OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby victoria3 » Apr 3rd, '13, 15:36

debunix wrote:First try with #3--first gyokuro in a long time, period. Doing per Chip's recommendation--5g for 60 mL ... Intense and amazing--strengthening of the umami more than I usually prefer, but it is also bringing out something else that is quite nice--an almost floral note among the ocean and sweet spring peas, but still, I'll try the next one shorter, for a less intense brew, and see how that works for me.

debunix it is interesting to read your taste experience. I did a second tasting of #3, using the updated parameters, and was really pleased to find a well proportioned, complex flavor palate that lingers nicely. Much more engaging and memorable, leading me to want to try it again.
O-Cha's-Gyoku_Hou-5g-2oz_Uji-Kyoto.jpg
O-Cha's-Gyoku_Hou-5g-2oz_Uji-Kyoto.jpg (42.91 KiB) Viewed 800 times

1st steep: 5gr/ 2oz/ 130F/ 90sec: lime green liquor, super interesting, mild background astringency that adds depth, lingering flavor palate, sweet, mellow but not boring, artichoke notes?, slight vegetal, warmth...smooth rich soft flavors, medium/ full body.
2nd Steep: 140F/ 60 sec : like 1st but richer, cloudier, smooth, Unami lingering palate, sweet upper palate.
3rd Steep: 150F/ 2min : slight metallic background (but not brassy), slight astringency, nutty warmth, background upper palate Umami lingers in upper palate. My upper palate is in a state of lingering joyful meditation.
4th Steep: 160F/ 3min : liquid clearer, sweet, slight astringency

Bottom Line: Really rich Gyokuro, very well proportioned, nice umami and flavorful lingering palate.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby victoria3 » Apr 3rd, '13, 16:37

Chip wrote:
victoria3 wrote:...any opinions regarding Kyoto taste parameters and traditions versus other parts of Japan? Am I correct in inferring Kyoto traditions lean towards lighter more subtle zen tasting experience? or .....

I don't think we can generalize based upon region in this regard.
I find each Uji/Kyoto vendor seems to have their own parameters.

This line of thought has me thinking, on a parallel track, about various regions of Japan and different cultivars used for Gyokuro production. In this OTTI we have samples of Gyokuro from their 3 most famous growing regions; Yame-Fukuoka, Uji-Kyoto, and Asahina-Shizuoka.

I'm wondering if teas from these different regions of Japan exhibit distinct and unique regional characteristics. Do variations in geography, soils, microclimates, and particular cultivars/breeds make a noticeable difference in the taste experience? Or does the farmer/producer/vendor bring more significant variations in character to each tea.

Common Gyokuro Cultivars by Region are:
Yame (Fukuoka); Cultivars: Yabukita, Okumidori, Saemidori, Tsuyuhikari
Uji (Kyoto); Cultivars: Yabukita, Okumidori, Samidori, Gokou, Komakage, Uji-hikari
Asahina (Shizuoka) Cultivar: Yabukita

I have read that these 3 areas are all located at similar altitudes between 50-300 meters. My guess is variations in the region, the cultivar, the farmer, and the vendor all play an important and unique role in the resulting character of each tea.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby edkrueger » Apr 3rd, '13, 17:05

I remember reading some claim by a tea farmer that Gyokuro taste has very little to do with region and cultivar and a lot to do with processor and farmer. He also claimed that sencha has the taste of region and cultivar.

Sorry, that I don't remember where is read this. I think it circulated around here at one point, maybe someone else has it.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby debunix » Apr 3rd, '13, 18:39

victoria3 wrote:
debunix wrote:First try with #3--first gyokuro in a long time, period. Doing per Chip's recommendation--5g for 60 mL ... Intense and amazing--strengthening of the umami more than I usually prefer, but it is also bringing out something else that is quite nice--an almost floral note among the ocean and sweet spring peas, but still, I'll try the next one shorter, for a less intense brew, and see how that works for me.

debunix it is interesting to read your taste experience. I did a second tasting of #3, using the updated parameters, and was really pleased to find a well proportioned, complex flavor palate that lingers nicely. Much more engaging and memorable, leading me to want to try it again.


It's important to keep in mind, when reading my notes, that I generally prefer my teas quite light/dilute on average. My overwhelmed is probably 'just right' for the average TCer.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Apr 3rd, '13, 18:51

edkrueger wrote:I remember reading some claim by a tea farmer that Gyokuro taste has very little to do with region and cultivar and a lot to do with processor and farmer. He also claimed that sencha has the taste of region and cultivar.

Sorry, that I don't remember where is read this. I think it circulated around here at one point, maybe someone else has it.

I do not buy into this (regarding Gyokuro) not being affected by region and cultivar ...

victoria3 wrote:
Chip wrote:
victoria3 wrote:...any opinions regarding Kyoto taste parameters and traditions versus other parts of Japan? Am I correct in inferring Kyoto traditions lean towards lighter more subtle zen tasting experience? or .....

