OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby virago_ns » Jun 26th, '10, 10:19

Just got my Shinchas today. 1st one to brew is Den's Kunpu. It's quite mellow and I get a bit of a minty after taste. I brewed it north american style with an infuser basket in a porcelain 18oz pot. It's how I brew most my teas and to get a fair comparison I thought consistency best.
170 deg at 3 mins gave a nice cup. 2nd infusion was 4 mins at the same temp, another beautiful mellow cup. By the 3rd infusion it started to weaken, but still had it's mild grassy flavour.
This is my 1st Shincha from Den's and I'm quite pleased with Chip's selection. I didn't give any choices because I wanted them to be a surprise. Thanks for the tea Chip! :D
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jun 26th, '10, 11:14

Chicago Potter, it worked out that the samples were 7.8-8 grams each which used up every last bit of leaf. :mrgreen:

Thanks for posting the reviews/comments Debunix, CP, and Virago! Glad to see our northern neighbors are finally getting their teas!

I have copied the general directions that are in topic (and as a result getting lost to participants) and am placing them in the OP (original post) for this topic! Thus they will be easy to find instead of lost in pages and pages of posts.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Jun 26th, '10, 12:00

I've been waylayed from drinking tea by life. Back at it this weekend...

2010 Maeda-en Shincha Gold

With Maeda-en being the only tea company whose shincha I have tried before, it is possible that I carry some loaded expectations about what their tea may be like. Especially considering how much I enjoyed my first O-Cha and how different the second O-Cha was, perhaps I’m heading into these back-to-back Maeda-en sessions with some notion that they may not live up to my O-Cha experiences. Also, I’m not 100% convinced that this tea, the “Gold”, is not the same as the “88th night“, the description for which mentions being formerly called “Select Gold”. I’ll find out soon enough, as it’s next.

The leaves spill out onto paper with a neat blend of moderately small needles and quite a few particles, the apparent result of fukamushi steaming. Warm and in the pot, they glow with briny ocean delight. The first steep smells of light florals, pollen, and some faint plant-like mustiness. In the mouth, the texture is very soft, near-cotton and linen-like. This is pleasing, but the flavor composition is touch duller, with the average blend of kelp, melon starch, and maybe an edge of asparagus. There’s a bright sparkling glow of pepper-y spice right on the front of the tongue.

The second and third steeps yield greener, murkier soups, but fade on the flavor depth, as expected. I absolutely adore the soft textile texture that lingers in the back of the throat, but wish it was paired up with a wee bit more flavor complexity to hold the palate’s interest. Nonetheless, solid, well-handled quality leaves, in my opinion.

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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby woozl » Jun 26th, '10, 12:48

Fist sincha, thanks chip.
o'cha ym classic.
5 G, 7 oz.,155 F , for 30 sec.
and 45 sec. on 2nd.

very aromatic buttery spring veggie smell.
just the right amount of grip and a lemony bite.
going for another infusion now...
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Jun 26th, '10, 13:02

2010 Maeda-en Shincha Hachijyuhachiya (88th Night). Yum.

Whether or not this was in fact a different tea than the 2010 Maeda-en Shincha Gold, it did taste significantly different (and better!) to me. It is possible, though, that my palate had adjusted to some of the characters in the first tea, now able to plumb the depths of the following tea in greater detail. Or it was just better.

In the warmed houhin, a blast furnace of ocean brine and kelp, rich and detailed. The flavors blossom in delightful theanine sweetness, strong, with an initial flavor profile holding great honeydew and muskmelon, bright hothouse cucumber skin, and some faint herbals. It finished out with delicate grassiness that rounded the cup and the strong sweetness so potent in the first meeting of tongue and tea.

The second and third steeps held unique qualities of their own, with the second bringing a strong herbal mint character that gave both flavor and a crisp cooling sensation to the lips and back of the throat. For the third steep, the ocean rolled out and it became low tide, with intense oceanic brine and kelp, some intertidal mud, and some bristled sandworms, all coming on quite strong. I found this tea much more complex than the previous one, with an even more dazzling array of enjoyable textures and sensations. I don’t think I hold it in as high a regard as the 2010 O-Cha Sae Midori, but it’s a very close and very pleasant second.

I thought the leaves from this tea looked a little bit more peculiar than others I’ve inspected. They had a leathery appearance and some artificial-looking green colors. I’m not saying there’s anything artificial about this tea, just that the greens were stunningly odd.

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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby debunix » Jun 26th, '10, 14:02

O-Cha Sae Midori, 4g to 4 oz water at 156 degrees (measured in the gaiwan). Very umami and not so sweet, strongly vegetal. Very finely broken leaf.

And whacked the gaiwan with the side of my hand, so there were no 2nd, 3rd or 4th infusions. Very sad!

