Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Joel Byron » Jun 15th, '13, 23:07

Here are the rest of my thoughts on group 1, all fukamushi.

I've previously posted about the Sugimoto Hashiri, and I feel the same about it after the second brewing. It's nice, has some fruitiness, and is mild. I did better with the second steep this time.

O-cha Yutaka Midori: This is a bold and flavorful cup. Still very smooth, nutty, buttery, asparagus notes. There is something in the underlying flavor/aroma that I don't quite like, but I can't place it. Could be my brewing technique though, I'm relatively new to Japanese teas.

Den's Houryoku: This was probably my favorite from this group. It had a nice herbaceous flavor in the first infusion, with a honeysuckle aftertaste. The second and third infusions had a spaghetti squash flavor, with the same honeysuckle finish, but with some numbing of the tongue and lips. I've never experienced this in a green tea before. The aftertaste lasted for an hour at least.

Sugimoto Hachiju-Hachiya: This one had a nice balance of sweetness and astringency in the first infusion. The second and third were much of the same with the third leaning towards more astringency. The flavor reminded me of chewing on a piece of sugarcane, sweet and bitter at the same time.

Thanks to Chip, this is a pretty unique opportunity, especially for someone who doesn't have friends to drink with often. It's cool to have a "virtual" tea session with discerning tea folks.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Devoted135 » Jun 16th, '13, 16:55

I just got home after an extended family visit, and have been reading everyone's reviews with a mix of anticipation and jealousy. :mrgreen:

After all the posts about the (#31) Kondo-wase, it seemed like the right place to start. It didn't disappoint! The dry leaf aroma was stunning, and the floral flavor was both surprising and wonderful.

I went with 1.25:1 and no preheat.
185F 70s
170F 20s
185F 1m
185F 2m
...plus a few more because I never can stop before the tea is well and truly spent. :oops:

As always, thanks so much to Chip for this fantastic tasting opportunity! :D
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby MIKE_B » Jun 16th, '13, 17:02

Brewed Sugimoto's Hashiri the other day. I agree with what a few others have said about this one. It's pretty thin. My first session was a bit of a dud. It lacked any flavor at all. 5g in 150ml at 70ºc.
For my second run at this I brewed hotter, 85º. It was better. But still nothing very exciting.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 16th, '13, 19:19

Friday night I tried the Maiko Kinari. First thing I was struck by is how visually beautiful the leaves were, both dry and after steeping. The initial steepings had a strong nori/ocean flavor, which later subsided into a nice grassy flavor. It had a pleasant returning sweetness in the later steepings, as well, and I thought I detected a bit of a menthol note in the finish in the third and fourth steeps.

Maiko Kinari: 5g/4oz, unheated kyusu

1st: 90 sec @ 70C
2nd: 25 sec @ 71C
3rd: 90 sec @ 73C
4th: 3 min @ 76C
5th: 6 min @ 78C

This afternoon I tried the O-Cha Kirameki. This one started with a teeny bit of a yeasty flavor, and overall was very grassy. The first three steeps also had a wonderful peach note in the finish, which I loved. There was some astringency throughout, but it didn't detract from my enjoyment.

O-Cha Kirameki: 5g/4oz, unheated kyusu

1st: 90 sec @ 65C
2nd: 20 sec @ 67C
3rd: 90 sec @ 69C
4th: 3 min @ 71C

Overall, I'd have to put the Kondo-wase as the winner in the asamushi group, but I liked all of them quite a bit.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby teepo » Jun 17th, '13, 19:38

just returned from vacation and found a nice little package waiting for me :D


and since i have less leeway with brewing these teas given the limited amount... i think i'll place an order for a digital scale tonight. don't want to mess anything up :oops:
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby bambooforest » Jun 17th, '13, 21:37

When I was a child gum balls were my greatest passion.

You couldn't drag me out of the supermarket without first handing me a quarter and letting me stick a giant gum ball in my mouth. Hell, it wasn't that unusual that I'd binge on them and stick several in my mouth at once; you might as well have forced a tangerine up my mouth!

But as I outgrew the gum ball machine I started to realize there was a void in my life--nothing else could replicate the joy I had from upon exiting the supermarket getting a random ball of joy.

OTTI helped me realize there was indeed a way to fill in that sorely missed childhood memory, to once again experience the exuberance of sticking a quarter in a machine and getting a few moments of pleasure in return.

