OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 15:45

We welcome the long awaited first in a series of Gyokuro OTTI tastings with this round featuring 4 Gyokuro from 4 vendors.

The first step in our shared Gyokuro tasting journey, this first GY-OTTI will consist of Gyokuro having a targeted retail price of around $47.50 to 52.50 per 100 grams. These are premium grades.

Successive rounds will include selections of Gyokuro at
incrementally higher retail prices! Participants of this round will automatically be at the front of the line for the successive GY-OTTI rounds. But let's not get ahead of ourselves. :mrgreen:

Spaces at this virtual TeaTable are limited to Gyokuro on hand. Also, all teas are on hand, so your teas will be shipped quickly. However, all teas are still sealed and in the TeaFridge waiting to be weighed and "pouched."

Each participant of this round will receive 10 grams of each selections, 40 grams total. As with previous rounds, "DOUBLING" AKA 2Xing will be permitted as available, however availability for doubling will be limited by making sure everyone has an opportunity to participate. A doubling participant will receive 20 grams of each selection, 80 grams total.

The selections for this round are as follows (in random order).

Zencha's Gyokuro the Ultimate http://www.zencha.net/products.php
This gyokuro is also called Hon Gyokuro, meaning real Gyokuro.
Kabusecha is sometimes called Gyokuro or Netto Gyokuro, but they are not real Gyokuro.
Only first two leaves and buds picked by hands are used.
A full-flavored gyokuro.


Maiko's Yamashita Jirushi http://www.maiko.ne.jp/english/shopping/yamashita-gyokuro.htm
Every step of the production is verified with the craftsman's own eyes and the touch of his own hands. This relentless individual care assures best results for superb taste and superior quality of the tea.


O-Cha's Gyoku-Hou http://www.o-cha.com/green-teas/gyokuro/
A very high quality first-flush gyokuro from Uji, near Kyoto. Gyokuro is shade grown before harvesting, giving it a greener color and sweeter taste. Once you learn to make it properly, you wil be hooked for life!


Den's Suimei http://www.denstea.com/gyokuro-gyokuro-suimei-2300-c-99_100.html
Our highest quality tea. This is made from only the youngest top part of tea leaves picked by hand and carefully processed into an ultra fine needle. Its super natural sweetness promotes a mellow state of mind.


If you recently received one of the above, I will do my best to sub a different selection for you!
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 15:46

For general info on how the OTTIs run, please see this topic: http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=16242 The biggest change is if you are interested in participating in this OTTI round, I am asking that you email me on or after 6 pm Eastern USA time today, Sunday February 10, 2013 at teachatmoderator@yahoo.com ... SUBJECT: OTTI 17.

If you email me from your paypal email, that will simplify things, but it is not necessary!

"Gyokuro" OTTI rounds will be a bit higher in cost, but I feel a great deal anyway. Where else are you going to try 4 premium and divergent selections of Gyokuro for so little? Of course, packaging and shipping costs are included in the costs below based on destination.

Keep in mind, I have purchased these selections and paid to have them shipped to me. OTTI is not bankrolled by Adagio nor any other vendor/sponsor. Still, OTTI cost is less per gram for most participants than if you purchased a bag from the vendor and had it shipped to you!

Total Cost in USD (shipping is included):

USA $18.50 USA participants can upgrade shipping to Priority for $4 more.
Canada/North America $19.50
Europe/South America $21.50
Asia/Australia/Africa $23.50
Other please inquire (I guess that leaves penguins of Antartica and for any extraterrestrials out there wanting to participate)

If you want to 2X this OTTI round and receive 20 grams per tea, 80 grams total, please simply double the amount above and subract 2 USD. For instance, USA would be 37 - 2 = 35 USD.

These costs are just that, costs. There is a cushion of around 1 USD per participant after estimated expenses to cover any "surprises" in shipping, etc. This is really tight, but OTTI is NOT a for profit program. It is to benefit those of us who want to sample great teas ... and it benefits vendors by promoting their offerings. And of course share the experience with other passionate tea drinkers.

Any surplus $$$ will roll over into the OTTI fund. Surplus at the end of the 2013 will go towards charity. For instance, The TC Japan Relief Fund has raised over $1300 for this effort
(Through OTTI and Teaware Special Offerings).

Email your interest to teachatmoderator@yahoo.com including your:

TeaChat User Name
Your name
Mailing address formatted exactly as it would appear on a package or letter addressed to you.
Country
If outside of USA, your phone number is recommended for customs forms/packages!
Paypal email address


Next post will cover "Blind Key"
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 15:46

This post will be edited to include the Blind Key for this round. However, be forwarned, members will be discussing teas by name in this topic!

If you want to conduct your tastings completely blind, then do not read this topic until you sample your teas.

One problem, the brewing directions are by name only.

Next post, Brewing Suggestions

EDIT March 25, 2013: here is the blind key. In order to view, click the quote icon as if you were going to quote this post. The icon is located above this post. The blind key will be revealed below!



1 Zencha's The Ultimate
2 Maiko's Yamashita Jirushi
3 O-Cha's Gyoku-Hou
4 Den's Suimei

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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 15:47

BREWING!

As I stated, the SPECIFIC brewing guidelines further down the page disclose names, etc. If doing a completely blind tasting, you may be on your own.

Some general guidelines which will be followed by much more specific suggestions to help you get the best results from your Gyokuro samples.

First, try and relax! :mrgreen: Brewing Gyokuro can be a bit challenging, but if you go in prepared and relaxed, your results will be much better and you will enjoy the entire experience so much more!

