NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 14:08

Topic open early for previewing and reading only. This will go live at 6 pm Eastern USA time today as previously announced.

OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction Official Topic

Greetings TeaTasters of TeaChat (I think this means virtually all members?). In this topic I will introduce everyone to the selections of this very fine OTTI as well as how you can participate. This OTTI is open to all members of TeaChat, but as always, "seating" is limited. So if you are interested in receiving this OTTI round, please let me know asap! OTTI ordering info is at the bottom of this post.

This OTTI 12 Sencha Round will include all 6 brand new and rather divergent Kagoshima Sencha LEAF selections from http://zencha.net/ Each sample includes 10 grams of leaf of each selection you receive, enough for at least 2 sessions of each selection that you receive. Please see below as to what you may receive with this OTTI round.

I hope you can join us for this OTTI round. I feel this will be exciting trying all new selections from a vendor many of us already enjoy.

The OTTI 12 selections are below in the order listed on the [url]Zencha.net[/url]

Each member will receive the 3 ***GREEN selections. In addition, each member will receive 1 or 2 of the 3 BLUE selections. So each member is guaranteed at least 4 samples/selections, 10 grams per sample/selection. I will shoot for 5 samples each … emailing me asap will increase your chances of receiving 5.

Your BLUE selections will be selected partly chronologically and partly randomly. Earlier requests received from members have a better shot at 5 samples. So early birds get the worm ... er bonus sample!!!

If you have already ordered directly from this new line-up, but you are interested in sampling other selections you did not order, please let me know what you ordered. I will endeavor to accommodate you!

All Kagoshima selections can be found on this page: http://zencha.net/products_kagoshima.php With some photos and info here: http://zencha.net/products.php (nice tea with amazing views!) I notice they have increased the amount of information on each tea and even include specific brewing suggestions for each. I will further discuss brewing a few posts down as well.

***Yutakamidori Super Premium. Chumushi (mid steamed)
"Our best Yutakamidori. This tea is produced from first flush leaves of Yutakamidori, a variety of tea plant, which are harvested around mid April.
1st. brew: invigorating scent & sweetness like Shincha with extremely rich in Umami. No bitterness and astringency.
2nd. brew: very good balance of Umami, sweetness and slight astringency. ”

Kagoshima Sencha Super Premium. Fukamushi (deep steamed)
“This tea was produced from a carefully selected blend of the first flush leaves of Yabukita, Yutakamidori and Asatsuyu with the skill of a craftsman.
In order to place emphasis on bringing out the natural flavor of the premium leaves, the firing process was minimized.
1st. brew: produces clear yellow color, extremely rich in Umami and sweetness.
2nd. brew: produces intensely green color, good Umami like a seaweed and sweetness with slight astringency.”

***Kagoshima Sencha Fuku. Chumushi (mid steamed)
“This tea was produced from a carefully selected blend of the first flush leaves of Yabukita and Saemidori with the skill of a craftsman.
In order to place emphasis on bringing out the natural flavor of the premium leaves, the firing process was minimized.
1st. brew: produces clear yellow color, rich in Umami and sweetness.
2nd. brew: produces intensely green color, excellent balance of sweetness and astringency.”

Kagoshima Sencha Ten. Chumushi (mid steamed)
“This tea was produced from a carefully selected blend of the leaves of Yabukita and Saemidori, which are harvested in early May.
Very refreshing. For everyday drink!”

***Organic Kagoshima Sencha Matsu. Chumushi (mid steamed)
“This tea is produced from first flush leaves of Yubukita, a variety of tea plant, which are harvested around mid April.
1st. brew: produces clear yellow color, so refreshing and sweet.
2nd. brew: produces light yellow-green color, sweetness with slight astringency.”

Organic Kagoshima Sencha Ume. Chumushi (mid steamed)
“This tea is produced from first flush leaves of Yubukita, a variety of tea plant, which are harvested in late April.
1st. brew: produces clear yellow color, so refreshing and grassy sweet.
2nd. brew: produces light yellow-green color, good balance of sweetness and astringency.”