What I realized is that what OTTI really is... is the gum ball machine for grown ups!

How wonderful would it be if in every office building, grocery store and park there was a machine that you could stick a few quarters in and get 5 grams of tea in return for? How blissful would it be that after a long day of work, on your way home, instead of picking up a 48 ounce Slurpee from the 7/11, you simply stuck a few quarters in a machine and got a baggy of Yamakai shincha from Honyama.

I'm still holding out on a sencha machine... I mean Japan has vending machines for EVERYTHING imaginable, when will we get sencha machines too?

Until that day comes OTTI is as close as you'll get to the coveted sencha machine.... The beauty of the sencha machine is you just get a small amount of amazing teas from various prefectures : ) Save your quarters!

Enough about my chlidhood... onto my favorite teas from otti 18:

Top 3
:

1. Takumi from Zencha: Vibrant, complex, smooth Chumushi.

2. Kirameki from O-Cha: As elegant tasting as a tea can be and very grassy which is a flavor profile that I have not found from any other vendor but O-Cha.

3. Yamakai from Thes Du Japon. Just a great asamushi that's unique, resteeps really well, and is simply super delicious. It does have some oolong notes but not as much as the Kondo-wase.

I'll comment on the remaining teas but the above are my three favorite out of all contestants.

Sugimoto Hashiri: Not too shabby but I preferred their other shincha.

O-Cha YM: If you like sencha with a thick body, this is your tea. This stuff is syrupy and thick. Very good. However, for some reason, I've sorta lost interest in Yutaka-Midori and don't seek it out anymore. Though I'd like to try an organic version at some point.

Den's Houryoku: Very good Fuka. It's not plain, it's pretty elegant.

Sugimoto Hachiju Hachiya: Good solid fukamushi. Nothing crazy... not the most complex tea, but tasty, straight forward and enjoyable. Packs a good punch like I like my fuka's to do.

Sencha Kagoshima Sencha Super Premium from Zencha: Good. Less thick than the O-cha Yutaka Midori. They both have a great deal of merit.

Maiko Karigani: This stuff was pretty awesome. What a wonderful taste.

Kondo-wase: This sencha tasted a lot like gao shan. I really liked this one, but it's far from a typical sencha and has many oolong notes. The fact that you could steep this asamushi with such hot water was a definite plus. An unusual and meritorious tea indeed.

Den's Kunpu: Good, very well balanced asamushi.

Maiko Kinari: Very solid, traditional tasting asamushi. I liked this one a lot. And I actually have a bag of it in my fridge as I type.
Last edited by bambooforest on Jun 17th, '13, 21:49, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 17th, '13, 21:41

I’ve been meaning to post about #24, Zencha’s Takumi. This season I've had a few really fresh, rich, green sinchas, Zencha’s Takumi on the other hand has a light brothy umami, buttery sweetness with a pine needles background. Dry leaf has nicely formed shinny needles with a sweet fresh aroma. The green yellow liquor is cloudy with a sweet aroma. Takumi’s Gokoh cultivar is mostly used to make Gyokuro and imparts to this tea that special umami and smooth sweetness found in Gyokuro. A very pleasant lingering sweet flavorful palate. Similar in some respects to Maiko's Shincha Sencha Kinari although I think Zencha’s Takumi may be a bit richer and deeper.
Image
1st: 1.25:1/145F/70sec.
2nd: 155F/50, perfect, tasty, not bitter, very slight favorable background astringency. Even using sesame filter finer leaves pass through, so if you want to prevent this, a screen filter may hold back fine leaves more efficiently.
3rd: 170F/90
4th: stove top 5 second roll/4minute steep
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 17th, '13, 21:56

'gum balls' bambooforest great story, I can see colored balls rolling around the floor with you chasing after them. Can I ask what were your steeping parameters for #22 Thes du Japon Yamakai. It's the only one I haven't tried yet of my selections, and I see a few others have had issues with that one.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby bambooforest » Jun 18th, '13, 00:52

victoria3 wrote:Can I ask what were your steeping parameters for #22 Thes du Japon Yamakai.


If I recall correctly... 1g/1oz, around 158F, maybe 70 seconds.

The only thing I can say is that this tea is not light. It's what I would consider a stronger flavored asamushi... so keep that in mind when steeping.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 18th, '13, 03:31

bambooforest wrote:
victoria3 wrote:Can I ask what were your steeping parameters for #22 Thes du Japon Yamakai.

