Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18


"Official Tea Tasting Initiative" Teas shared & discussed.

Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 18th, '13, 23:50

OK, so after treading lightly and getting some advanced input on steeping parameters from bambooforest and saxon, I took pesticide and fertilizer free #22, Thes du Japon Honyama Yamakai for a dip. It did not disappoint with its very rich aroma and deep lingering flavors. This Hon Yama sincha is a mountain tea grown along the foggy banks of the Abe River. Fog filters out the light making the leaves higher in theanine and therefore sweeter.
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The Yamakai cultivar is also used to make gyokuro and the beautiful unbroken needles have a sweet aromatic perfume. I seem to be getting better at these close ups with my wide angle lense

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I'm also inaugurating my new chamfered Banko tea set for this brew.

Weighing various leaf to water ratios proposed- 1:1, 1.25:1, the vendors 1.7 - 2.1:1 I decided to go somewhere between and divide my 20grams into 3 portions of 6.66 grams resulting in;

1st _1.66:1/158/65, nice rich flavor, pleasant background astringency with an unusual flavor palate of eucalyptus pine needles? Liquor clear yellow. Interesting tackiness from dry astringency. Next time try 1.5:1/158/60.

2nd _168/45, upps went to 55, strong brew, but very nice indeed. I could see backing off a little bit.

3rd _178/2:30, wet leaf continues to have an interesting aroma- eucaliptus in a sauna? Liquor continues to have a pleasant astringency and deep flavor.

4th _190/3, upps got 183F it cooled down too fast. I let it go to 4min+ still has plenty of flavor.

5th _poured boiling water into pot/5+ min steep. Flavor still rich.
6th _stove top 5sec roll/5min steep,to a perfect ending,
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 19th, '13, 11:45

victoria3 wrote:
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."


Just based on my limited Google search, it seems there's some confusion, at least among sites in English. They pretty much all translate both chumushi and futsumushi as something like "normal steamed," "medium steamed," or "regular steamed"--though, of course, "medium" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as "normal" or "regular." But there seem to be about an equal number of pages out there which say that futsumushi is the same as chumushi and which say that it is the same as asamushi. So at this point I throw my hands up and move on. ;)

This morning I tried the last of my main-round OTTI samples, the Sugimoto Hachijyuu Hachiya. I decided to disregard all the advice of those who had gone before me and try cool-ish temperatures at a 1:1 ratio, and I was immediately forced to admit the errors of my foolish ways. The first steep was thin and watery, perhaps a little sweet but with little real flavor and next to no body. The subsequent steeps developed some clean astringency that was not unpleasant, but there still wasn't much going on.

5g/5oz, unheated kyusu

1st: 60 sec @ 70C
2nd: 30 sec @ 73C
3rd: 90 sec @ 76C
4th: 3 min @ 79C

It's interesting, I've used exactly half of the sample for each of these teas, expecting that I would come back around to each of them for a second try. But as I've finished my first pass through, I'm finding that my mind is really sticking on a few of them--particularly the Karigane, the Kondo-wase, the Yutaka Midori, and the Yamakai--and I have little interest in re-attempting the others. I hate to waste the tea, though, so I expect I will use it eventually, but I'm not feeling extra-motivated to revisit all of them right away.

I still have my bonus sample, which came in an oolong baggie labeled "Tenjo." I have no idea what to do with it, but it appears to be a fukamushi, so I suppose I'll give it a shot with what I seem to have settled on as my standard sencha parameters.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 19th, '13, 12:43

You should do the second go around. Second attempts can be revealing as you have gained experience from the first attempts. There are some really nice selections in the groups that are not on your list.

Tenjo is indeed Fukamushi. Brew at around 158* for up to a minute. I go 1.25:1
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 19th, '13, 12:49

The Yamakai labeled as Futsumushi is clearly Asamushi ... it is a more old world traditional manufacture.

Normal, as I figured is traditional which is Asamushi. Fuka and Chu are more modern inventions ... relatively speaking.

[EDIT: ADD] However, I guess normal is not a good term to have to rely on as it leaves too much to interpretation! :idea: Traditional on the other hand has a degree of clarity. Traditional steaming is almost always asamushi unless a vendor is clueless ... which is quite conceivable.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby MIKE_B » Jun 19th, '13, 12:56

Chip wrote:You should do the second go around. Second attempts can be revealing as you have gained experience from the first attempts. There are some really nice selections in the groups that are not on your list.

Tenjo is indeed Fukamushi. Brew at around 158* for up to a minute. I go 1.25:1


With previous OTTIs I have used half the sample in a "first round" tasting then went back and used the second half of the sample for a second go round.
This time I am brewing my samples in two sessions back to back. After making corrections with the taste of the first still on my lips, I am finding I can greatly improve my enjoyment on some of these.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 19th, '13, 13:01

Good idea, I like many others are so variety focused that back to back of the same selection requires discipline that I generally lack. :mrgreen:
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Running for Tea » Jun 19th, '13, 13:45

Chip wrote:Good idea, I like many others are so variety focused that back to back of the same selection requires discipline that I generally lack. :mrgreen:

I started off back to back same selection, but after a few teas the other bags begged to be opened :lol:
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby AdamMY » Jun 19th, '13, 13:54

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Zencha Shincha by Adam Yusko, on Flickr

Enjoying Selection 21 one of the Zencha Shincha's. I am honestly not sure if the water in this part of Michgan is a lot better, or if the harvests this year really were stellar compared to the last few years. Just about every Shincha I have from this offering comes out spectacular.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 19th, '13, 13:58

Chip wrote:You should do the second go around. Second attempts can be revealing as you have gained experience from the first attempts. There are some really nice selections in the groups that are not on your list.


