Shizuoka Red


Fully oxidized tea leaves for a robust cup.

Shizuoka Red

Postby brlarson » Sep 24th, '10, 21:00

[ I included this over in TeaDay, but it really belongs here. ]

I received a sample of Shizuokan Red from Tea Gallery. They aren't offering it on their web site, but presumably they will offer it soon.

The dry leaf smelled like damp earth with a touch of hay and hint of radish, and when I placed the leaf into a pre-warmed pot the scent of steamed yellow squash poured out.

I brewed 3 grams of leaf with 4oz of water at 205F in a porcelain pot for 30 seconds. I initially got more steamed squash in the palate, but this grew into full-flavored zucchini or perhaps okra. This tea has good breadth on the palate yet is light on the tongue with most of its flavors along the sides of the tongue rather than in the middle of the palate.

2nd infusion was for 45 seconds. The scent and taste was more like a Yunnan black, fuller body with a loose earthiness, but it still had undertones of yellow squash!

3rd infusion at 60 seconds started to lose is vegetal character and overall flavor started to diminish, but it retained general qualities of black tea.

My overall impression is of a very pleasant black (red) tea with a good measure of caffeine -- its tannins won't make you pucker but it will keep your eyes open, which could make it a good morning tea.
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby Tead Off » Sep 25th, '10, 00:39

Zucchini and Okra. Huh. The only Okra I like are usually cooked in some kind of chili sauce be it Hunnan or and Indian Curry. But, I take it that this is not what you tasted. It sounds like the tea was not very impressive to you and doesn't exhibit the floral and malty flavors that most red teas have. Am I misreading you?
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby tortoise » Sep 25th, '10, 09:40

Sounds great to me. Thanks for the review!
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby brlarson » Sep 25th, '10, 11:45

Tead Off wrote:Zucchini and Okra. Huh. The only Okra I like are usually cooked in some kind of chili sauce be it Hunnan or and Indian Curry.


I was trying to describe the progression of the flavor from thin and mellow to full-flavored with some backbone and developing a slightly bitter quality that was very green. Cucumbers that stay too long on the vine develop a similar ``green'' taste. I have had some squashes/zucchinis/okra where this ``green'' quality was more concentrated, pungent, and slighty bitter. That's what I was trying to describe. Keep in mind that this ``green'' taste was the second stage in the progression of the flavor which did continue to transform until it became very much like tippy, black Yunnans I have had, but without the pepper.

Tead Off wrote:But, I take it that this is not what you tasted. It sounds like the tea was not very impressive to you and doesn't exhibit the floral and malty flavors that most red teas have. Am I misreading you?


I did like the tea, but it was very different at the beginning of the session and it transformed nearer to a traditional black tea by the end of the session.

I stated the brewing environment and all brewing parameters because I had no guidance about how to brew it and so I tried something safe for my first attempt -- high leaf ratio with short infusion time. I have enough of this sample remaining to have one more session. Next time I will start with a longer steeping time, probably 60 seconds, and I suspect this will produce a more Yunnan-like black right from the start.

Again, let me clearly state that I did enjoy this tea and I will buy some when it is available.
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby Tead Off » Sep 25th, '10, 13:57

More clear now. I loved the descriptions. I don't seem to be able to describe teas with such flair and accuracy. I've found that I prefer black teas brewed English style for 2-3 minutes depending on the tea. They seem to open up much more this way than gongfu brewing.
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby britt » Sep 25th, '10, 17:41

The only Japanese black (red) tea that I've had is from Makurazaki in the Kagoshima prefecture. It was a pretty mellow tea that I brewed the conventional way and was very pleased with. I found that it's astringency could be increased by bringing the water temp from 195 to 208 but the tea still retained an overall sweetness that I really liked.
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby brlarson » Sep 25th, '10, 19:20

This was my first experience with Japanese red tea. If Tea Gallery decides to sell it, I plan to pick up enough so I can really poke it.
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby AdamMY » Sep 25th, '10, 19:55

Not sure when it went up as I thought I saw it before you orginially posted this, but it is on the tea galleries site:

http://www.theteagallery.com/Shizuoka_Red_p/r-shizuoka.htm
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby brlarson » Sep 25th, '10, 20:25

Whoa! I searched their site yesterday before I brewed their sample. Thanks for the pointer Adam.
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Re: Shizuoka Red

Postby Chip » Sep 26th, '10, 01:54

Sounds very interesting brlarson! Thanks for sharing it with us.
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