OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby FlyedPiper » Oct 22nd, '11, 18:23

Got them today from my mailing address (they've been sitting there a couple days, haven't had a chance to pick them up). Now- which one to try first? I opted out of the blind option for this one, so it will be interesting to see other's reactions and comments 8) .

Thanks Chip!
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby gargoylekitty » Oct 22nd, '11, 20:25

Yay! It, and a couple things I'd been waiting for mail-wise, arrived today! Think I'm going to go for blind tasting, just gotta figure where to start.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby debunix » Oct 23rd, '11, 14:33

Standardizing as much as possible: tasting blinded, preparing all in my Petr Novak iron-rich clay kyusu, about 150 mL water per infusion (preheating first infusions), 4 grams of tea, drinking from Petr's chawan.

Sample 1--dark rich scent of deep green leaves, lots of fines in this one.
30 seconds: sweet, rich, deeply vegetal, not really grassy/brassy, but mellower than that
20 seconds: impression of sweetness covering my tongue, hints of astringency, but really this infusion was a bit too short.
45 seconds: not too dissimilar from the first--no obvious floral or fruity notes, but equally absent are any strong bitter or astringent bits, and there is little even asparagus-like flavor here, it's mostly a sense of sweet, something between sweet corn and young fresh peas.
170 degrees, 1 minute: losing the sweetness, so more astringency is apparent simply by the absence of the other, rather than by any increased astringency or bitterness. Still lots of fines clouding the liquor.
170, 90 seconds: Still waiting for some bitterness, and not finding any.
180 degrees, 2 min: ditto!
180 degrees, 3 min: all the way to sweet water, and no bitterness. Is my tongue working, or is this nectar of the gods?

Sample 2: fruity-smelling deep green leaves
160 degrees, 30 seconds: my tongue is awakened, this one is lively, sweet, vegetal, a bit of astringency
160 degrees, 1 minute: (my error in timing)--sea/umami richness coming in, the sweet is there but muted by the deeper umami flavors
160 degrees, 1 minute: still that strong umami-ness
160 degrees, 1 minute: umami, ocean, green, nothing bitter
180 degrees, 1 minute or so: still that strong umami/sea flavor, reminds me a lot of one of the korean green teas I bought last year--a very different quality to this one.
190 degrees, something over a minute--still that very strong difference in flavor from the rest, fresh, deep, distinct, lovely!

Sample 3: curlier bits of leaf, brighter but still deep green, sweet rich scent.
160 degrees, 30 seconds, also a lot of fines coming through the filters' sweet, delicious, but grassier, a little less rich mouthfeel
160 degrees, 20 seconds; then 45 seconds. Both infusions are starting to differentiate this sample from sample 1--astringency, grassiness, still sweet, but nothing like the depth of sweetness of the 1st sample.
170 degrees, 60 seconds, then 90 seconds: same pattern: sweeter and grassier than sample 1.
180 degrees, 2 minutes--we're already at sweet water, bit of astringency remains. Not going to try a last, longer infusion, because this one was not as pleasing as the previous.

Sample 4: deep green, very rich scent to these leaves, again a lot of in fines. But the scent is very like sample 1, making me very excited to try it.
30 seconds, 160 degrees, mmmm, sweet, yum, just like the scent: depth of green vegetal deliciousness is extreme, but nothing astringent or bitter, and no really caramel-toasted quality, unlike Sample 3. I have no problem saying what is not there in this flavor, but have trouble assigning flavor to it: young, tender, richly sweet green leafiness. Not floral, perhaps some hints of cherries, but just intense sweet green tea.
20 seconds, delicious; 45 seconds, a little less freshness to the flavor--perhaps less of the not-quite-floral brightness of the first infusion, but still very very nice.
170 dgrees, 1 minute and 90 seconds, and the sparkle is definitely gone, but there is plenty left to enjoy, and nothing unpleasant has started yet.
180 degrees, 2 minutes & 3 minutes--losing it, and now at sweet water, but like the first sample, never astringent/bitter/unpleasant. Nice nice nice.

Sample 5: another deep green tea, lots of fines again, but scent of banana in the leaves among the rich vegetal loveliness
160 degrees, 30 seconds, delicious sweetness, hints of grassy, floral but mostly that deep green flavor.
20 seconds 2nd infusion is giving a hint of a more roasted flavor; 45 second third infusion is letting in some bitterness, and I think it is the tea and not the snack I'm eating with the tea.
4th infusion, food done now, and this one was meant to be parallel 1 minute at 170 degrees, but the kettle was hotter, about 180, when I poured, so only 50 seconds or so infusion time--tried to even it out a bit. The flavor is very light--surprisingly close to sweet water. No overdone astringency or bitterness, just not much left in the tea.
Another infusion, 180 degrees, confirms it: this tea was delicious but the leaves had no stamina.

