Let's set an arbitrary budget of $20-25 for an 80-100g unit. Even better, I'd love to be able to get several different types in 25-40g units, and would lean toward that option if available. Any good quality samplers out there?

Thanks!
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Postby Sydney » Jun 18th, '08, 12:57

The world's not full of good quality sencha samplers.

If you can get someone to split costs with you, you can divvy up some to a similar effect, though.

The sencha I recommend by default is the Miyabi from O-Cha. There are other good ones, but this one stands out in my book as a good well-rounded sencha.

Adagio's got a sencha or two that can be obtained in sample form.
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Postby olivierco » Jun 18th, '08, 13:01

El Padre wrote:The sencha I recommend by default is the Miyabi from O-Cha. There are other good ones, but this one stands out in my book as a good well-rounded sencha.

+1
You can also buy the green tea set from ocha 80gr Miyabi 80g Yukata Midori and two canisters for 45$
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Postby Pentox » Jun 18th, '08, 13:07

If you're looking for pure sencha samplers, there aren't many out there. Most samplers, even if you find it in a Japanese green format will only include a few or one sencha. The variety comes from the genmaicha/kukicha/hojicha/etc.

Since I know you go to ToT you might want to try them. The Sencha Shinrikyu was quite good for the price. The Midori and Maruse were both pretty good, but a bit overpriced.

Another vendor to give a try is Lupicia. I'm a big fan of theirs and suggest them at pretty much every chance I get though. They have their teas in 50g nitroflush packs so you're not committing to very much. They have one of the largest sencha selections I've seen. If you need some recommendations I would be happy to give you some, or you can just flip through my blog.

Den's green tea kit is good if you haven't ordered from them before, a few little samples for 3 dollars, and 3 dollars off your next order.
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Postby Chip » Jun 18th, '08, 13:11

olivierco wrote:
El Padre wrote:The sencha I recommend by default is the Miyabi from O-Cha. There are other good ones, but this one stands out in my book as a good well-rounded sencha.

+1
You can also buy the green tea set from ocha 80gr Miyabi 80g Yukata Midori and two canisters for 45$


The canisters are really COOL too.

BUT...get the Fukamushi Supreme...100 grams of yummmm!
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Postby Pentox » Jun 18th, '08, 13:15

El Padre wrote:The sencha I recommend by default is the Miyabi from O-Cha. There are other good ones, but this one stands out in my book as a good well-rounded sencha.


O-cha isn't really stateside.
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Postby scruffmcgruff » Jun 18th, '08, 13:16

I'd be happy to send you samples of a couple shinchas (Yukata Midori and Kirameki, both from O-Cha). Just PM me your address, and I'll get them sent out some time this week.
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 18th, '08, 13:20

Pentox wrote:
El Padre wrote:The sencha I recommend by default is the Miyabi from O-Cha. There are other good ones, but this one stands out in my book as a good well-rounded sencha.


O-cha isn't really stateside.


? Doesn't their shipping reflect domestic prices? I'm mainly trying to avoid paying as much as my tea purchase in shipping costs.

Looks like Shincha season is pretty much over.

Fukamushi, eh? While I LOVE saying that word (I'm only 8 years old on the inside!) is that a good "starter" sencha?

I was looking at that gift set from o-cha. It has one 80g "Miyabi" and one 80g "Midori." + shipping = around $50. Good tea/good price?

I might just try the Den's sample. That way if I weenie out on the sencha, it's not wasteful. :shock:
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 18th, '08, 13:23

scruffmcgruff wrote:I'd be happy to send you samples of a couple shinchas (Yukata Midori and Kirameki, both from O-Cha). Just PM me your address, and I'll get them sent out some time this week.


:D Sample fiends! Yay!