I don't think we can generalize based upon region in this regard.
I find each Uji/Kyoto vendor seems to have their own parameters.

This line of thought has me thinking, on a parallel track, about various regions of Japan and different cultivars used for Gyokuro production. In this OTTI we have samples of Gyokuro from their 3 most famous growing regions; Yame-Fukuoka, Uji-Kyoto, and Asahina-Shizuoka.

I'm wondering if teas from these different regions of Japan exhibit distinct and unique regional characteristics. Do variations in geography, soils, microclimates, and particular cultivars/breeds make a noticeable difference in the taste experience? Or does the farmer/producer/vendor bring more significant variations in character to each tea.

Common Gyokuro Cultivars by Region are:
Yame (Fukuoka); Cultivars: Yabukita, Okumidori, Saemidori, Tsuyuhikari
Uji (Kyoto); Cultivars: Yabukita, Okumidori, Samidori, Gokou, Komakage, Uji-hikari
Asahina (Shizuoka) Cultivar: Yabukita

I have read that these 3 areas are all located at similar altitudes between 50-300 meters. My guess is variations in the region, the cultivar, the farmer, and the vendor all play an important and unique role in the resulting character of each tea.

I do buy into this ...
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby edkrueger » Apr 3rd, '13, 19:55

I'm not sure one way or the other. Do you remember seeing that article, Chip?
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Apr 3rd, '13, 20:05

edkrueger wrote:I'm not sure one way or the other. Do you remember seeing that article, Chip?

Not presently. I will try to remember, but it is too late in the day for assistance from gyokuro. :mrgreen:
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby victoria3 » Apr 4th, '13, 01:00

Chip wrote:
edkrueger wrote:I remember reading some claim by a tea farmer that Gyokuro taste has very little to do with region and cultivar and a lot to do with processor and farmer. He also claimed that sencha has the taste of region and cultivar.....

I do not buy into this (regarding Gyokuro) not being affected by region and cultivar ...

victoria3 wrote:My guess is variations in the region, the cultivar, the farmer, and the vendor all play an important and unique role in the resulting character of each tea.

I do buy into this ...

I am reading an interview with a tea producer from Saitama Prefecture (north of Tokyo) that Thes du Japon profiles, Hiruma Yoshiaki. ‘http://japaneseteasommelier.wordpress.com/2012/04/16/interview-with-hiruma-yoshiaki-innovation-and-the-fragrance-of-tea-at-saitama/

He is speaking about teas in general and says “Tea’s flavor is largely dependent on the way the tea plant is grown, but the fragrance is determined after picking, when the tea is processed.” Then, when he is asked what is special about teas from his area, he replies "Since the same cultivars and also the same machines are used everywhere in Japan, I think that regional differences among teas have been reduced. I think that it would be good to do as in Kagoshima, and grow cultivars that are typical of the region, using appropriate farming and processing methods. However, today in Saitama, nothing like this is having any major impact. The only thing is what is known as “Saitama bi-ire” (-a form of roasting, the final drying stage for tea), but it is originally a hand-roasting method, and when it is done by machine, the same thing can be achieved anywhere that the same machine is used."

Basically, he is saying that cultivars & machines are similar in many regions of Japan blurring regional distinctions, that flavor is dependent on how tea is grown and fragrance determined after picking when it is processed.
Last edited by victoria3 on Apr 4th, '13, 02:20, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chip » Apr 4th, '13, 01:27

It could be that a melting pot effect is occurring to a degree, but clearly Uji, Yame, and Shizuoka teas have their own character. It could be that this differentiation is dimininshing to a degree ... let's hope not too much!

... an example ... Yutaka Midori is always best from Kagoshima. But even the best tea can be ruined during manufacture ... or enhanced and become ... precious jade.

So, I would still say that today cultivar, growing region, farmer/practices, blender/manufacturer, and even the vendor all come together to create unique selections. Sometimes it seems to me that I can try 20 teas in a season and they are all present differences, no two are alike.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby victoria3 » Apr 4th, '13, 02:07

Chip wrote:It could be that a melting pot effect is occurring to a degree, but clearly Uji, Yame, and Shizuoka teas have their own character. It could be that this differentiation is dimininshing to a degree ... let's hope not too much!

... an example ... Yutaka Midori is always best from Kagoshima. But even the best tea can be ruined during manufacture ... or enhanced and become ... precious jade.

So, I would still say that today cultivar, growing region, farmer/practices, blender/manufacturer, and even the vendor all come together to create unique selections. Sometimes it seems to me that I can try 20 teas in a season and they are all present differences, no two are alike.

