NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Mar 31st, '12, 11:18

And shipped as of around 10 am today, Eastern USA time.

Everyone received at least 5 samples. 11 of the earliest sign-ups are receiving all 6! Although, oddly I had one and only one sample packet leftover, so it is possible someone got shorted 1 sample. Hopefully not though!

I will be updating the first few posts of this topic to include the blind key, brewing suggestions, and the new rating system which we are asking you to use ... PLEEEEZE!
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Proinsias » Mar 31st, '12, 11:47

yay!
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Drax » Mar 31st, '12, 12:18

Hooray...! Just in time... I've managed to take a good chunk out of all the pu'erh samples that have been sitting on my table. :D
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby GreenwoodStudio » Apr 2nd, '12, 12:47

:D received :D
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Apr 2nd, '12, 12:52

Brewing suggestions. For easy reference, these are also located within the first several posts of this topic! Please read before brewing.

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 preferred upping the ratio just a bit for most of these except Fuku. I ended up at 5 grams per 3.5 ounces (105 ml) 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 since it is fukamushi.

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 (105 ml) ... 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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Re: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Apr 2nd, '12, 12:57

Blind Key below! For ease of finding, this post is also located in the first several posts of this topic.

Please note, since all these teas are from one vendor, I am encouraging use of tea names in the discussions! If you are doing blind tasting, then you may not want to read this topic until you have tasted all your samples.


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: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby JRS22 » Apr 2nd, '12, 13:07

The letter carrier was just here with my tea. I can begin tasting this afternoon!
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Apr 2nd, '12, 14:09

GREAT!!! Glad to see several members have received already!

BTW, for those of you who do not have a scale, each sample contains 10 grams. So you should get two tastings per tea ... or one very big one.
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Drax » Apr 2nd, '12, 15:13

Hooray...! Hoping the USPS guy left the package at my door...

Hey Chip, I'll be using one of Novak's shiboridashis, which is 3oz. Should I stick w/ 2 sessions at 5g, or try to get 3 at 3.3g? :D
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Apr 2nd, '12, 15:40

Good question. Do you prefer your sencha stronger ... or milder? Though with these teas and at this temp, you could probably get away with it, but I am thinking that 3 sessions is better.

I remeasured, I am using 3.6 ounces of water. 8)
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby laura99 » Apr 2nd, '12, 19:02

Tea arrived today! I told myself I would wait until the weekend to start the tasting so I could spend more time with it, but not sure I can hold on that long :)
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Drax » Apr 2nd, '12, 19:38

Started with #3 this evening. I hope I can get to sleep now.. haha.

I used 3.3g in my Novak shibo, which is about 3 oz.

My steeps went roughly:
90s, 140F
20s, 150F
40s, 155F
90s, 155F
180s, 170F

The pre-heated shibo with the leaf in it had a wonderfully deep, rich butter aroma, with a bit of that sharp tartness of sencha. Mmmm.

The first brew came out slight yellow; slightly slick, buttery green sencha. No astringency or bitterness whatsoever. Slightly floral fade.

The second brew and subsequent came out green (mostly due to fine particles leaking out); stronger aroma; stronger flavor, qualities all around. A bit more tart/bite in the 2nd and on.

The other steeps were actually rather pleasant. Not too strong, definitely weakening, but also riding well on the previous ones (and re-igniting the 'mouth buzz').

A great start to this series...!
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby JRS22 » Apr 2nd, '12, 23:56

My first OTTI12 outing was less than stellar but I think it was my brewing and not the tea. I tried #3 in my Gyokuro shiboridashi which is 100 ml. I used 5g of leaf and followed Chip's brewing suggestions, but cut the time down. I think that given my sensitivity to bitterness I should have cut down on the quantity of leaf. The other issue, on which I'd appreciate feedback, is that the tea seemed harsh, and I suspect that was due to the amount of leaf that ended up in my cup. Since I was using a gyo shib with grooves as a strainer, the small particles ended up in my cup. So in other people's experience, could that be the cause of the harshness.

My Seong-il tea tray should arrive any day, and I also ordered a Hohin with a ceramic filter which might do a better job with the particles.
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby Chip » Apr 3rd, '12, 08:12

Yes, perhaps you should scale back amount of leaf, brew for a shorter period of time, and/or brew with a screen that will better remove leaf particles (particles can continue to brew even in your cup, some are OK, too many could be a problem with sencha).

However when you start changing multiple things, it can be hard to discern what may have been the actual and initial problem.

Of course your sensitivity to bitter can be a problem, but brewing at uber cool temps should all but eliminate bitter if you adjust accordingly on amount and time.
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Re: NEW: OTTI 12 Zencha Kagoshima Introduction

Postby solitude » Apr 3rd, '12, 14:48

Japanese teas? again?
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