O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic


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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby puerhking » Mar 7th, '10, 12:53

I bought the Sencha Yutaka Midori a couple of weeks ago. I had some pretty stratospheric expectations based on what I've heard. I doubt anything could have met them, but this came very close. After I tried it...I went back to some Umami Chaya sencha that is near the end of its life and it was intolerable.

Basically, it is a fantastic tea with a wider breadth of flavor, nice mouthfeel and a lingering finish. Much like wine, it is helpful to develop your palate before you buy the one of the best. I don't think I could have fully appreciated this in the beginning. My main concern now is...will I ever be able to drink a lesser tea? :shock:
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Chip » Mar 7th, '10, 22:02

The more leaf and less time makes sense, but I would also consider decreasing the temp 130-135* and see what happens. Often those 5-10 degrees lower can make a difference.

Sorry TokyoB, I am trying to remember, there is a member who is a bit sensitive to any bitterness in tea ... I just cannot remember who it was. Was it you? Sorry if it wasn't, but I was thinking about this for a few hours and could not remember who it was with any certainty.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby TokyoB » Mar 7th, '10, 22:09

Chip,
Rest assured - you do have a good memory. Yes I might be a bit sensitive to bitterness (i.e. I find ALL matcha bitter.) However it wasn't the bitterness that was an issue here as much as a general lack of umami or any other flavor. This was much lighter than any other gyokuro I've had. Will keep at it though.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Chip » Mar 7th, '10, 22:25

TB, OK ... thought it was you. :wink: You mentioned bitter in your one post above, and was wondering.

When it is weak, up the leaf!


Keep in mind, this was 3rd of the ones from O-Cha I have tried in my personal ranking. I have not had some of the good ones they offer.

I find some Gyokuro do lack the umami that others have. Had a rather "thin" tasting gyo (not O-Cha's) this morning, no umami at all. So what you are experiencing is not unheard of. They can still be quite good even w/o the umami, but will never top the list like Kame does.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Chip » Mar 7th, '10, 22:49

puerhking wrote:I bought the Sencha Yutaka Midori a couple of weeks ago. I had some pretty stratospheric expectations based on what I've heard. I doubt anything could have met them, but this came very close. After I tried it...I went back to some Umami Chaya sencha that is near the end of its life and it was intolerable.

Basically, it is a fantastic tea with a wider breadth of flavor, nice mouthfeel and a lingering finish. Much like wine, it is helpful to develop your palate before you buy the one of the best. I don't think I could have fully appreciated this in the beginning. My main concern now is...will I ever be able to drink a lesser tea? :shock:

Thanks for the review which speaks volumes coming from someone with the name "puerhking"! It is always good to hear of another convert to the classic YM! :mrgreen:
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby rjiwrth » Mar 10th, '10, 22:54

rjiwrth wrote:Kagoshima Sencha Yutaka Midori


Image

My cat, Maneki Neko, is hypnotized by YM. He has to smell it every morning. He then travels to a very, very happy spot. I managed to find a great way to strain my YM until my kyusu arrive. I purchased a stainless steel sink strainer to place directly over my gawain to catch the very tender YM leaves while allowing the liquid to flow through. No clogging or mushy mess here 8)

The parameters: I've read many recommendations on YM, so decided to just go with:
5 grams leaf to about 6 ounces water
1st infusion 170 F for 25 seconds
2nd 175 for 50 seconds
3rd 190 for 90 seconds
4th 210 for 2 minutes

The first brew of my YM was a light yellow-golden color. At first, I thought I'd done something really wrong. But, it yielded the sweetest, freshest, oceanic flavor, which was very misleading. I worried it would be weak, but actually the flavor was so clear and vibrant. The aroma brings the ocean and cool wind to mind. I want to compare it to cucumber and green tea mochi. (You may say ewwww, but two of my favorite green foods :mrgreen: ). The second infusion yielded that bright green color I'd seen in all the photos. It almost glowed. Still, no bitterness, no astringency. The flavor had such clarity. The aroma continued to remain a part of the exprience well into the third infusion. I went between experiencing thickness in flavor to crispness. The best of both worlds. The third infusion was deeper, more ocean and vegetable flavors lingered. Still, not harsh, not bitter and still quite alive. The fourth infusion was less crisp and vibrant, but still the subtle flavor lingered and I wanted more.

