Sencha for people who don't like umami

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Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby Milo » Jun 12th, '13, 14:26

I don't like umami in my sencha. Just not my thing. My ideal sencha is sweet (saccharide-sweet, not amino-sweet), a little grassy, with a clean mineral aftertaste— and little to no umami. The closest I've come is Yuuki-cha's Kagoshima Kirishima Zairai asamushi, which unfortunately seems to have been a one-off and not a perennial offering.

Looking back at the teas I've most (and least) enjoyed, it seems that I prefer the organic, lighter-steamed senchas and certain karigane-rich Japanese green blends such as O-cha's Sakura Sencha.

I share all this because it seems that modern tastes (more umami! more steaming!) have made it hard for us umami-haters to find our preferred sencha. With my closest candidate no longer available, I have to ask: any sencha recommendations for tea drinkers like me?

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby rdl » Jun 12th, '13, 14:44

milo,
i am not sure if this is what you have in mind, but have you tried something like this sencha-matcha blend?
http://www.denstea.com/sencha-sencha-ex ... 70_92.html
i've not had den's but it seems to fit your taste needs.
good luck in your search.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby Evan Draper » Jun 12th, '13, 14:51

Sencha without umami? Next you'll be asking for tea without caffeine! :lol:
I prefer asamushis too but don't tell anybody!

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby saxon75 » Jun 12th, '13, 15:11

Does it have to be sencha? Because Maiko's karigane is pretty amazing, IMO--at least, the 2013 shincha karigane is. Buttery and sweet, not too much umami.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby bambooforest » Jun 12th, '13, 15:16

Not sure if you partaked in otti... but here is an asamushi that didn't strike me as having that much umami though I could be wrong and I think on some level umami is open to interpretation:

http://www.thes-du-japon.com/index.php? ... cts_id=185

However, this tea doesn't have a typical taste either... perhaps a little more fruity than your typical sencha. This is, however, a pretty potent tea and not light in flavor.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby ethan » Jun 12th, '13, 16:05

It might be easier to ask for any tea that gives you flavors you want & avoids what you do not want. There may be a Chinese green tea or there might be a green oolong..... I have had oolongs (gaoshans) that are close.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby Poohblah » Jun 12th, '13, 17:41

bambooforest wrote:...I could be wrong and I think on some level umami is open to interpretation:
Actually, umami is well-defined and can be analyzed quantitatively: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Umami

:wink: though of course that does not mean your suggestion is wrong; that tea I'm sure is relatively low in umami; maybe some people will have more sensitivity to umami.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby Remick » Jun 12th, '13, 18:18

TDJ's Kondo-wase

http://www.thes-du-japon.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=182

This is one of the selections in the shincha OTTI. Brewed relatively hot and light, it's sweet and very floral. No asparagus, spinach, nori, marine, or vegetable savoriness in this one. There is one caveat, I didn't (still don't) find it easy to brew. It's either fantastic or... not so great.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby Milo » Jun 12th, '13, 18:20

Poohblah wrote:I'm sure is relatively low in umami; maybe some people will have more sensitivity to umami.


An excellent point. With all of my interest in the biological basis of cognition and behavior, I can't believe I hadn't considered that.

rdl wrote:milo, i am not sure if this is what you have in mind, but have you tried something like this sencha-matcha blend? (http://www.denstea.com/sencha-sencha-ex ... 70_92.html) i've not had den's but it seems to fit your taste needs. good luck in your search.


Interesting! That does resemble Yuuki-cha's Kirishima Zairai quite a bit. Thanks for the tip.

bambooforest wrote:Not sure if you partaked in otti... but here is an asamushi that didn't strike me as having that much umami though I could be wrong and I think on some level umami is open to interpretation: (http://www.thes-du-japon.com/index.php? ... cts_id=185)

However, this tea doesn't have a typical taste either... perhaps a little more fruity than your typical sencha. This is, however, a pretty potent tea and not light in flavor.


Oh, I love a potent sencha. That's been the one tradeoff with asamushi: the flavor is fantastic, but I often find myself using more leaf than with other, deeper-steamed senchas. It's kind of like a well-engineered music recording: the dynamic range is outstanding, but you often need to turn up the volume to appreciate the nuances.

Anyway, that Yamakai asamushi sounds very tasty. The promise of a 'fruity' note has me hovering my cursor over 'Add to Cart'.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby bambooforest » Jun 12th, '13, 18:51

Milo wrote:Anyway, that Yamakai asamushi sounds very tasty. The promise of a 'fruity' note has me hovering my cursor over 'Add to Cart'.


I interpreted it as having something akin to fruitiness. It didn't strike me as a typical asamushi and is a little exotic.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby debunix » Jun 12th, '13, 20:44

Count me in as another member of the Asa over Fuka club.

Scouting my tea ratings on Steepster (note to self: should keep those up more regularly--they're handy for queries like this), my top ratings for sencha have been

Yuuki-Cha's Honyama Shincha
Yuuki-Cha's Shizuoka Sayamakaori
O-Cha's Warashina suprem
and
Yamakai Sencha, an unusual offering from Norbu that has not been repeated.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby David R. » Jun 13th, '13, 06:17

While umami doesn't bother me, I actually like a lot sencha which have none. You want to look for sencha grown without any kind of fertilizer what so ever, organic or not. Here are two specific sencha I can think of that may please you :

- Uji Jubuzan Sencha form Hojotea : barely no umami at all and delicious,
- last year's Hon.Yama Yokosawa from Thés du Japon was very poor in umami. I haven't tried the 2013 version yet but I'd bet it is still the case.

In any case, don't be afraid to write to these two sellers. I am sure that they will help you in your search.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby Milo » Jun 14th, '13, 17:43

David R. wrote:While umami doesn't bother me, I actually like a lot sencha which have none. You want to look for sencha grown without any kind of fertilizer what so ever, organic or not. Here are two specific sencha I can think of that may please you :

- Uji Jubuzan Sencha form Hojotea : barely no umami at all and delicious,
- last year's Hon.Yama Yokosawa from Thés du Japon was very poor in umami. I haven't tried the 2013 version yet but I'd bet it is still the case.

In any case, don't be afraid to write to these two sellers. I am sure that they will help you in your search.


Another TeaChat member also recommended Hojo Tea. Revisiting his site, I can see why— Akira Hojo seems to believe strongly in slow-grown, lightly-steamed sencha, stems and all. I think I'll start my search with him.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby edkrueger » Jun 14th, '13, 18:07

I think there are a few things I think are not true in this thread:
1) Umami is a trait of particularly modern teas.
2) Fukamushi has more umami.
3) Fertilized use leads to more umami.

I don't exactly have answers to why I think these are wrong though.

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Re: Sencha for people who don't like umami

Postby bambooforest » Jun 14th, '13, 19:23

edkrueger wrote:I think there are a few things I think are not true in this thread:
1) Umami is a trait of particularly modern teas.
2) Fukamushi has more umami.
3) Fertilized use leads to more umami.


1) I could see this actually being true because modern fertilizers can increase the umami more than natural fertilizers.

2) This I agree with; I believe asamushi is more umami heavy.

3) I suspect this is true but I wouldn't have a problem with being wrong about it.

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