Decided to take that as a sign and tried another:

Maiko Shincha Sencha leaves are impressively sweet smelling, longer needles than most. Used 4 g in 4 oz water, at 160 in a preheated kyusu.
I was pretty sure 90 seconds as recommended would be way too long, and I was right. Tried a sip at 30" and it was too light/dilute; waited for 60 seconds and it is very strong umami, not overtly sweet, quite briny. 2nd infusion 170° 20" is lighter, sweeter, more vegetal and less briny: more pleasing to me. The water cooled to 144 for the 3rd infusion, longer again at about 60 seconds, much like the 2nd, a bit softer/lighter, still very nice. 4th infusion, reheated the water up to 180 degrees, 45 sec, getting a little stronger sweet again, very nice.

When I do this one again, I will try the first for 40 seconds and see if that is my personal 'sweet spot' for this tea.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jun 26th, '10, 22:13

YAY! Reviews! Thanks the_skua, woozl, and debunix! :mrgreen:
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby nickE » Jun 26th, '10, 22:32

Here's a quick review of the Yutaka Midori Classic from O-Cha.

The dry leaves were a deep, forest green. Mostly needles but some dust. The leaves warming in the preheated gaiwan give off a strong but sweet veggie smell.

1st steep, 160F, 40s, .9:1 ratio. The liquor is a cloudy light green, smells grassy. Soft, sweet, with a thick mouthfeel. Lots of veggie countered by a heavy sweetness ending with savory notes, quite mouthwatering.

2nd steep, 170F, 20s. The color is now an even deeper green, more cloudy too. Some marine in this steep, also big on the savory notes. Very slight bitterness, not unpleasant.

3rd steep, 180F, 60s. Much lighter now, sweet vegetal notes, some umami still hanging on.

Overall, I loved this tea. I would certainly buy it myself in the future. :D
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Jun 27th, '10, 12:06

Some final thoughts on the group of teas I received (since the bonus tea, Happy Tea Shiawasecha was so different, I'll be reviewing it separately).

Yesterday and this morning, I finished my reviews of the teas in this tasting set. I added a tea that was not included in the tasting, 2010 Maeda-en Shincha Select, because I had it in my possession, it fit right in, and I wanted to see how it compared to the others under the same brewing guidelines.

Follows is my ranking of the six in the set, with my Steepster scores (out of 100) in parentheses for a quantitative baseline. It was a close group. O-Cha Sae Midori was the one far and away stand out for me, and the Green Tea Lovers seemed both markedly different from the pack and somewhat lesser in quality, so it’s hard to judge where it really stands. Drum roll please…

1. O-Cha Sae Midori (94)

2. Maeda-en 88 Nights (92)

3. O-Cha Yutaka Midori Kaoru Supreme LE (82)

4. Maeda-en Select (82)

5. Maeda-en Gold (77)

6. Green Tea Lovers Kagoshima Shincha (79)

I would also like to add that as a data geek, O-Cha’s website really added to my enjoyment by providing detailed sourcing, processing, and origin information. It made for a richer experience overall.

It was a nice set of teas and I think I was able to expand my appreciation of Japanese greens, by tasting a wider variety of flavor compositions and textures. Many thanks to Chip for organizing this event. It’s been wonderful.

Tonight, I’ll be combining the sometimes sterile and repetitive photos I took of each tea into a hopefully more interesting visual meta-analysis. Keep an eye out.

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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby the_skua » Jun 28th, '10, 11:39

My thoughts on the Maiko Happy Tea Shiawasecha. Fun!

What a soft, sweet and pleasing cup of tea. I was honestly quite surprised. I had assumed that it may just have too much going on for it, but really it melds together with nice softness and sweetness. The rice is not overbearing, but well-balanced in the profile, adding a delightful toasty note to the green sweetness from the matcha and the extra kick of kombu, which acts to deepen the kelpier flavors of the green tea beneath, which alone, I think might come across as quite and understated in this example.

Satisfying, hearty and fun and seemingly versatile. I think this would pair very well with a lot of umami-forward foods and fish fat. Thanks Chip for throwing this in!
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jun 28th, '10, 14:06

Thank you the_skue and nickE for sharing your reviews with us.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 28th, '10, 14:17

Sincha arrived safe :D Will be trying some after brunch :)
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 28th, '10, 15:02

picked randomly one to try it was the Kagoshima Sencha Yutaka Midori "Kaoru Supreme LE"

Impressions from the first infusion...

Dry leaves aroma very sweet and appealing :)
Wet leaves aroma almost the same but a bit more vegetal...kind of like asparagus cooking
aroma in the cup...buttery green veggies : )::...
taste...very sweet and buttery and a bit vegetal...very moreish :D
feeling from the tea is very energizing and warming :)

my brewing method wasn´t very precise...I brewed in a 250ml glass pot with no filter using about half the sample...water was simmering not boiling and I didn´t time the infusion...was basically the length of time it took me to move from kitchen to my bedroom where the computer is.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Geekgirl » Jun 28th, '10, 15:55

This morning/afternoon: O'cha's YM Kaoru Supreme. ahgllllbbppg. MOAR!

(will edit with pics later once I've recovered from the tea-coma.)
:lol:
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jun 28th, '10, 15:59

The directions clearly stated to sit before shmellin' the YM Supreme!!! Any injuries incurred while not adhering this warning are on you guys! :mrgreen:

Thanks as always for posting your reviews!
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