YM is my morning drink. It is the only tea I can drink on an empty tummy. Others make me feel nauseated, but not this one. Plus, my cat drives me nuts until I prepare the stuff... he watches and hovers over the brew every morning.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Chip » Mar 11th, '10, 17:42

Thanks for sharing your experience with YM with us! I wish I had a bag here to open and share your enthusiasm! I would imagine once you receive your Kyusu, your enjoyment will be doubled!!! So, have a chair handy, YM can make you sit down and take notice. :wink:

Since you are having positive results, I hate to make any suggestions ... butttttt ... 8) If you preheat, try a bit cooler water ... if you do not, try a bit warmer. Also, if you do preheat, after you put the leaves in, smell the warming leaves, whoa!

Also, try increasing the time for your first steep by around 20 seconds. Also try decreasing your second steep time by 20ish seconds.

These are just suggestions based on a lot of subjectivity. Your results may vary. :mrgreen:

Thanks again for sharing with us.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby rjiwrth » Mar 11th, '10, 22:29

Chip wrote:Since you are having positive results, I hate to make any suggestions ... butttttt ... 8) If you preheat, try a bit cooler water ... if you do not, try a bit warmer. Also, if you do preheat, after you put the leaves in, smell the warming leaves, whoa!

Also, try increasing the time for your first steep by around 20 seconds. Also try decreasing your second steep time by 20ish seconds.

These are just suggestions based on a lot of subjectivity. Your results may vary. :mrgreen:


Oh, but there's always room for improvement! I always preheat my teaware...but never thought of smelling the warming leaves. Yum!
I will surely try your recommendations for upping the steeping time for the first and decreasing for my second. Thanks for the suggestions.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Chip » Mar 11th, '10, 22:47

rjiwrth wrote:
Chip wrote:Since you are having positive results, I hate to make any suggestions ... butttttt ... 8) If you preheat, try a bit cooler water ... if you do not, try a bit warmer. Also, if you do preheat, after you put the leaves in, smell the warming leaves, whoa!

Also, try increasing the time for your first steep by around 20 seconds. Also try decreasing your second steep time by 20ish seconds.

These are just suggestions based on a lot of subjectivity. Your results may vary. :mrgreen:


Oh, but there's always room for improvement! I always preheat my teaware...but never thought of smelling the warming leaves. Yum!
I will surely try your recommendations for upping the steeping time for the first and decreasing for my second. Thanks for the suggestions.

Be sure you are sitting before you sniff the warming leaves. :mrgreen:

Oddly, I always used to preheat, but this harvest I began using hotter water and not preheating. I am trying to figure out why, but I think it makes for a more intense cup?

Since you are newer to Japanese teas, I would continue your current course and slowly but surely experiment. You seem to have made great strides in such a short time. :mrgreen:
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby rjiwrth » Mar 14th, '10, 00:10

Chip wrote:
plant partaker wrote:but they dont have samples do you (anybody) know where to get this tea in a smaller portion

Rarely is tea from Japan sold as samples due mostly to strict packaging procedures, however often members offer samples to other members.


Okay, Plantpartaker....your samples are in the mail as of today. If this care package doesn't turn you into a green fiend, nothing will. To tea.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Dresden » Apr 5th, '10, 18:01

I've just posted a review of O-Cha's Uji Sencha Miyabi on my tea blog

Enjoy,
Mike

PS: Below is the text of the review...

Hello, and welcome to the first edition of Mike’s Tea Review. It was a rough go at it for a while but I finally made it and I once again have tea. Today I will be reviewing a japanese green tea from O-Cha.com: Uji Sencha Miyabi.

O-Cha.com was founded in 1998 by Mr. Kevin Moore and is a Japan-based business, located in Iwaki City , Fukushima, Japan. Their website gives us the following description of Uji Sencha Miyabi…

From the first harvest, a very special sencha from Uji, near Kyoto, this tea is very aromatic and is of the highest quality. From the moment you open the package, that special aroma lets you know you’re in for a treat. Deep green in color, “Miyabi” is arguably one of our very best sencha green teas . We originally found this wonderful tea on a product scouting mission in Japan and brought some back to offer our customers. It’s been popular ever since.

This particular sencha is a chuumushi (or medium steamed sencha). More information on tea steaming can be found here.

