Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 11th, '13, 22:43

MIKE_B wrote:It tasted a little yeasty to me.


That's the word I was looking for. Yeasty.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 11th, '13, 23:12

victoria3 wrote:
Chip wrote:....One other thing, between steeps, make sure to tap the back side of the Kyusu against your palm a few times until 90% or more of the leaves break away from the screen.

Make sure you are holding the Kyusu by the front (spout) part of the body, not the handle.

Then pour the next batch of water across the screen dislodging the rest of the leaves. This way you get a "fresh screen" ... otherwise you will likely clog up on a successive steep.

I also use the "tap the back side of the Kyusu against your palm" technique to clear the filter, although I always use two hands; one hand holding the front of the kyusu handle, the other hand to tap against with an open palm. I've never needed to hold the spout, that sounds structurally awkward to me.

Or, did you mean; you cup one hand around the spout and front body of the kyusu and tap against your other open palm? Like cupping the kyusu with both hands, but the hand around the spout moves and taps.

I meant, in my right hand, I hold the front/spout side actually with the spout between the thumb and index finger. And then move the kyusu slowly into my left hand palm. I actually do this with all Japanese teas.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 12th, '13, 01:27

Tonight I tried out the Sugimoto Hashiri. My main impression was that while it was certainly pleasant enough, there wasn't anything there that wowed me. The smell of both the dry leaf and the liquor was very nice, the dry leaf having a very sweet, fruity scent, and the liquor having a robust richness to the scent. But it was just kind of OK to taste. There was a medium umami, and the suggestion of fruit in the finish, but I agree with the way hopeofdawn put it: I wouldn't go out of my way for this one.

5g/4oz in an 8-oz preheated kyusu.
1st: 60 sec @ 73C
2nd: 30 sec @ 75C
3rd: 90 sec @ 79C

The second and third steeps did get a bit astringent, so I imagine backing off the time or temperature would be good.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby rhondabee » Jun 12th, '13, 17:01

So far I've tried the Maiko Karigane, which was sweet and smooth. Very nice tea. I next tried the Zencha Takumi, which I only recall was pleasant. I didn't take any notes.

I am now on my third steep of The Du Japon Yamakai. I used a preheated pot and used cooler temperatures of 140-145 for the first 2 steeps. I loved the sweet/savory scent of the leaves, both dry and wet. The first steep was a nice balance between sweet and umami. The second steep was a little less sweet, but still good. Really sweet aftertaste. 3rd steep is a little thinner, but very nice with little astringency.

So far I'm off to a great start :D
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Joel Byron » Jun 12th, '13, 20:59

I tried the Sugimoto Hashiri today. The smell of the dry leaf is very nice, with some fruitiness I can't really place, but very pleasant. The first infusion(5 g/140ml/77 C/40 sec) was pretty clear, with very little sediment. The fruitiness was in the aroma of the liquor too. Nice flavor and body. I may have oversteeped the second infusion as it was very dark opaque green with lots of sediment. This infusion was good but strong! I got a total of 5 infusions, with the fruit most apparent in the flavor on the 4th.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 13th, '13, 13:15

I tried the Zencha Takumi this morning. The first steep was exceptionally smooth, not even a whisper of bitterness or astringency. It tasted like roasted nori to me, perhaps with a hint of sesame seeds? And throughout the session there was a nice returning sweetness.

Unfortunately, I did something wrong in the second steep and it quickly developed a strong astringency that lasted the rest of the session. In the fourth and fifth steeps I tried cutting the time back but I mostly just ended up with a weak brew.

5g/4oz, preheated kyusu
1st: 60 sec @ 60C
2nd: 20 sec @ 63C
3rd: 45 sec @ 64C
4th: 60 sec @ 65C
5th: 2 min @ 67C
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Poohblah » Jun 13th, '13, 22:13

Alright, here are my notes for the Fukamushi flight. I started with what I guessed would be the least enjoyable group for me, since I tend to prefer a lighter steam to my Japanese greens.

For the most part I agree with what others have posted so far. I believe I had some kind of brewing troubles, as I found many of these selections to be less enjoyable than I expected or than others have found them to be. I am glad to see they mostly worked out well for other participants. Or maybe it is simply the case that these do not taste as good to me because I've been in a bit of a bad mood for the past couple weeks. ;)