If I recall correctly... 1g/1oz, around 158F, maybe 70 seconds.

The only thing I can say is that this tea is not light. It's what I would consider a stronger flavored asamushi... so keep that in mind when steeping.

Thanks for posting, much appreciated. I'm curious,the vendor recommends;
4-5g/2.36oz/158-176F(70-80C)/60-75seconds
Do you enjoy your brews light? Or were their parameters too....? .... for you..
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby bambooforest » Jun 18th, '13, 04:59

victoria3 wrote:
bambooforest wrote:[quote="victoria3"
Thanks for posting, much appreciated. I'm curious,the vendor recommends;
4-5g/2.36oz/158-176F(70-80C)/60-75seconds
Do you enjoy your brews light? Or were their parameters too....? .... for you..


Well... 1 gram/1 oz has always been enough for me. Maybe I'm moderate in my brewing parameters. Though I can see the merit in going a little higher than that and I have before.

I never tried Thes Du Japon's paramaters... but if you look at all their teas, they recommend exceedingly high tea to water ratios. I would think that if you used their parameters tea would be rather intense and potentially bordering on bitter. I'm not sure that's for everyone, but it's certainly for some. Personally, I just seek a legitimate strength of flavor and leave it at that. But, no, I never tried Thes Du Japon's paramers, but I will one of these days to just to see what it's like.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 18th, '13, 12:24

I tried the Thes du Japon Yamakai this morning. I was interested to try out this one since it is billed as pesticide- and fertilizer-free. I found it an interesting experience. I liked it quite a bit, found it very smooth and rich, nice flavor, if a teeny bit finicky with the brew--I pushed it too far in the third steep and it became extremely bitter, moreso than any of the other teas I've tried so far in this OTTI. But it was interesting in that while I liked it, there wasn't anything I could point to as standing out, like a particular flavor or scent that I could pick out as being different. Rather, my impression was "this tastes like sencha." Like, this was taking the base sencha flavor and presenting a really refined version of it. Very nice.

5g/4oz, unheated kyusu

1st: 60 sec @ 70C
2nd: 20 sec @ 71C
3rd: 90 sec @ 72C

By the way, I think I more or less have a handle on what asamushi and fukamushi mean, the former being lightly steamed and less broken, the latter being deeply steamed and very broken. But for "normal steamed" or "medium steamed" senchas I've seen both the terms chumushi and futsumushi, and I can't figure out if these are completely interchangeable terms or if there is some shade of nuance between them that I'm missing.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 18th, '13, 22:09

saxon75 wrote:.....By the way, I think I more or less have a handle on what asamushi and fukamushi mean, the former being lightly steamed and less broken, the latter being deeply steamed and very broken. But for "normal steamed" or "medium steamed" senchas I've seen both the terms chumushi and futsumushi, and I can't figure out if these are completely interchangeable terms or if there is some shade of nuance between them that I'm missing.

Sax's I've only heard of chumushi, which refers to a medium average steaming and is between asamushi and fukamushi. I understand steaming can be pretty fluid and dependant on the farmer/producer/cultivar so there are variables between levels of asamushi, chumushi, fukamushi.

edit: I see Thes du Japon refers to their Honyama Yamakai as a 'Futsumushi (normal-steamed) sencha' so it is probably the same thing as chumushi or better it is between chumushi and asamushi since the leaves are not broken up and have nice big needles. I'll post a picture I took today.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 18th, '13, 22:25

I never asked, but I equated Futsumushi with "traditional steamed" which I figured to be asamushi.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 18th, '13, 23:48

Chip wrote:I never asked, but I equated Futsumushi with "traditional steamed" which I figured to be asamushi.

Are you saying asamushi is more traditional than chumushi? From what I've read (less than you I'm sure) chumushi is the base line, norm, average from which asa and fuka are measured. It would be interesting to know more about the history of steaming in Japan.

edit: I see Thes du Japon intermixes Futsumushi with Asamushi making them the same? "A refined standard steamed sencha from Miyakonojô in Miyazaki. ....The aromas and flavors are changing at each brewing as only a great futsumushi/asamushi sencha can do."
Last edited by victoria3 on Jun 19th, '13, 02:21, edited 2 times in total.
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