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Postby sygyzy » May 1st, '07, 03:28

Chip, I am ordering the Midori you recommended. Any tips on a good gyokuro, either from O-Cha or elsewhere?

Thanks.
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Postby Chip » May 1st, '07, 14:26

Hey sygyzy,

I only hope the yutaka midori is as good as last year. Remember, it is shincha, so brew times are usually reduced a little. 168-170* seems about right for me.

Geez, I have been so focused on this years shincha, that I have not been paying much attention to gyokuro. You cannot go wrong with O-Cha's. Just make sure you get it from a vendor who knows what they are doing when it comes to Japanese teas :wink: And make sure it is from UJI...or maybe Yame.

I was reading your blog by the way. Good stuff. I read your Perfect Cup entry. You have a lot of the equipment to brew great Japanese tea...the scale, timer, and now kyusu.

Just remember that Japanese sencha is brewed quite differently than English style, 2.25 grams per 6 oz. I was stuck on these numbers for a while and wondered why I could not make good sencha...or other greens for that matter. I now use around 4.25 grams per 200 ml for most sencha. Times vary depending on which sencha. If that sounds like too big a jump for you, I worked my way up to that level by trial and error. You should experiment a little. Just a suggestion, ok!?!
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Postby sygyzy » May 2nd, '07, 17:36

Hi Chip,

Thanks again for your wonderfully informative response. I wrote the article as a general rule. I know there are variations for white or green teas. I use 4.5oz per 8 oz cup and it works out for me. When I have odd sized vessels, like my Tokoname pot (9.6 oz), I tend to err on the side of caution. Underbrewing tea is still quite fine with me, but overbrewing is just terrible.

I've been doing sencha at about 180. I will make sure to reduce shincha down. I do Gyukuro at 130 for 2.5 mins. Works out just fine.

Thanks for all the tips. I will revise the article to add a note about green tea.
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Question about Chinese Greens

Postby samtuba » May 9th, '07, 15:04

Hi Chip and everyone else,

Back to Chinese Green Teas. I just purchased a few 25g samples from Teaspring.

Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun

Lion Xi Hu Long Jing

Lu An Gua Pian

I am still awaiting their arrival, but since they are just samples I would like some suggestions on temperatures and steeping times. Chip, I know you have some experience with the Lion Long Jing. Thanks, I've already learned quite a bit from this topic!
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Re: Question about Chinese Greens

Postby Chip » May 9th, '07, 20:06

samtuba wrote:Hi Chip and everyone else,

Back to Chinese Green Teas. I just purchased a few 25g samples from Teaspring.

Dong Ting Bi Luo Chun

Lion Xi Hu Long Jing

Lu An Gua Pian

I am still awaiting their arrival, but since they are just samples I would like some suggestions on temperatures and steeping times. Chip, I know you have some experience with the Lion Long Jing. Thanks, I've already learned quite a bit from this topic!


Hi Samtuba,
The Lion is great LJ. I brew it at 170*, 4 grams per 200 ml for 1-3 min depending on my mood. If you do not have a scale, it is a light weight leaf, so a good 2 rounded to heaping teaspoons per 200 ml. Keep in mind, this is not a very strong green tea, but light and pure...just very nice. I usually get 3-5 steeps from this LJ.

The Lu An is much more robust and can be overbrewed if not a little careful. Similar parameters, but less weight of leaf, but more leaf by volume as this is a very fluffy tea. I like how you can manipulate the parameters with this leaf and get a totally different brew...from floral to strongly vegetal.

Read the brewing guide for the bi lo chun as this is a very different way to brew but it works for this green very well.

I hope this helps...but be prepared to experiment a little to find the perfect cup for your tastes.
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Postby Chip » May 9th, '07, 20:13

sygyzy wrote:Hi Chip,

Thanks again for your wonderfully informative response. I wrote the article as a general rule. I know there are variations for white or green teas. I use 4.5oz per 8 oz cup and it works out for me. When I have odd sized vessels, like my Tokoname pot (9.6 oz), I tend to err on the side of caution. Underbrewing tea is still quite fine with me, but overbrewing is just terrible.

I've been doing sencha at about 180. I will make sure to reduce shincha down. I do Gyukuro at 130 for 2.5 mins. Works out just fine.

Thanks for all the tips. I will revise the article to add a note about green tea.


You are welcome! Your parameters are pretty good, but definately a little cooler for good sencha. Depending on the sencha, 168-176*. I like more aroma, so I actually err on the hot side. More heat = more aroma. Less heat = sweeter flavor. I just love aroma but it can bring the astringency to the surphase if not careful.
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Postby Space Samurai » May 9th, '07, 21:36

chip wrote:You are welcome! Your parameters are pretty good, but definately a little cooler for good sencha. Depending on the sencha, 168-176*. I like more aroma, so I actually err on the hot side. More heat = more aroma. Less heat = sweeter flavor. I just love aroma but it can bring the astringency to the surphase if not careful.


I didn't know that, thanks Chip.
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Postby Chip » May 10th, '07, 01:06

You are quite welcome. But Space, I am not always right though. Case and point, I wrote earlier in this thread that all gyokuro is aged around 6 months before becoming available.

