Over the past few days I revisited four more samples: the Kinari, the Karigane, the Houryoku, and the Yutaka Midori.
I did the Kinari cooler this time, and while it came out sweeter and less bitter, I think I found it somewhat less interesting than the first time.(5g/4oz, unheated kyusu, 90 sec @ 59C, 30 sec @ 63C, 90 sec @ 66C)
I kept the Karigane at more or less the same temperature but lengthened the initial steep. The flavors seemed the same, though, oddly, I found that the texture wasn't quite as full and buttery. Even so, it still really hit the spot, so I went ahead and ordered half a kilo. (5g/4oz, unheated kyusu, 90 sec @ 69C, 30 sec @ 73C, 90 sec @ 76C)
I took the Houryoku cooler as well, and found it much more pleasant. The first cup hit my tongue immediately with a flavor something like rice, that turned into something more like steamed vegetables a few seconds after swallowing it. Then the finish was very fruity, like ripe cantaloupe. As I progressed through the session the rice/grain note disappeared but the melon note stayed, with a nice sweetness. Very nice. (5g/4oz, unheated kyusu, 60 sec @ 61C, 20 sec @ 64C, 60 sec @ 66C, 2 min @ 69C)
The YM I kept the initial steep the same but shortened the subsequent steeps in order to try to control the bitterness that I got in the first go-round. It worked out better this time, the same bold, deep flavor in the first steep but with the subsequent ones being more delicate. Such an intriguing tea--it really makes me stop and take notice. I don't think I could drink it every day, but man it's really something. (5g/4oz, unheated kyusu, 40 sec @ 76C, 15 sec @ 77C, 45 sec @ 81C, 90 sec @ 84C)