OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

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

Postby debunix » Jun 30th, '10, 01:22

Green Tea Lover's Oishi Ichibancha
4.5g in 5 oz kyusu, 160°, 35 seconds
sweet, light, vegetal but also toasted, perhaps a little too light.
2nd infusion 160°, 30 seconds, much greener, stronger flavor, with astringency and some bitterness; did not finish this infusion
3rd infusion same temp, same time, same color, mellower taste, bitterness basically gone, sweet, mellow, warm, but also almost none of the toasty flavor of the first infusion either. Much better. 4th is similar--sweet, a little light, no bitterness, lovely.

Clearly need to decrease that 2nd infusion a lot, to spread that bitterness out over several infusions. Other than the 2nd infusion, this is just wonderfully to my taste, light and sweet and delicately vegetal.

Got a nice 5th infusion too, but the kettle is empty now. Sigh.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 30th, '10, 01:44

Chip wrote:
Glad you really liked the YM Supreme Entropy and that we could share this long overdue shincha experience! Be careful, sencha really can give you cravings! But it is so good, sounds like you are a natural at brewing it!!!


It could be my teapot helping a bit, glass seems to take a lot of heat out quickly then holds it at nearly the same temp a long time...could be more forgiving for brewing greens than a clay kyusu? It´s about the same size as a smallish kyusu too..250ml :) These deep steamed teas sure look cool in a glass pot...like radioactive green :mrgreen:

I´m learning the cravings part xD
though I´ve experienced that before with well roasted oolongs I went through my special roast dong ding and TKY from floating leaves tea really fast because of roasted oolong cravings!
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jun 30th, '10, 16:21

Trying the Green Tea Leavers Kagoshima Sincha today

It´s quite a bit different from the others I´ve tried so far lots of umami and the first one I´ve detected a touch of bitterness in, though it was the pleasant kind. Also there was a bit of mouth drying astringency.

Is this one not as deeply steamed as some of the others? Or is it the varietals that give it a different flavour?
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jun 30th, '10, 21:04

Most likely varietals are coming into play for you. Yutaka Midori for instance is a varietal. The GTL is one that I do not know the varietal, but doubt it is YM ... but seems like it is more than just Yabukita.

YM means abundantly green in Japanese btw ...
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby debunix » Jul 1st, '10, 00:39

2nd time, only 3g left of O-Cha Sae Midori, using 3 oz 160° water, 30" to start. Very nice, light, delicately floral/vegetal, hints of vanilla melon. Perhaps a little too light, but much nicer than the first infusion: not sure what was so much better this time, because the water temp was the same, and the infusion was only slightly shorter, but the umami that seemed too strong the first time around is quite absent right now.

2nd infusion at 20 seconds had stronger umami but still in nice proportion to the sweet, and was much deeper green. Third at 30 seconds again is equally dark green, strong sweetness and mild umami, delicious. 4th is still sweet, umami, delicious, and a bit lighter green, a longer infusion after I accidentally added too much water.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby nickE » Jul 1st, '10, 01:37

Time for a review of... Den's Houryoku!

The leaves warming in the pot give off a deep mouthwatering veggie smell. Leaves are very dark green with some dust (due to steaming I think).

1st steep, 160F, 40s, .9:1 ratio. I taste lots of asparagus here, along with a sweetness in the back of my mouth. NO bitterness for this steep. Also some light mint notes rounded out by a subtle umami.

2nd steep, 170F, 25s. The soup deepens to be dark green & cloudy. The flavor is much more intense and bitter. Thick & full mouthfeel. Some sweetness compliments the bitterness nicely. This was my favorite steep.

3rd steep, 175F, 60s. Lots sweeter now, still some green veggies but less bitterness. Flavor is holding up well. A bit of sourness stays on the tongue for a while.

4-5th steep, 120s+ The next 2 infusions were surprisingly still nice. Much less flavor, but I enjoyed them and I appreciate the legs that this tea has.

Overall, I definitely liked this. It was not my favorite so far but I would not regretting buying it myself.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 1st, '10, 17:25

Trying Maiko´s sincha sencha today...dry leaf aroma was really nice sweet and salty so I was kind of expecting more from it than I got in the cup...maybe more leaf would have helped I´m not sure...can´t really try since I used half of it. Was pleasant kind of a seaweed paper taste...salty and umami and a bit vegetal...smoother than I normally like and a bit weak. Overall I think pleasant but not very exciting.

Seems like this is my first lightly steamed sencha...would like to try a bit higher grade sometime since this seems like it was one of Maiko´s budget offerings.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Dreamer » Jul 1st, '10, 20:32

Time for another OTTI sincha.
This time I picked Den's Houryoku.
Dry leaf has lots of big pieces and is a dark green color.
I am not used to noticing a lot about the dry leaf of Japanese
greens, so I missed noting that on the last one I tried.

1st steep - Wow! Lots of aroma! Very clear brew with only a few
bits making it into my cup. I was expecting a HUGE flavor to match
the aroma...but not. I got very little flavor. It does, however,
have a very nice mouth feel.

2nd steep - Still lots of aroma and this cup was much greener, but
still not much flavor for me. Still has a very nice mouth feel.

3rd steep - I used less water this time. Unfortunately, I forgot to
weigh the tea when I started...I used my default teaspoon (which is
about 3 grams) to about 4 ounces of water. For this steep I knocked
the water down to probably about 2 ounces. The aroma and mouth feel
are both still there, but I still didn't get much flavor.

I am enjoying this tea...something about the strong aroma and the
smooth easy mouth feel make it very comforting to me. I also think
this tea would be great for a someone just starting to drink Japanese
green tea...I don't think it can be messed up! Unfortunately,
I can't find this tea on Den's website, so I don't know if the
pricing lines up with the value.

