OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby laura99 » Jul 4th, '12, 10:58

Brewed up the Botan this morning. 4.5g in 140ml at 150f, preheated pot. Times at 60,15,30,60,60.

First brew very nice. Second cup brewed up a very solid green - was afraid it may be to much. But nice and smooth flavor, no bitterness. Started to get a bit of bitterness in the last two brews. Overall very good, I will give this one a 4.
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby Drax » Jul 4th, '12, 17:04

Tried the tsubaki this afternoon. It was pretty middling all the way through -- never standing out, never terrible. However, I was surprised at how cheap (cost) that this tea is...! (I did not look until after finishing my session with the tea). I definitely do not have enough experience to 'correct' scores based on cost like Chip does, but I will try to factor it into my final evaluation.
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby Drax » Jul 4th, '12, 20:40

I've been trying out Picasa for photo management, so here's a shot of today's tsubaki inside an absolutely gorgeous cup from Greenwood studios.

greenwood_sencha.jpg
Tsubaki sencha in Greenwood cup
greenwood_sencha.jpg (41.39 KiB) Viewed 938 times


I'm liking Picasa, but not so much with the photo sharing. Oh well...
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby hopeofdawn » Jul 5th, '12, 10:42

I've been brewing 88 Nights when I get home from work the last couple of days: at first I wasn't sure about the brewing parameters, but now I'm really enjoying it. Though I should probably note that I do not tend to like intensely grassy/astringent greens--which means sencha can be a real challenge, and my brewing preferences tend to be on the lighter/smoother side.

Last night I brewed 3 grams in 100 ml water at 60 degrees C--1st brew was about 45 secs, and a little bit on the astringent/harsh side, but a wonderful seaweed/umami scent. 2nd brew was at 5-10 secs, same temp, and was perfect--lovely and smooth and no bitterness at all, and lingered on the tongue. Same with the 3rd, at 15-30 secs, and ended up brewing it about three more times, with hotter water and longer steeps--didn't quite have the same full body, but the flavor still held on nicely.
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby puerhking » Jul 6th, '12, 12:15

Tried the Tsubaki Kabusecha today. This leans more toward being a sencha with only a hint of Kabuse flavor. For me this is no problem as some can have an acid like angularity to them that I don't care for. Nice marine notes on the first brew...changes nicely between infusions with deep veggie notes like fukamushis do. I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I give it a solid 4.
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby MIKE_B » Jul 7th, '12, 00:46

Brewed 88 Nights earlier today.
I didn't take any notes. 5g in 150ml. 175ºF in unheated kyusu. 60s,30s,60s
I liked this sencha. It was smooth with lots of umami. Slightly astringent aftertaste, but nice. I think I could have done a longer third steep, it got very light.
I had a long hot day at work and the 88 Nights was a nice refreshing pick-me-up.
Rating...4
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby SilentChaos » Jul 7th, '12, 19:54

I wasn't able to participate in this OTTI but I managed to get some of the teas featured. So far I've brewed about 50g of the 88nights. Most of the time I use roughly 0.8 - 1g/30ml. 65-70C/60sec 1st infusions; 70C/15sec second infusions; 75C/30-45sec third infusions; 80C/60sec plus fourth infusions. I'm very impressed with the 88nights simply given that, if I'm not mistaken, it is a yabukita. I've pretty much disliked all the yabukita i've had but not this one. Sweet on the first infusions, good balance of astringency, bitterness and sweetness on second infusions, crisp shincha feel coming through on third infusions; and being able to produce real fourth infusions and beyond, this tea really has a lot to give.

Overall rating a solid 4.2. IMHO although slightly pricey, it is after all a limited edition 88nights (in a nice can too), so still 4.2 accounting for price. Can't wait to taste a few of the other teas.
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby Remick » Jul 7th, '12, 20:26

Chip wrote:Your temp is pretty good, but did you preheat your pot? That is crucial for this temp. Speaking of water, what water are you using?


For both rounds, I preheated and used Arrowhead bottled water (tap out here in SoCal is nasty, but has been “better” in recent years).

In the 88 Nights, there is an element, a combination of notes that are very pleasant. It has a foundation in the aroma of toasted grain (genmai), the salty marine of roasted seaweed (nori), and sweet fresh grass. A nice place indeed. To me, there is something so intrinsically Japanese about that flavor/aroma. I couldn’t mistake it for anything else. The smell of the leaves both dry and wet is really nice. For whatever reason, it was reluctant to translate into the water. Maybe I had tasting issues; one or the other.