Going to post this first before I do the unblinding….
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby puerhking » Oct 23rd, '11, 14:51

Tried the Kabusecha today. No need to look at the key for this one. You can tell by looking at the leaves...then by smelling them...and certainly by tasting them.

Used a bit less leaf but otherwise used the suggested parameters. Flavors of the sea, but not quite seaweed and anise with some nice umami and a long finish. Nicely balanced for the first two infusions then the anise flavors dominated a bit though not in a bad way. This is a nice mild and balanced Kabusecha for someone who is not generally into that flavor profile.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby rhondabee » Oct 23rd, '11, 15:07

Debunix: I agree with your tasting notes about #2. I really liked this tea. The dry leaves smelled like a spiced apple cookies and I got hints of that in the flavor of the tea. Yum! Can't wait to try 1, 3 & 5. I hope I get hints of banana in #5 also.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby debunix » Oct 23rd, '11, 15:27

Still eking out a few more infusions from the Kabuse--what a lovely tea. And it was quite an interesting unblinding. I suspected #4 might be a Kabuse--the last one of those I had in a tasting also reminded me of that Korean tea.

Love the Takumi from Zencha--fantastic stuff. Will put this on my list of 'if I ever run out of sencha again' list. Right now I have so much from recent orders that I can't run right out and get it. But it will be there.

And surprise, I loved the Fukamushi from Xell--Fuka has not generally been my favorite but maybe my palate is readier for them now?
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Drax » Oct 23rd, '11, 20:01

I finished my first tasting with all five of the teas today. I was able to correctly identify all 5 with respect to the key, although I admit I was able to do it more from visuals and steeping recommendations, rather than taste.

In fact, I think w/o the steeping recommendations, I would have likely flip-flopped #1 and #4.... though the staying power of #1 gave some hints as to its origin -- #1 poured like syrup; I thought for sure it was going to be terribly bitter from the slow pouring, but it just felt thick, never bitter. Amazing tea... here it is on the last (5th) steep that I had with it:

Image
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Chip » Oct 24th, '11, 00:22

Thanks for the reviews debunix, PK, Rhonda, Drax ... great reads. :mrgreen:

Glad to hear these are arriving ... hopefully the rest will arrive this week :!:
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Nathaniel87 » Oct 24th, '11, 08:12

Arrived here in South Korea this afternoon~ I will begin sampling soon!
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Chip » Oct 24th, '11, 12:25

Nathaniel87 wrote:Arrived here in South Korea this afternoon~ I will begin sampling soon!

That was PDQ! 7000 miles from here ... yet Canadian neighbors as close as 225 miles away still did not receive their packages. :cry: :roll: :evil:
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby David R. » Oct 24th, '11, 12:26

Got it today. Many thanks once again to people in charge of logistics. :)
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby puerhking » Oct 24th, '11, 17:31

Canada should really consider updating their "pony express" mail system. :lol:
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby David R. » Oct 25th, '11, 06:20

#1 : 5g/10cl

65°C/75" - 70°C/30" - 75°C/2'

Nice. Not the best ever but a long sweet and fresh aftertaste. This OTTI begins well ! :)
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby puerhking » Oct 26th, '11, 12:41

#5 for today. First thing I noticed was the lack of grassiness and the scent of fruit on the dry leaf. The brewed leaves had a lack of aroma save some spinach like bass notes. This one definitely benefits from using more leaf. The first two brews had some fruity notes and a bit of umami but seemed to be lacking personality. However the third and fourth had a nice vegetal flavor with pronounced sweetness making me rethink this one. Pretty tasty.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Chip » Oct 26th, '11, 13:14

puerhking wrote:#5 for today. First thing I noticed was the lack of grassiness and the scent of fruit on the dry leaf. The brewed leaves had a lack of aroma save some spinach like bass notes. This one definitely benefits from using more leaf. The first two brews had some fruity notes and a bit of umami but seemed to be lacking personality. However the third and fourth had a nice vegetal flavor with pronounced sweetness making me rethink this one. Pretty tasty.

Definitely try this one with more leaf, really changes its personality. At 1:1, I found it to be a mellow sencha, at 1.25:1, lots of umami and brothiness.

A good sencha will allow the brewer to add more and more leaf to a point of diminishing returns ... I do not know if I have found that point yet, but I generally do not seek out the outer limits, per se. I seek out my comfort zone and am ... happy!
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