OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby solitude » Nov 3rd, '11, 05:41

My package arrived last week, I will start with them in the folowing week since I have some other green teas to finish up.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Chip » Nov 3rd, '11, 11:16

Glad your package arrived safely! I am looking forward to reading your reviews!

Oh ... and ...

Happy Birthday Solitude!
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby solitude » Nov 3rd, '11, 11:58

Chip wrote:Glad your package arrived safely! I am looking forward to reading your reviews!

Oh ... and ...

Happy Birthday Solitude!


thank you so much. :wink:
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby DarkenedSun » Nov 3rd, '11, 18:26

#2 seems to be a bit of a mystery to me. I tried tasting this on 2 different occasions. The first time, was how I normally brew my sencha. I did not get very good results so I went with Chip's brewing suggestion. The results didn't change a whole lot. It ended up kinda grassy and not very sweet with a bitter aftertaste. I dunno. I'm not sure what my problem is... if you have any suggestions, let me know.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Chip » Nov 3rd, '11, 20:08

DarkenedSun wrote:#2 seems to be a bit of a mystery to me. I tried tasting this on 2 different occasions. The first time, was how I normally brew my sencha. I did not get very good results so I went with Chip's brewing suggestion. The results didn't change a whole lot. It ended up kinda grassy and not very sweet with a bitter aftertaste. I dunno. I'm not sure what my problem is... if you have any suggestions, let me know.

Hm, #2 is very different. Bitter should not enter into the equation unless your water is too hot and/or maybe brewing too long. I am giving these little hints in hopes of not revealing the tea.

It will not taste like a typical sencha. Did I reveal too much :?: :mrgreen:
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Bryan_drinks_te... » Nov 4th, '11, 11:12

My favorite so far is the fukamushi sencha from Hakoniwado, as I felt it had the best balance in the umami flavour and it made me feel good, which is most important. my least favorite is the kabusecha from o-cha, which is roasty and not very complex.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby DarkenedSun » Nov 4th, '11, 13:01

Chip wrote:
DarkenedSun wrote:#2 seems to be a bit of a mystery to me. I tried tasting this on 2 different occasions. The first time, was how I normally brew my sencha. I did not get very good results so I went with Chip's brewing suggestion. The results didn't change a whole lot. It ended up kinda grassy and not very sweet with a bitter aftertaste. I dunno. I'm not sure what my problem is... if you have any suggestions, let me know.

Hm, #2 is very different. Bitter should not enter into the equation unless your water is too hot and/or maybe brewing too long. I am giving these little hints in hopes of not revealing the tea.

It will not taste like a typical sencha. Did I reveal too much :?: :mrgreen:


I've tried shortening and lengthening brew times, adjusting water temp.. I dunno. I'm gonna try different water. maybe the stuff here is too hard or something. And no, you did not reveal too much. lol
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby JRS22 » Nov 5th, '11, 10:29

I haven't been a good OTTI 'citizen'. My tasting notes range from 'way too bitter' to 'slightly too bitter', with the latter results obtained from using Debunix brewing parameters. This OTTI really helped me because I'm beginning to accept that there probably isn't a Sencha out there waiting for me with all the good flavor notes w/o the bitterness. All is not lost - I've found some Karigane senchas and karigane gyos at O-Cha that satisfy my appetite for Japanese greens. The fact that in the past few months I've learned how to brew Gyokuro also helps. I'm looking forward to those OTTIs.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Nenugal » Nov 5th, '11, 12:27

Sample 4, high leaf ratio.
First infusion: Very good powerful full-bodied taste of grass and vegetables. Deep golden green colour, some particles going through the kyusu filter, seems to be a bit chu-mushi-like. A great sencha that I may buy more of.
Second: very similar to first one.
Third: still more goodness!
Fourth: still good.
Fifth: watery.
Best one yet, but I still have to try 1 and 5 :)
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby debunix » Nov 5th, '11, 17:42

JRS22 wrote:I'm beginning to accept that there probably isn't a Sencha out there waiting for me with all the good flavor notes w/o the bitterness.


Before you give up, if you have any of these samples left, I'd brew a bit with the amount of leaf that worked best for you, and pour the tea into a larger cup than usual. Sip a little to check for bitterness, then dilute with about 50% more hot water, and try again. And again. Can you dilute it into a non-bitter but still interesting flavor?
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Firemoss » Nov 6th, '11, 18:25

These are my notes from the first session with each tea. I did a blind tasting and haven't read any reviews. I still want to continue with a blind tasting for the rest of the tea samples--so if you reply to me [and if you have any advice!], please don't mention which tea is which. :wink:

Oh, and it seems I don't know how to take notes about what I saw--no eyes or something. :roll:

Sample #1
4.5g / 4oz

Dry leaves: Smell of damp straw, dewy wild grasses.

Wet leaves: Smell of spinach with hints of mandarin orange.

1st: 158F, 60s. Thick yet not much broth. Heavy at back of throat, sharp on tip of tongue. Traces of green beans, potato, pear. Aftertaste leaves an almost numbing sensation at back of throat with a lovely sweetness.

2nd: 160F, 60s. Oops, a little overbrewed. Tingly, prickly, pleasantly and slightly astringent. I feel the tea in my mouth/head more than taste it, which is very interesting. Reminiscent of the initial heady sensation in the first sips of psilocybe tea.
There are also beet greens and sugary notes jumping about underneath these sensations.