Sipping on the Houjicha Mare and can’t help but compare it to Den’s houji. Two different teas in the same roasty spectrum. I’ll reserve judgment until I finish it off.
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby sriracha » Jul 8th, '12, 16:17

Been playing a little with the houjicha, before I've only ever had supermarket houji which, while warming and a good accompaniment to food, perhaps not fantastic.
This was interesting tea; I smelled the leaves dry and the aroma reminds me of something half-remembered, I put them in a warmed pot and I get something else equally half-remembered under the dominant caramel note.

Smelling the underside of the lid of the pot, yet something else.

Wet leaves give off a faint aroma of...plums? Fruit peel?

So many things exploding in my nose and my mind and I haven't even taken one sip. =)

Drinking it I feel it's a very very friendly tea, mellow and relaxing. Stands up to many brews and being easily distracted I forgot it a couple of times but without any ill effects.
I can see myself drinking this often, especially in cold weather. Does anyone else get the intense warming effect?

(I used the official brewing suggestions, more or less. No major deviations.)
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby Remick » Jul 8th, '12, 20:16

Houjicha Mare-

First round was at 1:1 while second round was closer to 0.85:1
Temp varied between 180 - 200, didn't preheat. 60sec, 30sec, 40sec, 90sec. I didn't want to overthink this one but wanted to see how well it stood up to a ham-fisted approach...

The first infusions of both rounds had something that triggered my "salty" taste buds. Whether is was actual NaCl or not, who knows, it was still salty to me. Very toasted tasting, few caramels, leaned toward maillard and breadyness. Aromatics gave sweetness at the end. Preferred the later infusions for their greater balance.

Not (to me) outstanding, not in any way bad, thought provoking. Don't really know if I can assign a score to that but hear you go: Score = Good, for what it is. So, 3.8?

Edited to say: "This makes little sense to me but infusion 5 boiled to cup to pot for 3:00 min produced my favorite cup yet. Harmonious sweet, toasty, and aromatic, bread. Steep #5!?!? Really!?! :? "
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby Remick » Jul 10th, '12, 18:44

Sure is quiet around here...

Kikyou -

This one turned my mind inside-out. SO. MUCH. BROTHY. UMAMI! :shock:

For my palate, it was a bit heavy-handed. Perhaps TOO savory... in the first steep at least. I can appreciate the brazenness of it, to an extent. As the session progressed and the umami restrained itself, the tea impressed me with its range. A bit costly for me to drink regularly, rather demanding of low temps, and bordering on too savory for my palate.

However, with all of that said, it scores without question greater than four.
Perhaps somewhere around 4.3
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby hopeofdawn » Jul 12th, '12, 11:20

Aaand I completely forgot we're supposed to give number ratings to the teas we're tasting. Doh!

I just finished off my last little bit of 88 Nights last night--overall, I'd have to say I would give it a 3.5. It's a very nice tea, but I found it very finicky to try and brew light enough that my palate wasn't overwhelmed by grassy/astringency. (A common problem I have with most sencha, so someone who likes more 'edge' to their teas will probably find this rating skewed to the low side.)

I've also done a couple different brews of the Hojicha Mare, and I have to say that for me, this one is a stunner! I'd give it a solid five, all the way--lovely aroma, followed up by a wonderful full-bodied taste that lasts for at least 4-5 brews at minimum. Definitely going to order more of this as soon as the tea-budget allows!
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby MIKE_B » Jul 12th, '12, 21:28

Brewed the Kikyou yesterday. Gyokuru style, the whole 10g sample in 150ml.
I liked this tea. Plenty of umami, sweet and thick. Nice little tea buzz.
Maybe not quite as bold as I would have liked.
Rating...4
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby MIKE_B » Jul 14th, '12, 11:18

Brewed my last sample yesterday, Houjicha Mare.
I've tried houjicha a few times in the past and it's never been my favorite.
But Hakoniwado's offering seemed to be higher quality. Smooth and sweet. Nice aftertaste. The toast was not too overpowering.
I enjoyed trying it, but I'm still thinking houjicha just "isn't my cup of tea."
I don't think it would be fair of me to try and give this tea a rating being that I am not a fan of the style.
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Re: OTTI 14 Shincha Hakoniwado

Postby JRS22 » Jul 21st, '12, 10:14

I tried the last of my Botan this morning with great success. I recently purchased a houhin from Tea Trekker to fill in my teaware collection and minimize my sorrow after breaking the lid on my beloved Gyokko kyusu. Anyway, the houhin seems to improve the taste of my Sencha, but I think I also found the sweet spot of time and temperature for the Botan. So today I brewed 3.6 grams at 150°, 30 seconds, 10 seconds and 15 seconds. I also put the water in first and then added the tea, which I like to think is the equivalent of preheating. I would rate this tea a 4.0.
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