Try and find a quiet time and place! Distractions will ruin the natural beauty of Gyokuro if you allow it! Quiet will calm your mind and allow your senses to ... focus!

Choose a small brew vessel suited for brewing Gyokuro. Your steeps will be generally quite small, 2ish ounces (60 ml).

PREHEAT all teaware used, but do this in a manner that will also cool your water. Pouring boiling water into your brewing vessel, then to a cooling vessel, and then to your cup(s) will really bring your water temp down and preheat all your wares at the same time, minimizing waste of time and heated water. This may feel a bit awkward at first, but with practice, this process will be very ... fluid, natural. During this process, you are also handling your teaware which helps bring all aspects of your Gyokuro experience into focus.

Much more so than just about every tea, parameters are uber critical in brewing Gyokuro, especially when brewing more concentrated steeps which will truly bring out the fullness of the Gyokuro, maximizing the experience (or exagerate mistakes). When done right, Gyokuro will "force" you to slow down, focus, and pay full attention to your "precious dew."

Temperature ... this can make or break a Gyokuro session! Gyokuro requires rather cool water temps, 105-140* depending on the selection and other details. Do not be ashamed to use a thermometer, especially when learning!

Ratio of leaf to water. Too little leaf will leave you wondering what is so special about Gyokuro. Too much will leave you wondering what you did wrong. Just right amount will make you sit down and focus and smile. It can be happiness in a cup!

Time, time, time ... keep it on your side! Different Gyokuro require different times, but also changing parameters such as how much leaf or temp can also effect how long you should brew.

For successive steeps, I typically recommend increasing temp by around 10* F for each successive steep, bu=y the end boiling water is even fine!. 2nd steep is SHORT, 15-30 seconds. 3rd, 60 ... etc. . 2nd steep is SHORT, 15-30 seconds. 3rd, 60 ... etc.

Depending on how well I feel the tea is doing (and smelling in the Kyusu ... this tell me if it still has life worth redeeming), I will go 5 or more steeps. Albeit, by the end it is basically sweet tea water, but I enjoy it.

AND now some specifics. I will first share the vendors' recommendations ... and then mine (which are always right :wink: ). You will see that mine do not always agree with the vendors'. Keep this in mind, sometimes the vendors are sharing recommendations with novices in mind. Some may be sharing according to Japanese intense tastes. It is a mad mad world when trying to decipher what to do ...

My recommendations are based upon many members' inputs over the years as well as my personal experience with Gyokuro and these specific selections! My recommendations are usually somewhere in the middle of road. Definitely not novice and not quite up to the Japanese tastes. "Western" with a capital "W" for hopefully utterances such as WOW and WHOA! :mrgreen:




1. Zencha's recommendations for Zencha Gyokuro the Ultimate
Brewing tips (for one person)
Amount of Tealeaves: 5g.
Amount of Water: 30cc / 1oz
Water Temperature: 40-50C / 104-122F
Steep: 2 minutes

My recommendations. I find this one is particular about temp!!! So, 105-110* (a little over 50* C) worked best for me. 2.5 grams per ounce water (30 ml). So, if brewing two ounces, you would use exactly half of your sample. Brew for 60 seconds or so. This one is a mid steamed selection and I liked it with slightly shorter steeps.


2. Maiko's long recommendations for Yamashita Jirushi
http://www.maiko.ne.jp/english/gyokuro.htm

My recommendations. I liked this one with 2.5 grams per ounce brewed at 130-140* for 90 seconds.

3. O-Cha's recommedations for Gyoku-Hou
Recommended Brew Temp 140F / 60C
Recommended Brew Time 2.0 minutes
Recommended Leaf to Water Ratio 1.0g per 1oz (30ml) water
Notes Pre-heat all vessels, brew with care!

My recommedations. 2.5 grams per 1 ounce. 130* for 90 seconds.

4. Den's recommendations for Suimei
Water: 2oz @ 140F
Leaves: 2 grams or 1 rounded teaspoon
Steep: 150 sec
2nd Cup: Water @ 160F; Steep 60 sec

My recommendations. 2:1, so 4 grams per 2 ounces, though if trying to use up the 10 gram sample, one could brew 2.5 ounces and 5 grams. I am cooler than Den's recommendation, though I am still playing around with the temps. Den's says 140*, I am saying 120*, maybe even cooler.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 15:47

OTTI Rating guide will be posted here.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 15:48

For those doing this OTTI and NOTTI 2, you will be able to deduct 5% from your total, due to shipping savings!

YOU MUST DO BOTH FOR THIS DISCOUNT!
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 15:48

This topic is open for previewing, but locked. I will open the topic for comments and questions at 6 pm Eastern USA time TODAY.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 18:39

... tick tock, the topics go live in 21 minutes at which time the topics will be unlocked!
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 19:00

... and we are live here, too! 8)
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby BioHorn » Feb 10th, '13, 19:07

email sent! This will be a fun one! Thanks, Chip!
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby JRS22 » Feb 10th, '13, 19:09

Email sent!
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 19:10

Got it!

A brisk start ... now a lull. 8) Some new faces at the virtual TeaChat TeaTastingTable. And still plenty of room!

I should have mentioned ... if you are doing both NOTTI and OTTI, add both the your email subject. If you did not, don't worry, I will figure it out.

Also, if you emailed your participation for one, you can add the other tasting in another email.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 19:13

........... is there an echo echo echo ...
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Running for Tea » Feb 10th, '13, 19:43

About to email. How should I indicate a 2x? Would the subject line or within the email be easier?
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Feb 10th, '13, 19:48

Definitely in the text of the email. However you can also include it in the subject. But definitely in the text.

Thanks.
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