Steaming / Taste / Astringency


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Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Noonie » Jan 7th, '14, 15:39

I've recently been drinking a lot of "deep steemed" fukamushi tea, started with some from Den's and then O-Cha; it's my favorite tea (especially in the morning). I like how it tastes stronger, though less bitter (is that astringency?).

I've tried several different types of light and medium steemed sencha, though I haven't found one that I really like. I find the taste, in comparison to fukamushi, is more bitter (sharp) on the tounge, though I still like the aroma, finish, etc.

I know I haven't given a lot of detail here, but what would you say it is that I don't like about the lighter steemed sencha? Is it the level of astringency, the degree of 'grassiness' in the flavor? Or something else...

I've had two cups of Uji Sencha Miyabi from O-Cha and while I like it, I find it a little bitter and not nearly as good, to me, as the Kagoshima Sae Midori. I like variety and enjoy having different types of tea throughout the day, or depending on my mood. I'm trying to find a tea to enjoy mid morning at work (after I've had fukamushi in the morning). I usually drink oolong or long jing later in the day/night.

Edit: I should have added, on O-Cha's website they list the Kagoshima Sae Midori as having mild astringency and the Uji Sencha Miyabi as medium astringency...which is why I believe it's the astringency that I don't like.

Thanks.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Chip » Jan 7th, '14, 16:31

Well, there is bitterness and then there is astringency. This confused me for a few years when I began drinking tea seriously ... there was not the abundance of info available as there is today.

Bitterness is clearly one of the tastes that our taste buds pick up. A gbood sencha will have a nice balance level of bitterness. Too little and the tea can taste flat and too much can be an unpleasant experience.

Astringency is more of a sensation ... kind of a dry feeling which is common to many teas.

Sae Midori is a rather mild cultivar that is very low in bitterness and astringency. I think Miyabi is maybe a blend including Yabukita cultivar (?)which is going to be generally higher in both than Sae Midori.

Generally asamushi is harder to brew than chumushi which is harder to brew than fukamushi ... IMHO ... in terms of nailing it. And if you miss with an asa you will likely know it more so than with a fuka. IMHO.

I would say ... perhaps asa in general is more bitter than fuka ... but all rule of thumbs are full of exceptions in the realm of tea.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Kevangogh » Jan 7th, '14, 21:54

It sounds to me like all you need to do is brew these at a little lower temperature...
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Chip » Jan 7th, '14, 23:00

Kevangogh wrote:It sounds to me like all you need to do is brew these at a little lower temperature...

Agreed ...
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Peacock » Jan 7th, '14, 23:47

Asamushi sencha can be a charm too, once you try some good ones. Plus the steaming is just one aspect of the tea, and then their is all the different cultivars as well that can make a tea bitter or astringent. Some less, some more.
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Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby debunix » Jan 8th, '14, 05:15

This bitterphobe adores asamushi over fuka because the brininess gets to me more than the bitter-- I can manage the bitter with attention to brew temps and dilution if I overbrew, but there's no solution to similarly mute the briny sea flavors of fuka to let the more floral sweetness shine through.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Noonie » Jan 8th, '14, 07:08

Thanks for the tips.

This morning at work, using a hot water dispenser on a bunn coffee machine, I let the water cool for a bit and it was much, much better. No bitterness, and I think what I'm tasting with respect to astringency is there, but is also not a bad thing. I don't have a thermometer at work (at home I have a bonavita temp kettle). I'm really digging sencha lately :P

Debunix - you're right about the briny sea flavours--great description--but I like that taste!
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby eyvind » Jan 8th, '14, 11:13

When I started at my current job, I tried to use the hot water tap on the bunn coffee machine for brewing tea. First the water quality was suspect as the machine was hooked up to the municipal water with an inadequate filter. This was was evident in the mineral crust around the spout :shock:
Second when I measured the temperature, I noticed there was a wide range (from 180 to 200 f) depending on the heating cycle. Since there was a lack of reliability, I began heating water in the microwave but I gave up due to how much time it took. I think I will bring the bonavita to work since office sencha is essential.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby MEversbergII » Jan 8th, '14, 12:42

I use the microwave. We have municipal tap at home as well as the office, so I bring in jugs of spring water. Something about the tap both sours the tea (yes, sours) and gives most types a really strange texture. It coats the tongue and is pretty unhappy.

There's a communal kettle in the mess, but it's always full of tap and I don't know what the underside of the coils are like.

With a 250ml kyusu, I can take sencha and have it in less than five minutes. Start microwaving the water (2 minutes does it on this microwave), measure the sencha, pour it in the pot, pour water, steep for 60 seconds. Same with kukicha (2.25 minute microwave) or bancha (which gets 3.5 minutes microwaved - boiling - and 30s steep).

M.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Kevangogh » Jan 8th, '14, 20:08

Using the microwave to heat water is not a good idea either, it will make the tea taste flat because of the extra oxygen released from the water.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby MEversbergII » Jan 9th, '14, 14:18

I don't buy that. I don't see how heating water with microwaves would be any different than heating from a pot or kettle.

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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Chip » Jan 9th, '14, 14:31

MEversbergII wrote:I don't buy that. I don't see how heating water with microwaves would be any different than heating from a pot or kettle.

M.

It definitely can be different. I can only speak in layman's terms, but unused microwave energy often remains since the water itself/alone cannot absorb it all. Sometimes when I would then drop leaves or a tea bag into the water, the microwave energy would seemingly, wildly attack the leaves creating a sort of fizzing or abrupt boil around the leaves. The result was a bitter brew no matter what tea I was making.

Allowing the water to sit a minute or so would likely avoid this phenomenon.

What microwaving does or does not do to the water itself, I will leave to the experts.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby MEversbergII » Jan 9th, '14, 14:50

The water has superheated. This is caused by a lack of nucleation sites in your boiling vessel. Put a chopstick (or some other easily retrievable, microwave safe object) in and there will be no explosion.

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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Chip » Jan 9th, '14, 14:58

MEversbergII wrote:The water has superheated. This is caused by a lack of nucleation sites in your boiling vessel. Put a chopstick (or some other easily retrievable, microwave safe object) in and there will be no explosion.

M.

That too would work, but I have not had the need to mic water for tea in almost a decade. I remember when this happened, I thought, whoa, cool! :mrgreen:

I can understand the need to heat/boil water in a mic when there is no alternative, but there are better ways to do so. In addition to problems mentioned, water picks up odors/flavors very easily ... such as from a microwave.
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Re: Steaming / Taste / Astringency

Postby Kevangogh » Jan 11th, '14, 20:06

MEversbergII wrote:I don't buy that. I don't see how heating water with microwaves would be any different than heating from a pot or kettle.

M.



I didn't buy it either, until I brewed one pot of kabusecha using water from the microwave next to another pot of kabusecha using water that was boiled on the stove. The kabusecha using stove boiled water had a nice foam on the top, the water from the microwave was flat. Something having to do with the amount of oxygen released from the water when you microwave it. Yes, there is indeed a difference.
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