sencha brewing tips


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sencha brewing tips

Postby m147 » May 23rd, '11, 20:34

hi all. how do you brew your sencha?

water
water quantity
tea quantity
steep time

thanks
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby tortoise » May 24th, '11, 10:57

Good question.

I use filtered tap water.
For asamushi (light steamed) I use 1 gram of leaf per ounce of water and brew it at 150-155f for 1 minute. This usually yields pretty consistent results. Second steep for 30 seconds at same temp, then add a little time to successive steeps. It's funny, I always cross measuring systems when brewing sencha, but usually go metric with everything else. I guess I've stuck with how I learned it.

For fukamushi, I am accustomed to eye-balling the leaf to water ratio for some reason and couldn't say exactly what it is, but I use less leaf with deep-steamed sencha than with light-steamed. I brew it at 155f (or less) for 45 seconds. Second steep, same temp., 30 seconds. 3rd steep, same temp 45 seconds. After that, I may bump the temp by 5 degrees and add 15 seconds.

Always err on the side of cool water for brewing in my opinion. Chip is sencha man.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby bigmonstertruck » May 24th, '11, 14:14

I use bottled spring water.

8g to 10g sencha in a kyusu to about 8 oz water.

160 degrees F water (max), usually more like 150 or even as low as 140 for a deeply steamed sencha to bring out the sweetness. I do not understand recommendations for temps near 180 degrees.

Steep times 1 min, 30 sec, 90 sec (1st, 2nd, 3rd). Sometimes I try a 4th steep and raise the temp to 160 or a bit higher, steep for about 2 minutes.

My technique is fairly uniform for various senchas. I started tracking data a while back, but I realized that I always like it about the same. To me, most important parameter is amount of tea with respect to water and the temp of the water. Exact steep times do not seem that critical.

Ed
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby m147 » May 24th, '11, 14:34

i've read some places that you up the steep time and temp for each subsequent infusion. however, both of you mention the second steep shorter than the first, then the third either the same as the first or higher. can you explain this?
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby tortoise » May 24th, '11, 15:10

m147 wrote:i've read some places that you up the steep time and temp for each subsequent infusion. however, both of you mention the second steep shorter than the first, then the third either the same as the first or higher. can you explain this?


The second steeping with sencha, and particularly Fukamushi style sencha) tosses off very quickly. You will likely oversteep it if you go for longer than the original steep. You can began building back up the brew times, but only after the second steeping. I can't offer much more of a technical reason, but you will see that this is the case.

Come to think of it, most teas with folded, twisted, curled leaves steep more quickly the second time. Pretty sure this has to do with the leaves being more open after the first infusion.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby bigmonstertruck » May 24th, '11, 15:32

The best reason is that shorter second steep times just result in better tea. I suspect that the first steep loosens and makes the tea leaves susceptible to steeping, so maybe you should view the first steep as unusually long. Consider that the first steep of one minute is actually 45 seconds of "conditioning" the tea and 15 seconds of steeping. Just my take on the matter, and I have no science or technical proof of this.

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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby debunix » May 24th, '11, 20:26

I also think of the first steep as longer because the leaves are hydrating first, then starting to release flavor into the liquid. In the second steep, the leaves have been hydrated, and while sitting wet, some of the goodies have already diffused out from the interior of the leaves to the water on their surfaces, and that just needs a flash rinse to recover those goodies in the second steep. After that, the remaining steeps need more time to get at the stuff that is held more tightly inside the leaf, which needs time to find its way out of the leaf to the liquid.

That's my just-so story at any rate, for why I do longer first steep, short second steep, and longer third steeps.

I start my senchas about 1g/oz of tap water at 160 degrees, 30", 10", 30", 45", 1-2 minutes, 2-3 minutes. If the tea seems to be losing a little sweetness, I up the temp to 170 or even 180 in the later infusions; if the first infusion is more astringent or grassier than I want, I might drop the temp, starting as low as 140 degrees. And some days, when I run out of time or stomach capacity too quickly, I fill the kyusu with cold water and put it in the fridge for a refreshing evening cup of cold-brewed sencha. And if dropping temps, I usually extend the time a fair bit too.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby m147 » May 24th, '11, 20:35

debunix wrote:I also think of the first steep as longer because the leaves are hydrating first, then starting to release flavor into the liquid. In the second steep, the leaves have been hydrated, and while sitting wet, some of the goodies have already diffused out from the interior of the leaves to the water on their surfaces, and that just needs a flash rinse to recover those goodies in the second steep. After that, the remaining steeps need more time to get at the stuff that is held more tightly inside the leaf, which needs time to find its way out of the leaf to the liquid.

That's my just-so story at any rate, for why I do longer first steep, short second steep, and longer third steeps.

I start my senchas about 1g/oz of tap water at 160 degrees, 30", 10", 30", 45", 1-2 minutes, 2-3 minutes. If the tea seems to be losing a little sweetness, I up the temp to 170 or even 180 in the later infusions; if the first infusion is more astringent or grassier than I want, I might drop the temp, starting as low as 140 degrees. And some days, when I run out of time or stomach capacity too quickly, I fill the kyusu with cold water and put it in the fridge for a refreshing evening cup of cold-brewed sencha. And if dropping temps, I usually extend the time a fair bit too.



i like this idea of cold brewed for the morning, will have to try it out.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby NOESIS » May 24th, '11, 20:42

- spring water
- 1g/30ml
- 175F (poured into unheated kyusu)
- 90s, 20s, 120s
Last edited by NOESIS on May 24th, '11, 21:48, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby m147 » May 24th, '11, 21:03

do you all measure of weigh?
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby NOESIS » May 24th, '11, 21:14

m147 wrote:do you all measure of weigh?


At home, yes. Not when I'm at work. Generally I go with one heaping tsp/ 120 water.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby debunix » May 24th, '11, 21:32

Mostly weigh for sencha, but sometimes just measure--I can eyeball it pretty well by now, but it often surprises me.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby tortoise » May 24th, '11, 22:02

I'm glad this thread caught on a bit.

:idea:
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby Kevangogh » May 26th, '11, 00:49

It's a good idea to measure by weight for awhile. After you do this for awhile, you will get to the point where you don't need to anymore though, especially if you use the same spoon for everything. If your temp and brew time is right, a gram or two doesn't make a lot of difference.
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Re: sencha brewing tips

Postby m147 » May 26th, '11, 02:06

i've been reading elsewhere that for shincha it is a good idea to brew at a higher then 70C temp (something around 80C). what are all your thoughts on this? yesterday i got some 2011 yame and ureshino gokuro shincha. i've been experimenting with different temps and times. but i think i've been using a gram or two under. we'll see, i'll try it out again after work tonight.

when i bought the tea, the shop owners gave me a taste of fukamushi ureshino. however, the lady had used maybe 8 grams in a standard sized kyusu (maybe 200ml). the tea like she said was quite strong but a very nice flavour. any of you drink this strong?
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