Upon opening my package from O-Cha I found that not only was the tea in a nitrogen-flushed Mylar bag, but that bag was itself sealed in a plastic bag. I would assume that this extra bag is for if the box were to get wet in transit. This attention to detail illustrates that the people at O-Cha take their (and your) tea seriously.

When I opened the bag, the aroma of the dry leaf filled the area. The leaf was a mixed bag of long needles and not so long needles. This was my first chuumushi, so I can’t say for sure if this type of leaf is typical ( although it did look like more long needles than my last fukamushi).
Click to Enlarge

Dry leaf on 1/4" graph paper

The brewing guide that O-Cha provides recommends using 0.6 grams of leaf per 1 ounce of water. This is a baseline ratio and is a good starting point. Personally, I prefer to brew more leaf with a shorter steeping time. All of my water temperatures take into account a preheated kyusu. The following were my observations:

Leaf: 5.4 grams
Water: 6 ounces

Steep 1 – 1:15 @ 160° : The initial steep yielded a very robust vegetal, almost spinach-like flavor. There was very little astringency and a mild sweetness. The liquor on this brew was a pale yellow/green.

Steep 2 – 0:15 @ 167° : This steep yielded a deep murky green liquor that reminded me of a fukamushi in appearance. Upon tasting there was a bit more astringency, but the most noticeable characteristic was the amount of umami. It was so apparent that it pretty much overpowered even the vegetal taste of the tea. This is quite possibly the most umami I have ever tasted in a cup of tea.

Steep 3 – 0:30 @ 175° : This steep was probably my favorite of the five. The liquor was still murky, but not nearly as dark as the previous steep. There was still umami, however it was nowhere near as overpowering as before. There was also almost a perfect balance of sweetness and astringency. One thing that I noticed on this steep that I did not notice on the others is that there was almost a nutty finish to the taste.

Steep 4 – 1:00 @ 180° : This brew was somewhat vegetal however the sweetness is starting to emerge from the leaf. The liquor is moving back towards a pale green and it was very easy to drink.

Steep 5 – 2:00 @ 190° : The fifth and final brew was pale yellow/green and produced a very mild and sweet cup of tea. This was a very pleasant drink and the sweetness almost seemed to be a “dessert” to the main course of umami that I had experienced earlier.

The following pictures show the appearance of the brewed liquor. The first brew is top center. Following brews move clockwise around the circle. There is also a picture of some of the brewed leaf on 1/4″ graph paper.

Wet leaf on 1/4" graph paper

Liquor color - 5 steepings

Overall, this was a very enjoyable yet complex tea. If you like fukamushi sencha then you will almost assuredly enjoy this chuumushi. At a cost of $25.95 per 100 grams it is not the most economical tea, however the quality is apparent. As with most things in life, you get what you pay for.

Thank for joining me and I hope to have another review for you soon.

Mike
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Thediminished5t... » Apr 28th, '10, 21:37

What is the average time it takes to for an O-Cha order to reach the east coast in your experience?

I ask because I made my first O-Cha order and it shipped First Class on the 13th. Here it is 28th and no tea. I see that O-Cha says that it is usually 5-11 days.

Thanks!
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Chip » Apr 28th, '10, 21:41

thediminished5th wrote:What is the average time it takes to for an O-Cha order to reach the east coast in your experience?

I ask because I made my first O-Cha order and it shipped First Class on the 13th. Here it is 28th and no tea. I see that O-Cha says that it is usually 5-11 days.

Thanks!

5-6 days is common. So this was not a Shincha Preorder? Shincha preorders go out when all the items in the order are available.

I would contact them directly and make sure the order was shipped, then go from there.
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Thediminished5t... » Apr 28th, '10, 21:53

I have just contacted O-Cha but I fear I may have gotten burned by a lost parcel. I guess I'll have to use EMS in the future. :/
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Re: O-Cha "Official" Japanese tea topic

Postby Chip » Apr 28th, '10, 22:42

thediminished5th wrote:I have just contacted O-Cha but I fear I may have gotten burned by a lost parcel. I guess I'll have to use EMS in the future. :/

Hmm, I never had a lost package from O-Cha, and only one package from Japan was ever lost. So it is very rare.

They say wait 21 days. So there is still hope.
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