For all samples I used about 5g of leaf in about 150mL of water. I used the same kyusu for all of these - a wonderful little Tokoname pot by Gyokko. I listed the time and temperature for the first steep, with the second steep being slightly hotter but much shorter, and every subsequent steep increasing in both time and temperature. Hopefully nothing unusual in that respect.
  • 11 - Sugimoto Hashiri
    170˚F+, 40 seconds
    Thin, not quite balanced, a bit heavy towards veggie flavors. A bit finicky (possibly I needed to fiddle a bit more, as others seem to like this selection more than me). Like the other Sugimoto offering, I thought this one needed relatively hot and short steeps. My favorite out of the two Sugimotos, neither of which I found to be very compelling.
  • 12 - O-Cha Yutaka Midori
    170˚F, 45 seconds
    Rich, full-bodied, heavy on umami and sweet fruity flavors, but balanced between the two, and aromatic. Though it is not my favorite fuka I have ever had, this is what I think of when I think of fukamushi sencha. I followed Chip's brewing recommendations here, though I personally think this tea won't stand a much hotter or longer brew. Easily my favorite of the fuka selections. I was a little surprised that this was the richest, thickest fuka selection this year; I guess I was unconsciously expecting something like last year's O-Cha Sae Midori among this flight :)
  • 13 - Den's Houryoku
    150˚F, 45 seconds
    I don't have much of a taste memory for this one, but my notes say this was a bit heavy towards umami flavors and I had trouble tempering bitterness. However I thought it was smooth and not unpleasant. I could not get the flavor to last more than three steeps. I agreed with Chip that it needed cooler water than the others, though I found yet cooler to be better.
  • 14 - Sugimoto Hachiju Hachiya (aka "88 nights")
    185˚F, <30 seconds
    Lacked body; thin; a bit bitter, but also sweet. Thick, murky, brothy liquor; the fine, powdery leaves can easily clog filters if you are not careful. My least favorite of the fuka samples. I couldn't get my usual cool water approach to sencha to work for this tea, so I tried hot and short instead, which seemed to work much better. Even so, I couldn't get this one quite right. I think I need more time with this tea to get it right, but from what I've tasted so far, I haven't found anything worth coming back to.
Once again, an ENORMOUS thanks to Chip for putting on a Shincha OTTI for this year :mrgreen:

I'm going to dive into the chumushi/miscellaneous flight right away and I'll post notes later. I'll be less rigorous with these selections, since they don't seem to all fall into the same category.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 13th, '13, 23:50

Den's Houryoku tonight. This one didn't really work out for me. There was an interesting menthol note in the first steep, the flavor otherwise being generally vegetal. But the second steep turned quite astringent even though I tried to dial it back, and the third was just a mess. Maybe next time I'll go even cooler.

5g/4oz, preheated kyusu
1st: 40 sec @ 70C
2nd: 10 sec @ 70C
3rd: 60 sec @ 70C
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 14th, '13, 00:23

saxon75 wrote:Den's Houryoku tonight. This one didn't really work out for me. There was an interesting menthol note in the first steep, the flavor otherwise being generally vegetal. But the second steep turned quite astringent even though I tried to dial it back, and the third was just a mess. Maybe next time I'll go even cooler.

5g/4oz, preheated kyusu
1st: 40 sec @ 70C
2nd: 10 sec @ 70C
3rd: 60 sec @ 70C

If you are preheating, I would suggest going cooler.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 14th, '13, 01:23

It seems like preheating would mainly affect the first steep, since I don't preheat subsequently. (I'm not even sure how I would go about doing that, especially since my impression was that I wanted to let the leaf cool in between steeps.) But the first steep I get is almost invariably the best one.

I'll definitely give it a shot, though.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Poohblah » Jun 14th, '13, 02:38

I too thought the Houryoku was better with cooler water.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby AdamMY » Jun 15th, '13, 14:34

Finishing up a session of #13. Nice tea, but I could not make it sing today. It may have partially been my mood/ as I have a horrible allergy headache right now, the tea is helping to make it better, but still not feeling top notch.

This tea is a spout clogger so be careful when pouring, and if you are into swamp water(in appearance not taste) fukamushi this one is for you!
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Remick » Jun 15th, '13, 19:20

saxon75 wrote:This afternoon I tried the Maiko Karigane. This was my first experience with a kukicha, and I think it may be my new favorite Japanese tea.
There were hints of pine and fruit in the flavor, with a nice sweetness
Poohblah wrote:Like Chip, I'll post my notes later on. But I did want to take the time to agree with saxon. The Maiko karigane was astounding; in fact I consider it to be significantly better than many of the "pure-blooded" senchas included in this flight.
I found this tea to have a nice nuttiness mixed with the buttery, sweet flavors of asamushi. I thought it was medium-bodied with a bit of umami as well.
victoria3 wrote:Today I tried Maiko's Shincha Karigane and I agree with Poohblah & Saxon that it is a very pleasant brew.


Please forgive the wall of quotes but I I agree with all of you. The only note I would make is instead of "pine" I found it to be more like juniper (as in Gin). Yeah I know, semantics. With that said, regardless of the description this tea is very impressive.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 15th, '13, 22:02

Remick wrote: ... instead of "pine" I found it to be more like juniper (as in Gin). Yeah I know, semantics. With that said, regardless of the description this tea is very impressive.

I will second the Juniper versus Pine.

After I brew and pour, I have been sticking my sniffer into the Kyusu (for all Japanese teas actually). Actually, I close my eyes which seems to intensify aroma and aid in appreciating and enjoying the depths of aromas.

The first through third steep, I envisioned I was in the midst of a Juniper forest, quite intense with the leaves after second steep being the most aromatic. Although even after 5 steeps, I could still pick up the juniper aroma quite readily.

For all these Shincha, I would definitely encourage you to open the kyusu after pouring and smell the brewed leaves, especially after the first steep or two! Since I have not been preheating the Kyusu as of later, I guess I began doing this as a substitution for the "must sit down moment" that smelling the warming, dry leaves stimulates.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 15th, '13, 22:06

AdamMY wrote:Finishing up a session of #13. Nice tea, but I could not make it sing today. It may have partially been my mood/ as I have a horrible allergy headache right now, the tea is helping to make it better, but still not feeling top notch.

This tea is a spout clogger so be careful when pouring, and if you are into swamp water(in appearance not taste) fukamushi this one is for you!

#13 being Den's Houryoku.

Due to the size of this OTTI, please go ahead and post the vendor and selection name (and number if you want to).
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