See the next post for info on how to participate.
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Re: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 14:09

For general info on how the OTTIs run, please see this topic: http://www.teachat.com/viewtopic.php?f=66&t=16242 The biggest change is if you are interested in participating in this OTTI round, I am asking that you email me on or after 6 pm Eastern USA time today, Thursday 3/8/12 at teachatmoderator@yahoo.com ... SUBJECT: OTTI 12.

If you email me from your paypal email, that will simplify things, but it is not necessary!

Total Cost in USD (shipping is included) for this OTTI round is a bit higher, but still very reasonable. I had to purchase all the teas in advance (out of my own pocket … at a discount albeit. this is not funded by Adagio nor any other vendor nor entity at this time), so therefore costs are higher this time as I will have to pay for the tea, packaging, and shipping. I was willing to pay this time since these are all new selections and Zencha.net is supplying all the teas for this round. Despite the higher cost charged to members, I will still have to dip into OTTI reserves which is not much :mrgreen:

USA $8.50
Canada/North America $9.75
Europe/South America $11.25
Asia/Australia $12.75
Other please inquire (I guess that leaves penguins of Antartica and for any extraterrestrials out there wanting to participate)


Email your interest to teachatmoderator@yahoo.com including your:

TeaChat User Name
Your name
Mailing address formatted exactly as it would appear on a package or letter addressed to you.
Country
If outside of USA, your phone number is recommended for customs forms!
Paypal email address
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Re: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 14:10

Blind Key below!

1 Ten
2 Ume Organic
3 Fuku
4 Matsu Organic
5 Yutaka Midori Super Premium
6 Sencha Super Premium


This post has been edited to include the "blind key" for the sencha selections. Each foil-lined, zip-seal pouch will be labeled with a number only for those wanting to conduct this as a blind tasting.

In order to view this blind key, you will have to click on the "quote" icon located above this post, to the right. This will display the blind key!

Participants will then have the option of whether to conduct this OTTI blind ... or not.

EDIT 4/2/12: I think this topic will be open, not blind since all the teas are from one vendor. Therefore, you can do your tasting blind, but I will encourage discussions using name and number of the tea.

I think it is OK for members to post their reviews/discussions on teas indicating the tea names ... OR the "blind key number" that is on each sample pouch? JUST do not state both in your comments until 2 weeks after you receive your teas. This allows those who are “blind tasting” to continue yet also be able to read this topic.

I think posting the number would be best so those doing the blind tasting will know which selection you are discussing.
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Re: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 14:10

This post will be edited after the packages are shipped to include brewing suggestions for each sencha!

EDIT 4/2/12. Here are Zencha's brewing suggestions. For this tasting, I encourage you to approach brewing open-minded. I had to force myself to, but the results speak for themselves.

I have added a few notes below each set of directions! It is nice that they included both measuring systems on their site.

Nishiki from Zencha stressed that I should first try all these at 140* F (60* C) for the first steep to bring out, highlight the sweetness. I resisted this at first but then approached this open minded. :mrgreen:

Zencha wrote:Brewing tips (for one person) for #3, 4, 5, 6 (in random order: Matsu, Yutaka Midori, Fuku, Sencha Super Premium)
Amount of Tealeaves: 5g.
Amount of Water: 120cc / 4oz
Water Temperature: 60-70C / 140-158F
Steep: 1-2 minutes

My notes: Yes, try the 140* F IN A PREHEATED POT, but I prefered upping the ratio just a bit for most of these except Fuka. I ended up at 5 grams per 3.5 ounces water. This is my preference given this lower temp. I usually hover at around 1:1 at higher temps of around 155-160 F. Cooler temps combined with more leaf makes sense.