I'm loving trying all these teas!!!!!!

Happy tasting,
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 1st, '10, 20:43

Moving onto the last sample...this one is the bonus I think....Green Tea Lover´s Oishi Ichiban

It has a very nice sweet and vegetal aroma but in the cup it´s not very sweet being more astringent and vegetal...seems like a good tea but is more grassy-vegetal than I really like.

overall...in order of preference

Yutaka Midori Kaoru Supreme LE by far my favourite with so much buttery sweetness this one is very addictive! - A+

Den´s Houryoku sweet and salty seaweed flavours very yummy and addictive like the YM - A

O-Cha Sae Midori green herbs and lots umami very tasty! - A

Green Tea Lovers Kagoshima Sincha lots of umami and a bit of bitterness and astringency giving it some edge very enjoyable B+

Maiko Sincha Sencha yummy taste reminds me a lot of seaweed paper used in sushi rolls (which I think is a pretty tasty snack on it´s own) and the dry leaf aroma is lovely. Only thing is it seems a bit simple in the cup so it doesn´t excite like my top 3 - B-

Green Tea Lovers Oishi Ichiban this tea I can recognize as being good quality but doesn´t match my tastes very well, it´s too grassy tasting for me. Not going to assign a grade

Thank you Chip for running the OTTI I´ve had a lot of fun with it and had a chance to try a new genre of tea and learn a bit about what to look for in sencha to match my tastes ^_^

Will be ordering the two from O-cha for sure! (need moar YM Supreme! :mrgreen: ) and will remember the other vendors as possibilities for the future :)
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby debunix » Jul 1st, '10, 21:59

The Den's Kunpu today: 4 grams of tea, sweet and wonderful smelling, into preheated kyusu with 160° water, about 4 oz, 30", first infusion mild umami, not very sweet, delicate, probably the water was cooler than it was supposed to be--I lost track for a moment as I was getting ready to add the tea.

2nd infusion was 25 seconds, meant for shorter, oops, then diluted it about 50% and got a nicer cup--had been too strongly umami and a bit astringent, and the diluted version is more like a perfect shorter infusion. It has a richer and better sweet/vegetal/umami balance than the first infusion. Nice legs through a 4th and 5th infusion, although the 5th is getting a bit soft.

I'm finding that I can figure out a way to make nearly all of these teas delicious, and having trouble prioritizing them.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 2nd, '10, 00:52

Even I didn´t really like the grassy taste of the Oishi Ichiban I went through 3 infusions of it...it had something pulling me through...the umami maybe? or the astringency?
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby brian » Jul 2nd, '10, 12:43

nickE wrote:Still to come:
    YM Supreme LE (saving this for last :lol: )

As did I! Ijust had it this morning. Brewing for 2, 8 g. leaf, 9 oz. water, pre-heated kyusu.

1st infusion 158F 40s (following Chip's suggestion). Medium green color, cloudy and a bit of sediment, typical deeply colored fuka. Wow, rich umami and "soup broth", really impressive full flavored first infusion. I liked this a lot.

2nd infusion 163F 20s. Thick cloudy rich green. Very similar to first infusion but even bigger and more powerful. A hint of bitterness adds character. Delicious.

3rd, 165F 40s. Color similar to first. Wow, it thinned out quite a bit and more bitterness coming through this time. Not bad, but after the first two I was really expecting another killer infusion and it let me down a little.

4th, 165 90s. Nice mellow cup, still good color (and pretty clear with a careful pour), this tastes like the first two infusions except really toned down. It's making me think maybe I was a bit hard on the 3rd infusion.

I liked this tea a lot. Very rich and full, if you like a heavy umami this is your tea. With some of the other teas I get a more artichoke character with the umami, this one reminded me more of soup stock, almost meaty. caveat -- this may have been power of suggestion, somebody (Chip?) suggested soup in their tasting notes earlier and they may have had me thinking along those lines. Two really excellent infusions, third not so sure, and 4th was a nice ending.
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby brian » Jul 2nd, '10, 13:06

Completed my Shicha OTTI this morning. I had the Maeda-en Shincha Gold during the week, I was pretty busy and brewed it pretty casually, didn't pay it the attention of the others. My recollection is that is was a good, easy brewing, easy drinking tea, but didn't stand out for me.

My top teas were the Maiko Kinari and the O-Cha YM Kaoru LE. The Kinari is very good value, I bought more of that one. I checked the O-Cha this morning, it's out of stock, probably good thing as I have a pretty good stash of Japanese green now and really don't need to buy more. For me, the Den's teas were good but not great, although I may have thought more of the asamushi if I had brewed it properly.

Still holding onto the bonus Happy Tea genmaicha for when I'm in the mood. Next, I need to get busy on the oolong OTTI, which has been waiting while I drank my way through the shinchas!
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby Chip » Jul 2nd, '10, 13:09

Thanks debunix, nickE, Entropy, Dreamer and Brian for your excellent comments.

Entropy, yeah the Shincha Sencha from Maiko is an entry level asamushi, actually an exceptional buy, though certainly not bangin' like a higher end one. Like most teas, you certainly have to take into account the price and the resulting value. Often a cheap tea is a bad value in my mind ... especially if it is bad. But this one is a pretty good value.

HAH, no surprises about the YM Supreme, that stuff is like crack, so be careful kiddies!

Brian, have the Happy Tea when you are not in the mood, perhaps!!! :mrgreen:
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Re: OTTI 2010 Round 1 ShinCHAAA ... and Reviews!

Postby entropyembrace » Jul 2nd, '10, 13:29

yes I noticed the Maiko sincha sencha is a value tea, it´s certainly good for what it is :)
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