saxon75 wrote:......I'm used to sencha tasting kind of clean and grassy.
........About 5g of leaf in an 8 oz, preheated kyusu. Water at 70C. 1st infusion 1 min, 2nd infusion 10-15 sec, 3rd infusion 30 sec.
Brewing this way I don't notice much difference between these two teas, but more than that, they don't taste much like I remember sencha tasting. Rather than tasting grassy, they taste like soup. Very savory, umami flavor, a bit salty, kind of like nori or maybe miso broth. I hardly even recognize them as tasting like tea.
I guess what I'm curious about is whether this is a characteristic of the teas I'm choosing, and better tea would be different. Or whether perhaps I'm brewing them completely wrong. I've been interested in trying out some of this year's shincha, but if they're going to be much like these cheaper teas I've been trying, I figure I might as well save my money....
To get “clean and grassy” flavor palate you will need to get higher end senchas or gyokuros, or better start pre-ordering 2013 sinchas, a discussion is going on now at; viewtopic.php?f=6&t=18404
My sencha parameters, more or less depending on the sencha, and keeping in mind I tend to go for full body flavors;
This can vary between .75-1:25 grams leaf: per 1 ounce water (30ml) and I try shorter or longer brewing times to tweak the results. I've developed my own unorthodox way of checking if my steep is ready to pour; when I think the tea might be ready, I smell the pot, give the liquor a stir and taste the liquid dripping off a tiny spoon. This tells me if it's time to pour. I then pour into a small cup to pre-taste.
saxon75 wrote:Thanks for the tip, Victoria. I visited Nijiya Market yesterday and found their selection to be pretty comparable to Mitsuwa and Marukai, but it's nice to have options. I tried two more somewhat more expensive senchas that agreed with me much better: Ito-En Kanayamidori and Orita-En Okumidori. Interestingly, both seemed to have the same basic profile, but with more balance and complexity.
Just to see if I was remembering wrong, I went back and used one of the Shirakata Denshiro sencha teabags I keep at work, and, sure enough, although it did have a bit of that salty flavor, it was mostly grassy with little umami--much different from the four loose-leaf senchas I mentioned here. So either there's that much variation between teas or else the different brewing style makes that much of a difference.
I don't know Shirakata Denshiro Sencha so can’t compare and I’ve only had Orita-En’s, Tokujo Fukamushi Sencha from Chiran,Kagoshima (which is really fantastic) so also can’t comment on Orita-En’s Okumidori. Also, keep in mind it is the end of last seasons teas so they may be a little old. I just steeped Ito-En’s Kanayamidori and didn’t find it to be very grassy or vegetal in the way I love, but it's not bad either. But then my palate right now is spoiled because yesterday I enjoyed both O-Cha’s Uji Sencha Otsuusan (17$ 3.5oz) http://www.o-cha.com/green-tea/uji-sencha-otsuusan.html
and then Zencha's Gyokuro the Ultimate (50$ 3.5pz) http://www.zencha.net/products.php
. As you can see the price points are higher! I'd say load up on 2013 sinchas and if you are not going to pre-order, the local markets will eventually supply their own versions. I still have from Nijia Market some of Maeda-End's 2012 New Crop Shin-Cha Green Tea (15$ 3.5oz) and it is still wonderfully fresh and green tasting.