Well, I found 2 Japanese sites apparently selling shincha gyokuro. To be honest, I think this is a marketing gimmick. Besides that, sell it now, and they do not have to hold onto inventory for 6 months.

But I am not buying into this. I will buy aged gyokuro from vendors I trust.
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Postby sygyzy » May 10th, '07, 17:15

My Yukata Midori Shincha just arrived. Quick, someone help me out.

How much should I use? I know the temps should be 168-176.

How long? 2.5 minutes?

Should it be refrigerated?

I also got some Matcha. Does it need to be refrigerated?

Edit: Well, I am going with 3.6 grams for a 9oz tokoname, with temps of 168F for 1.5 mins. Let's hope this works
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Postby Chip » May 10th, '07, 17:56

sygyzy wrote:My Yukata Midori Shincha just arrived. Quick, someone help me out.

How much should I use? I know the temps should be 168-176.

How long? 2.5 minutes?

Should it be refrigerated?

I also got some Matcha. Does it need to be refrigerated?


Take a deep breath...

Mine arrived today also. I use 4.25 gr per 200 ml, as I mentioned above. Temp, try 168-170 to start for 1.5 minutes. Adjust to taste. This is pretty much what I did with my last bag of YM, but I have not tried it with the shincha. I may not open it for several weeks til i finish my Hatsumi. Until then I will store it in the fridge.

It is very complicated storing open tea in the fridge, and a little risky. I pull it off though, but most vendors shudder at the notion. I use a small tin (sample tin from Upton) for my everyday use, and bundle the reserve up to prevent loss of flavor. The tin I do not put in the fridge. The reserve I do, but do this at your own risk. If you do not store it in the fridge, once open, use your sencha within 1-2 months.

Remember also, when you take tea out of the fridge, allow the entire contents to warm to room temp so when you open it, moisture does not condence on your leaves.

Matcha, until you are ready to use it, store it in the fridge. Once open, it is too much of a pain to store in fridge because you have to allow it to warm to room temp each time you open the tin. Just use it in 60 days.

One more thing, before I put tea in fridge for cold storage, I always add some layers to it. Foil zip bags that vendors like Upton use are great for this, but in a pinch, use zip locks.
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Postby sygyzy » May 10th, '07, 18:24

Well, I just finished my second brew (same set of leaves) and am starting on my third. I should mention at this time that I think three's the limit for this tea. I am usually not a fan of multiple infusions anyway, but the flavor is so intense with the Shincha that I'm ok with it.

I brewed it at the aforementioned measurements and I used a Tokoname water cooler and teapot (9 oz).

I poured it into two 3 oz japanese tea cups (prewarmed) and the remainder into the cooler. The first sip was amazing. Perfectly brewed and a very distinct japanese green tea flavor. I think they should give "that" flavor a special name. I've never been good at describing it. Sort of a seaweed/ocean air flavor. My friend had the second cup and I tried drinking the remainder from the cooler.

I did this three times and each time the remainder was undrinkable. It's terrible. I guess the mesh in my teapot was not fine enough because the last pour gets the fine specks of tea. I wish this wasn't the case because essentially, for every 9 oz brewed, I can only drink 2/3 of it.

I kept the temp and times the same with each infusion. Do you have any suggestions on changing this Chip?

I don't think I will change my methods, except to possibly play with lowering the temp a bit to low 160's.
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Postby Chip » May 10th, '07, 18:37

The only major thing I would change is trying to equalize the entire infusion. Try either pouring it all into the cooler. Or if you really want to pour into cups, start with less water, just enough for both cups, and going from cup to cup, back and forth til it is all poured.

I personally like pouring into my cooler/pitcher because it is glass, sencha looks very cool in a glass pitcher, especially YM. But also, this just works for me. That is the important thing, finding your personal tea ceremony that works for you!!! :wink:

Once it is in the pitcher I can also swirl it to be certain it is all mixed!!!
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Postby sygyzy » May 10th, '07, 18:47

Chip

I am embarassed to say I know of the method you descirbe. It's used by Chinese tea ceremony people to make sure each teacup has the same color.

I don't know why I didn't think to apply it to Shincha brewing.

Thanks again!
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Postby Chip » May 10th, '07, 19:14

I am glad I could help.

Sencha is one of the most misunderstood teas in America. I think perhaps because for so long, the only sencha to make it to our shores was total crap.

But now, we have access to some of the best sencha Japan has to offer, it is a great day to be a fan of sencha...or Japanese tea in general.

So, enjoy your shincha YM, let me know how you make out. It is an incredible sencha, I just do not want to have too much shincha open at once. I already have 2 open. The YM is such a refreshing sencha, I can't wait.
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Postby sygyzy » May 10th, '07, 19:32

I am somewhat irreponsible when it comes to tea inventory. Right now I can see at least 3 dozen containers of tea that are "open." They are in airtight containers, but they are all out of factory sealed bags. I like being able to choose from different teas. I don't think I could stand having a tea I waited for for so long (Midori Shincha) just sitting there while I hurriedly finished the other teas before I got to it.

You seem pretty hardcore with your separation of small batches, refrigeration, etc.
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