Yeah, I'm definitely planning to revisit them all. Also, just to clarify a bit, I enjoyed almost all of these teas, and the sessions I didn't enjoy I chalk up to me having screwed up the brewing. When I point out that only a few of them really grabbed me, I only mean that these are the ones that really dazzled me, that I find myself thinking about in between sessions. Personally, I'd say that 4 out of 12 is quite a lot to do that.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby shinobicha » Jun 19th, '13, 15:13

I have yet to try them all, but I have had 4 so far . . .

Den's Houryoku - actually I found this underwhelming this year; last year was stellar and I wished I had bought more than 80g. It is still actually solid, with the strongest point being a likeable aftertaste, but it didn't quite reach my expectations.

O-cha Kirameki - surprisingly consistent with previous years; a lot of umami yet balanced. Not my favorite asamushi; but still good.

Zencha Kagoshima - while I found the roasting (hi ire) too strong, this tea had amazing texture. Even by the 3rd/4th steep, it was still enjoyable simply due to the mouthfeel.

TDJ Yamakai - wow, this really impressed me. I have often been impressed by this vendor's mid-level teas ($12 - $20/100g).
This was like a standard Honyama sencha, but with menthol, mint, or eucalyptus. The aroma (even creating that mouthfeel that mint does) lasted even through 3 infusions.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 19th, '13, 18:12

saxon75 wrote:
victoria3 wrote:
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."

Just based on my limited Google search, it seems there's some confusion, at least among sites in English. They pretty much all translate both chumushi and futsumushi as something like "normal steamed," "medium steamed," or "regular steamed"--though, of course, "medium" doesn't necessarily mean the same thing as "normal" or "regular." But there seem to be about an equal number of pages out there which say that futsumushi is the same as chumushi and which say that it is the same as asamushi. So at this point I throw my hands up and move on. ;)
......

Chip wrote:The Yamakai labeled as Futsumushi is clearly Asamushi ... it is a more old world traditional manufacture.

Normal, as I figured is traditional which is Asamushi. Fuka and Chu are more modern inventions ... relatively speaking.

[EDIT: ADD] However, I guess normal is not a good term to have to rely on as it leaves too much to interpretation! :idea: Traditional on the other hand has a degree of clarity. Traditional steaming is almost always asamushi unless a vendor is clueless ... which is quite conceivable.

OK, there is a reply to the question regarding the meaning of Asa-mushi versus Futsu-mushi (mushi meaning steamed) here, from Florent at Thes du Japon's blog. He says, “Futsu-mushi and Asa-mushi mean the same thing, a Japanese tea steamed for 30 seconds.” And if I am interpreting correctly, the confusion comes about as a result of professionals complaining about how terms where being used. Asai"浅い means shallow and for some a 30 second steam does not mean shallow but rather is normal so they prefer the term "futsu"普通which means "normal", "regular".
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby saxon75 » Jun 20th, '13, 11:55

Just had my first session with the Tenjo. Wow, this is an interesting tea. There's a hint of clean astringency with a grassy sweetness, but what really stood out to me all the way through was this nice, cooling mint flavor, and a returning sweetness in the mouth after I drank it. And it seems to go on forever. I took it through five steeps and it still seemed to have plenty left in the tank--I only stopped because I ran out of time. I don't know if this could be one I'd drink often--especially since it seems not to be easy to come by--but definitely this is one I could see for those special occasions or times when I can really sit and contemplate my tea.

5g/4oz, unheated kyusu
1st: 60 sec @ 70C
2nd: 20 sec @ 73C
3rd: 60 sec @ 76C
4th: 2 min @ 79C
5th: 4 min @ 79C
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 20th, '13, 12:27

saxon75 wrote:Just had my first session with the Tenjo. Wow, this is an interesting tea. There's a hint of clean astringency with a grassy sweetness, but what really stood out to me all the way through was this nice, cooling mint flavor, and a returning sweetness in the mouth after I drank it. And it seems to go on forever. I took it through five steeps and it still seemed to have plenty left in the tank--I only stopped because I ran out of time. I don't know if this could be one I'd drink often--especially since it seems not to be easy to come by--but definitely this is one I could see for those special occasions or times when I can really sit and contemplate my tea.

5g/4oz, unheated kyusu
1st: 60 sec @ 70C
2nd: 20 sec @ 73C
3rd: 60 sec @ 76C
4th: 2 min @ 79C
5th: 4 min @ 79C

Well, readers may be wondering, "What Tenjo?" Tenjo was a private stash that I sent to bonus recipients who seemed to like Fukamushi. (this will also be offered shortly via NOTTI 3 ... stay tuned. I do not want to distract from the OTTI round)
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby Chip » Jun 20th, '13, 12:35

Thank you again everyone who has participated and/or posted about their experiences in this Shincha-OTTI round! This was thrilling to put together and share with fellow TeaChatters. Keep your posts coming!

While I will be posting soon regarding my experiences as well, I will say this ... broke out the Kondo-wase from Thés du Japon yesterday ... brewed it a tad cooler, around 178*. Bam. This is a magical selection. The aromas coming off the steeped leaves were out of this world. Obviously not an everyday tea, but being able to purchase 50 grams makes this ideal for a few special sessions during the week.
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Re: Shincha OTTI 2013 AKA OTTI 18

Postby victoria3 » Jun 20th, '13, 14:25

Thank You Chip for putting these together. Your selections are always really interesting and add breath and scope to my evolving tea adventures.
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