Like you, Hiruma Yoshiaki also says that Kagoshima produces regionally distinct cultivars with 'appropriate farming and processing methods'. He is speaking through his own filter, that of ‘a hand-rolling (temomi 手揉み) artist… renowned for his senchas produced using a wilting technique that creates fragrance new to Japan’. He goes on to say that innovation and traditional manual rolling/roasting can make a place distinct.

I am fascinated by the potential activity between post-steamed lingering enzymes and bacteria as a result of hand rolling. What might be happening during the 2-3 month rest period of gyokuro prior to distribution...
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby Chesslover » Apr 4th, '13, 07:41

Yesterday I was pleasantly surprised, as I found package in my post box...that was very fast...as I recall previous OTTI's, I always received teas when the majority of posts have been already written

I tried #1 first - as recomended by Chip (5g in 2 oz.)...1st steep 125 deg. F for 60 sec., 2nd steep 135 deg. F for 20 sec., 3rd steep 145 deg. F for 50 sec.,...I agree temperature is very important with this one - 1st steep was not bitter at all, but with increased temperature in consequent steeps bitterness was more obvious.

Apart from bitterness I enjoyed this gyokuro - nice taste, vegetal, sweet, reminded me of camomile tea (or some other floral scent), very long and pleasing aftertaste + you can get a lot of steeps (it looses in strenght, but slowly). Next time I will brew it with lower temps (smaller increments in temperature betwwen steeps).
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby debunix » Apr 5th, '13, 01:11

I tried gyo #3 again today--not a completely blind testing, but I've managed to forget which one it was--and this time I did it with tea-wimp friendlier parameters: 2 grams of tea

Image

to about 60-70 mL water in my little glazed teapot,

Image

and drinking from this Greenwood Studios cup that just seems perfectly elegant for gyokuro.

Image

So….less leaf, and I'm in heaven, or my tastebuds are.

60", 130 degrees
the floral, fruity aroma of the dark green leaves--like the tart notes in my favorite dark chocolaes--are borne out in the first amazing sip of tea. Sweet, rich, tastebuds are dancing with the play of flavors. Bits of grassy and hardly a hint of peas, and no detectable bitterness.

10" 140 degrees
loving this--very similar to the first infusion in character

30" 150 degrees
some portion of my mind, that remembers a grim budgetary review yesterday, is cry in out in distress, as tastebuds sing out: I love gyo, I love gyo! In my first and only previous experience with gyokuro, when I was still very new to chinese tea, I remember an umami and briny taste, and that is there here someplace, but here it takes a back seat to a more honeyed sweetness and floral notes that are just perfect. At this infusion I am starting to alternate nibbles of a very fine chocolate with the tea, trying to given the chocolate flavor a chance to clear before more sips of tea, and the resulting bliss is just amazing.

Image

45" 160 degrees
Still sweet, deep, and I am loving this.

I think there were 2 more infusions, without notes on times/temps, before notes resume.

Supposed to be 2 minutes, 190 degrees, but ended up as 5 minutes
Still delicious, glad I made this happy 'mistake'--sweet, losing depth/richness, but the longer infusion kept it a few steps above sweet water. Mmmm.
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby puerhking » Apr 5th, '13, 17:56

I have ran though all four....treating them the same....2.5g leaf to 50ml water. 110* first then increments of 10* up to fourth or fifth infusion. I like to do this to get a base line. All of them were quite nice in their own way....2 and 4 stood out on the first round.

Honestly, I was kind of hoping that I wouldn't love gyokuro and could be on my way....keeping one more expensive tea off my radar. This did not turn out to be the case. It's depth and long finish make it rather wonderful and fascinating. I'm hooked.

Thanks a lot Chip...... :lol:
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Re: OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby JRS22 » Apr 5th, '13, 20:10

puerhking wrote:Honestly, I was kind of hoping that I wouldn't love gyokuro and could be on my way....keeping one more expensive tea off my radar. This did not turn out to be the case. It's depth and long finish make it rather wonderful and fascinating. I'm hooked.

Thanks a lot Chip...... :lol:


I had the opposite problem. I already knew I loved gyokuro but I was hoping to discover mid- to low- priced gyos that appealed to me. Instead my reaction to each session was: good, but not great like my more expensive gyos.

But I suppose thanks to Chip are in order because now I don't need to order 100 gram bags of these gyos just to eliminate them.
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OTTI 17, AKA GY-OTTI 1

Postby debunix » Apr 5th, '13, 20:31

puerhking wrote:I have ran though all four....treating them the same....2.5g leaf to 50ml water. 110* first then increments of 10* up to fourth or fifth infusion. I like to do this to get a base line. All of them were quite nice in their own way....2 and 4 stood out on the first round.

Honestly, I was kind of hoping that I wouldn't love gyokuro and could be on my way....keeping one more expensive tea off my radar. This did not turn out to be the case. It's depth and long finish make it rather wonderful and fascinating. I'm hooked.

Thanks a lot Chip...... :lol:


Someone else in the same boat as me.....!!!
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