Oh yes, Tao of Tea. You know, I've heard soooo many mixed reviews on quality from them. OTOH, they are local. I notice that they don't put much on the website about year harvested, which makes me a bit nervous. My understanding is that Sencha, more than most teas, suffers greatly if older/less fresh.
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Postby Pentox » Jun 18th, '08, 13:30

GeekgirlUnveiled wrote:
Pentox wrote:
El Padre wrote:The sencha I recommend by default is the Miyabi from O-Cha. There are other good ones, but this one stands out in my book as a good well-rounded sencha.


O-cha isn't really stateside.


? Doesn't their shipping reflect domestic prices? I'm mainly trying to avoid paying as much as my tea purchase in shipping costs.

Looks like Shincha season is pretty much over.

Fukamushi, eh? While I LOVE saying that word (I'm only 8 years old on the inside!) is that a good "starter" sencha?

I was looking at that gift set from o-cha. It has one 80g "Miyabi" and one 80g "Midori." + shipping = around $50. Good tea/good price?

I might just try the Den's sample. That way if I weenie out on the sencha, it's not wasteful. :shock:


Everything is in domestic rates, but your tea ships from Japan, as noted on their homepage.

Shincha season isn't really over yet. You can still pick some up at a lot of places. I found out today that Lupicia is getting their shipments in soon. (Damn slow boats).

While I won't deny that the Miyabi and the Midori are both great senchas and that the tins are really neat, $50 to start off with going searching for new teas is a bit much imo. That and you're limiting yourself to trying out two. I would say get those if you find you like senchas.

Personally I think Fukamushi isn't that representative of sencha, it's more of a varietal, I would say try the regular kinds first and then branch out to fukamushi/gui/etc.

And the Den's sample, well that's like a low/no risk offer.
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Postby Pentox » Jun 18th, '08, 13:32

GeekgirlUnveiled wrote:Oh yes, Tao of Tea. You know, I've heard soooo many mixed reviews on quality from them. OTOH, they are local. I notice that they don't put much on the website about year harvested, which makes me a bit nervous. My understanding is that Sencha, more than most teas, suffers greatly if older/less fresh.


Well one of the really odd things I found about ToT was the 1oz special tin senchas were really just Kaburaigen sencha repackaged. One of the ones I had still had a packing label from Kaburaigen on it. So it was basically packed in Japan by another company shipped over here and shoved into a can and sold by ToT. I found that really interesting.
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 18th, '08, 15:10

Weird about the repackaging. Was the tea good?

Okay, ordered the Den's sampler. Yay!
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Postby Pentox » Jun 18th, '08, 15:16

GeekgirlUnveiled wrote:Weird about the repackaging. Was the tea good?

Okay, ordered the Den's sampler. Yay!


It was good, but not $12/oz good.
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Postby inspectoring » Jun 19th, '08, 01:10

please please try the megami sencha from itoen. AMAZING!!!...I am hooked. They have a store in NY area and you can get all their sencha's in 1 oz packaging. If you are far away - you can call them and ask them to send you 1 oz packages of a couple of teas..
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Postby Geekgirl » Jun 19th, '08, 01:11

Okay folks, I'm an impatient sort, so I went over to Uwajimaya to see what they had. The store by my office is extremely busy and very well-maintained, so I thought there might be some decent products there. I was really surprised to see not only some recognizable names, but in checking the sell/use-by dates, as well as the shelf tag dates, it seems that product is reasonably fresh.

Also, I found this:

Image

and thought, why not? Especially for a tad over $11 for 85g. First thoughts... yeah, I was drinking crappy sencha, this is a whole different ballgame.

First steep was somewhat harsh and astringent, but the 2nd was mellower, richer and mildly astringent. 3rd steep was what I imagine you sencha-heads rave over: Sweet, mellow, rich, lots of fresh flavor. I get it. Wow.

The leaves are quite impressive. BRILLIANT emerald green, yielding a chartreuse liquid. The picture does not do justice to the color.

Image

I also picked up a package of "2008 New Crop Shincha Genmaicha" from the same vendor. It might be interesting, I've never tried Genmaicha, good or bad.

The only negative I noted at Uwa was that the Den's selection consisted of 2 boxes, very old. Weird.
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