OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby Peacock » Nov 21st, '12, 15:24

Oku Midori this morning. I brewed it with a 1:1 ratio at 153 degrees. I think I would get even greater results if I upped the leaf a bit. Really strong umami. There's the sensation of furriness and the umami really encumbers the back of the throat. It plays tricks on my mind and comes off as almost not even being a liquid.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby MIKE_B » Nov 21st, '12, 15:58

Did back to back sessions with the Hon.yama yesterday. One with Poland Spring the other with Iceland Spring water. Iceland Spring is an alkaline water at 8.88 Ph. Poland Spring is more neutral at 6.5. TSD is about the same.
Both sessions were good. I liked this tea. I thought PS brewed was sweeter and lighter. IS water made this tea thicker, coating the mouth. Also, TS brewed had a bit more astringency and the aftertaste was stronger and lasted much longer.
I would chose Iceland Spring water again to brew this sencha for the better mouth feel and aftertaste. Overall I think it made a more interesting tea.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby edkrueger » Nov 21st, '12, 15:59

Chip wrote:Remember, I think the Micro-Fermented selection is the most "needy" of this group. Pay very close attention to time brewing (and temp) recommendations ... 30 seconds tops for me for the first steep. Brewed right, it can really sing an unusual song. Too long and it quickly goes off-key. :idea:

Really? It thought it was really easy going or maybe I just picked the right parameters at first (7g/110ml/165F/1min). I feel like it might shine at higher temperatures.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby Chip » Nov 21st, '12, 16:03

edkrueger wrote:
Chip wrote:Remember, I think the Micro-Fermented selection is the most "needy" of this group. Pay very close attention to time brewing (and temp) recommendations ... 30 seconds tops for me for the first steep. Brewed right, it can really sing an unusual song. Too long and it quickly goes off-key. :idea:

Really? It thought it was really easy going or maybe I just picked the right parameters at first (7g/110ml/165F/1min). I feel like it might shine at higher temperatures.

Really, that is interesting. Perhaps it is differences in water?
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby edkrueger » Nov 21st, '12, 16:08

Maybe, I'm using Poland Spring. Also, I thought it was really easy to resteep, even up to a 2+ minute steep on the 5th. (I was surprised it survived till the 5th too.)
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby shinobicha » Nov 21st, '12, 21:02

The Honyama selection was very good. I had one serving left of Tenryu from NOTTI, and it was fun to compare the two, since they are from essentially the same region.
Tenryu is more flowerly/perfume-like in its aroma.
Yokosawa is more pure sencha with the mix of sweet, bitter, umami, and aromatic.
I will have to give it another couple of tastings to have a better idea, but I immediately enjoyed it.

The Kamairicha had a very nice sweet aftertaste, especially after the first steeping, which I may have brewed too hot (176F is their suggestion). I think I will try it at 160F to see how that goes. I have liked my (limited) experiences with Kamairicha so far, which have a nice roasted or slightly smokey aroma to them (just a hint, nothing at all like houjicha).
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby Drax » Nov 24th, '12, 19:01

I finally got some free time this weekend to try out the final two samples of this OTTI, which for me were the Hon'yama and the Sae Midori.

I enjoyed the Sae Midori, it was nice and solid, and even though a fuka, it didn't give me too much trouble in brewing it. I liked the lingering fruity aftertaste. Peetered out by the third steep (3.4g in 100mL, starting at 40s of 150F).

The Hon'yama was okay. I got a nice full punch of it on the second steep. But by the fourth brew, very light hints of "hair" started creeping in, and the 5th wasn't good, even at the low temp of 165F. (3.4g in 100mL, starting at 150F for 80s).

To answer a perhaps unspoken question, no, I don't normally expect anything from the 4th or 5th brews (or even the 3rd, sometimes), but I do pay attention to how the tea tapers out -- whether it just fades away, or if it becomes "hairy" (ugh).

These teas were good; I had no "WOW" steep, though.

With my first pass through the samples done, I would rank the Kamairicha, the micro-fermented and the Oku above the Sae and the Hon'yama... which is probably not what I'm supposed to say given the price points, but that's how the first round went for me.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby David R. » Nov 25th, '12, 08:19

edkrueger wrote:Just finished a light brew (7g/110ml/160F/1minute) of the Oku Midori. Its nice. Update: Tried it again @ (5g/50ml/160F/2.5minute). Lots of umami! I like.


From my experience with this tea, you want to push towards this ratio. You can almost brew it like a gyokuro (as you did). This lead to the best result for me anyway.

edkrueger wrote:Tried the Kamairicha (7g/110ml/175F/1minute). Its nice. Good toasty taste, but that goes away after the second steep. Otherwise its a bit lack-luster. I have a feeling hotter water might help. Update: Tried it hotter at (7g/110ml, 194F). Not too much different, but comes off a little more (good) bitter and a little toastier. I like it this way more.