3rd: 170F, 60s. Smoother, thinner. Straw and wild grasses have risen to the surface.
Vegetal flavors receding. Tinges of willow’s inner bark and soy beans. Heady sensations gone.

4th: 180F, 75s. Not too much of anything. I think oversteeping in the 2nd infusion has something to do with this. Hints of pine needles and willow but very faint.

5th -7th: Boiling 2-5mins. Brought more of the pine out and the vegetal back, also straw. Although tea is very weak, it’s pleasant enough to keep drinking for these 7 infusions.

Rating: 7 [Curious to see how it changes for the better if I brew it more precisely the next round.]
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Firemoss » Nov 6th, '11, 18:29

Sample #2
5g / 4oz

Dry leaves: Smell of grass and straw but fresh.

Wet leaves: Smell of asparagus, peas, steamed kale. Fresh.

1st: 158F, 75s. Slightly brothy, tiniest bit of astringency. A smidgeon of saccharine-like miso, dark leafy greens, and cabbage. Very delicious, don’t want this cup to end.

2nd: 160F, 30s. More brothy. I want to bathe in the aroma! Still asparagus and cabbage-y but a tad richer. A little more pleasantly astringent. Should’ve kept the temp down for this one. But the vegetal qualities of this cup are delicious.

3rd: 160F, 60s. Hints of previous aroma, brothiness diminished. The previous flavours are now playing the supporting role to the mellow woody, earthy flavoured lead. This cup reminds me of what the jumble of exposed roots, twigs, cones, and moss found at the base of a tree trunk underneath a spruce branch overhang might taste like.

4th: 165F, 90s. Taste and aroma as above but receding.

5th-9th: 180F-Boiling. 2-6mins. I got some really nice, sweet sprucewood brews out of these. I even brewed a 10th for 15mins and still enjoyed it. Loved this tea.

Rating: 8.5 [There was a pleasant brothy, steamed kale aftertaste which lingered for quite some time. I was still reminded of this tea hours later...]
Last edited by Firemoss on Nov 6th, '11, 19:16, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Firemoss » Nov 6th, '11, 18:33

Sample #3
4g / 4oz

Dry leaves: No real distinct smell besides straw.

Wet leaves: Not as fresh smelling as others but strong asparagus/grasses.

1st: 172F, 60s. Vegetal, predominantly asparagus. Mild astringency, mungbean sprouts, damp earth.

2nd: 175F, 30s. Damp earth, wet grass, rosehips, grapes. This brew and its aftertaste are quite lovely.

3rd: 175F, 60s. Delicious brew! Lighter and mellower than last cup. Damp earth with wild mushroom flavors at the top. Soy beans, vegetal.

4th: 180F, 2mins. Pleasant, grassy. Lost its earthy backdrop. Lentils replace soybeans, still mildly vegetal.

Rating: 7.5 [I brewed this several more times with boiling water and enjoyed the ‘tea-water’ well enough. I’m interested to see how much better this tea will be if I brew it differently for the next round.]
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Firemoss » Nov 6th, '11, 18:38

Sample #4
4.5g / 4oz

Dry leaves: Fresh cut grass.

Wet leaves: Curious blend of smells--nothing outdoing another.

1st: 158F, 60s. Mellow, smooth. Perfect combo of flavor qualities [vegetal, fruity, brothy, woody, astringency] so that nothing really stands out. Gorgeous cup of green I can’t quite describe yet.

2nd: Almost same as first cup with slightly more astringency and a hint of pear. Still impressed by how well the flavors meld.

3rd: 170F, 60s. Woodsy flavors starting to rise above the others. A little more zing to this cup but still mellow and smooth overall.

4th: 180F, 90s. I really enjoyed this cup the most so far. I’m stumped to describe the way these flavors work so well together...

5th and beyond: Boiling. 5-15 mins. I brewed this many more times, going about my day and sometimes forgetting it was in the kyusu. Each brew was still delicious. And even though they got weaker, they maintained a certain creamy quality of the blended flavors.
Gorgeous!

Rating: 8.75 [Maybe during the next session with this tea I’ll be able to describe it with more clarity. ]
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Re: OTTI 11 2011 Sencha Official Topic

Postby Firemoss » Nov 6th, '11, 18:42

Sample #5
5g / 4oz

Dry leaves: Fresh, deep fir, steamed spinach, papaya.

Wet leaves: Sharp, steamed spinach, fresh-cut grass, papaya.

1st: 158F, 90s. Strong spinach broth, half astringent but mildly-so and pleasant. Surprise of sprouted peanuts.

2nd: 160F, 45s. A little more pleasant astringency with spinach/kale flavors. Wheat and wild grasses surfacing.

3rd: 163F, 90s. Less astringent, still a wee brothy. Less spinach taste yet overall vegetal.

4th: 165F, 90s. Best brew yet. Sweet, wild grasses with honeysuckle notes floating underneath the main vegetal flavors.

5th: 180F, 90s. A little sweet, a little vegetal. It’s worth brewing again but it’s very weak.

Rating: 7 [I will play around with the temps and timings the next time I drink this tea. I’m hoping that will bring out its best kept secrets...]

Thank you, Chip (and everyone involved) for this, my first, OTTI. I enjoyed the teas very much and will purchase a couple of them again most definitely.
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