Times, Mostly I ended up at 90 seconds except for #6 which I scaled back to around 60-75 seconds.

Zencha wrote:Brewing tips (for one person) for #1 and 2 (in random order: Ten, Ume)
Amount of Tealeaves: 5g.
Amount of Water: 210cc / 7oz
Water Temperature: 60-70C / 140-158F
Steep: 1 minute

My notes: I accidently used a higher ratio for Ten, 5 grams per 3.5 ounces water ... I liked it. You will note, this is half the water that they recommend. I rarely like sencha below a 1:1 ratio, so this does not surprise me. But what does surprise me is how good the low priced sencha was at "high end brewing." Often cheaper sencha brewed like a premium one will turn out aweful, not this one!!!

I also accidently brewed longer than the 60 seconds with no ill-effect.

-----------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Bottom line, here are starting points, adjust to taste, but keep an open mind. :mrgreen:
I brewed all 6 of these at least 5 times, as I always do. They all hold up very well to multiple steeping. Though you may want to stop at 3 or 4 steeps.
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OTTI Rating System, tasting helps

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 14:11

This post will be edited to include a new rating system that we will ask you to endeavor to follow as you rate your teas. This way hopefully we will all understand each others’ ratings. Previously everyone was doing their own personal rating system.

EDIT 4/3/12

OTTI Rating System!

Please follow this so we are all on the same page regarding ratings. Thanks. This is also located in the first several posts of this topic for convenience. If you feel a tea is more like a 4.5 or whatever, go for it! :mrgreen:

5 Outstanding, excellent
4.5 Very good
4 Good
3 Fair, mediocre
2 Not good
1 Poor


When tasting, remember to use all your senses! You can rate a tea by each sense and then cumulative experience. Or simply overall ... however involved you want to be!

Sight- how does the dry leaf look, color, the brew, the wet leaf?
Touch-how does the tea feel ... astringency
Hearing-hard to rate a tea based on hearing, but it is part of the experience nevertheless :mrgreen:
Smell-some feel this is as important as taste! I am one of these. The dry leaf aroma, the dry leaf as it warms in your kyusu, the brew aroma, the wet leaf aroma. eh hem, clear your nose before doing a tasting!!! You will be rewarded.
Taste-your sense of smell dictates much of your taste perception, try and differentiate. Basic tastes include sweet, bitter, sour, umami, salt.
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Re: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 14:12

OK, (after 6 pm Eastern USA time today) please feel free to post, ask questions ... and ultimately post comments on these your Kagoshima selections!

I hope you can join us for this OTTI 12 and will ultimately enjoy this OTTI round!!!
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 18:58

TEA minus 2 minutes to OTTI 12 liftoff ... TeaChat we are ready for OTTI 12!
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Stentor » Mar 8th, '12, 19:02

I'd love to taste these teas. Just emailed you. Hope I'm in! :)
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 19:02

... and yeah, we are live! :mrgreen:
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby demonyc » Mar 8th, '12, 19:02

This sounds like an exciting round! :D
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby aeflo » Mar 8th, '12, 19:08

perfect chance for my first OTTI :D
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby nrstooge » Mar 8th, '12, 19:15

I've never done this before.. excited to try some new things. :)
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 19:18

Welcome to the new faces and good to see returnees too!!!

So far, everyone who has emailed me is in. I will endeavor to confirm via return email tonight.

Keep the emails coming!

I will be brewing some tea ... and will return soon. :mrgreen:
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby SilentChaos » Mar 8th, '12, 19:53

Damn....I scheduled outlook to send my email at 6:05, and it didn't do so for some reason. Only sent it ten minutes ago. Hope I make it in...... :|
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 8th, '12, 20:12

SilentChaos wrote:Damn....I scheduled outlook to send my email at 6:05, and it didn't do so for some reason. Only sent it ten minutes ago. Hope I make it in...... :|

Your "outlook" is looking good!

Still more seats available. :mrgreen:
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