After quite a few attempts and a good advide from a friend, I ended up brewing this tea using a lot of leaf and very hot water, just like a taiwanese green tea. This may not be the best way, but I liked it. This is so different from a regular sencha.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby AaronF » Nov 25th, '12, 11:25

Hello. We tried the first today, and we picked the "O" to start with. We used most of the tea in my small gaiwan with water that had cooled down a good deal from a simmer. I had too much tea, and it was very astringent. I logged in here to look at steeping recommendations, and put the leaves into my Rishi Tsuki teapot and steeped a little longer, with around 200 ml of cooler water yet. This yielded a delicious tea. I noticed a lot of umami character with a clean yet pervasive mouthfeel. I enjoyed it very much. We've managed several steepings.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby Marco » Nov 26th, '12, 16:33

Tea arrived in Austria. :)
I have to cure out my cold before I can join the tasting group though.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby teaisme » Nov 26th, '12, 17:11

edkrueger wrote: Also, I thought it was really easy to resteep, even up to a 2+ minute steep on the 5th. (I was surprised it survived till the 5th too.)


ditto, takes hot water very well for later infusions and has good endurance.
Also found it rather easy to brew and not overbrew. Interesting tea, like drinking green tea and green taiwanese oolong at same time. It plays well together, the mustiness left in cup after drinking has grown on me too :mrgreen:
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby dzrogers » Nov 27th, '12, 16:12

I am a true novice when it comes to Japanese green teas, so I'm using this OTTI as a way to learn about these types of teas. Prior to trying these teas, I'd only ever had Den's Sampler Pack and Den's Organic Sencha. I ordered a double OTTI, and boy am I glad I did. It leaves me some room for error and gives me more time to figure out my thoughts.

I tried the "O" first. It was ok. I didn't have any strong feelings about the tea one way or another. I may have brewed it a bit hot 160*, so I'll try it again at the recommended 140* to 149*. I used the 1:1 ratio.

This morning I tried the "S". The first time around I tried to follow TdJ's perimeters precisely. :shock: The Umami flavors were just WAY too much for my novice palette. I could not even drink the first infusion. For the 2nd infusion, I used more water to get to a 1:1 ratio. The resultant cup was infinitely more drinkable. Still, I'm not a fan of the pronounced umami and bean flavors. I don't care for Den's Fukamushi either, so I guess this style is just not for me. I'll try "S" again just to be sure.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby GreenwoodStudio » Nov 29th, '12, 20:39

Giving the micro fermented a go tonight. This one was a real surprise. I guess I expected it to be a different type of green but I didn't expect such a pronounced oolong like aroma and flavor. it reminds me of a nice Alishan I had from Scott @ Chinese-Tea-Culture a long while back.

Didn't do anything too crazy with this, just 1:1, all @ 158f
1st 40 sec.- VERY light, floral, fruity and delicate (feel like I could have gone a bit longer this steep)
2nd 40 sec.- Eeeek, much thicker with a bit of astringent bite. Much fuller flavor and texture. After such a delicate cuppa on the 1st steep I thought 40 would be ok and might bring a bit more punch out of it. However, I think this was too long for my taste.
3rd 15 sec.- aroma faded a touch but the taste is great, and back to that high mountain oolong flavor, SWEET with a long floral aftertaste that reminds my of the smell of my stargazer lilies.
4th 15 sec.- definitely work'n better for me with these quick infusions.

I think I'll wait to rate this until I give it a second go. It's very nice but in a class all it's own.
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby Poohblah » Nov 30th, '12, 11:13

It's been almost two weeks since I got the teas in the mail (thanks Chip!), but I've only had time to give each tea just one try. I haven't looked through the other comments yet. Here are my initial impressions -
Sae Midori - umami. Very green. Very fuka.
Oku Midori - umami. More mellow than the SM. roasted grains & veggies
Honyama Yokosawa Yabukita - Sweet & mellow, very delicious. Little bit grassy
Kamairicha - Has elements of both Chinese & Japanese greens, kind of weird, but enjoyable. Umami & nutty
Micro-fermented - Tastes of plums. Very surprising and very delicious!

Without a doubt I enjoyed the Honyama and the Micro-fermented the most the first time around. Time to look at what other people had to say...
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Re: OTTI 16 Thes du Japon, "French Sencha"

Postby AdamMY » Dec 1st, '12, 01:23

I have tried two so far.

First the "O" for Oku Midori.

Incredibly delicious, and incredibly drinkable. I was slightly distracted with work when I had it, but I couldn't find any sign of a major flaw, but I might not have been focused enough to detect a minor one. Either way it is definitely a Sencha I would look into drinking regularly.


Second: "M" For the microfermented.

My initial impressions were "Wow, interesting!" It honestly reminded me of a cross between a good green TGY and a Japanese Sencha. That being said my intial delight did not last long, by the 3rd infusion, I was sick of this new taste sensation, and it no longer intrigued me, and was almost making me sick. I will say I was on a bit of an empty stomach at that point, but usually sencha does not have that effect on me even on an empty stomach.

Verdict is, even though I am out, I think I should give it another try, perhaps smaller steeps next time.
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