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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by jayinhk » Dec 7th, '16, 22:07

Drinking 2015 Sanxia biluochun. The fresh green aromas and flavor are mostly gone and the tea brews up much differently now than when fresh, but it's not unpleasant. It seems to have oxidized some. Nice huigan and almost black tea-like notes. I didn't know this was possible! Chinese and Taiwanese green teas seem to age better than sencha and gyokuro, IMO, which seem to make me nauseous with a little age. The pan fried stuff either loses its flavor or...morphs into something else entirely.

I intend to buy much less green tea at a time, however, as it doesn't store well and tends to fall off fast. That and I find I need variety in my tea consumption. I can't drink the same tea every day!

Dec 14th, '16, 17:45
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Teaarch » Dec 14th, '16, 17:45

Just finished the last of Tsuen's Aoi sencha by way of O-cha. One of the best sencha's I've had recently, and easily O-cha's top tea, in my opinion. However, just like the Watsuka sencha, this tea was definitely not a straight sencha; it certainly shaded somewhat, though maybe not quite as much as the Watsuka one.Though this one really didn't taste like a sencha or a gyokuro. Instead, this tea has a unique flavor that I've never quite tasted before in a tea. Very pleasant. I could probably drink this stuff all day.

It's a strange tea, because though it's cheaper than the San no Ma, or the Watsuka sencha, it out classes them both. The San no Ma, from what I recall, was kind of a standard non shaded yabukita. That's basically saying if you've had uji-cha before (from anywhere really) you've most likely tasted the San no Ma, or something similar. And the watsuka was more like a lite gyokuro, which was pretty good, and it could still be brewed like a sencha (hotter), but it wasn't something I really look for in a sencha.

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Dec 20th, '16, 00:42
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by debunix » Dec 20th, '16, 00:42

Teaarch wrote:Just finished the last of Tsuen's Aoi sencha by way of O-cha. One of the best sencha's I've had recently, and easily O-cha's top tea, in my opinion. However, just like the Watsuka sencha, this tea was definitely not a straight sencha; it certainly shaded somewhat, though maybe not quite as much as the Watsuka one.Though this one really didn't taste like a sencha or a gyokuro. Instead, this tea has a unique flavor that I've never quite tasted before in a tea. Very pleasant. I could probably drink this stuff all day.
My palate is not nearly sophisticated enough to suggest shading vs not shading, but it is a marvelous sencha, and sadly, I am again out of it until the next order.Sigh....

Dec 20th, '16, 05:37
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Noonie » Dec 20th, '16, 05:37

I ordered a handful of Sencha from Thes Du Japon recently; I'm on my first tea - Sencha from Mimasaka: Ryôfû cultivar. At a very modest price I was blown away by the intense flavour of this tea. Most senchas have that really fresh scent, as this one does, but the initial sips took that fresh grassy smell and transferred it flawlessly into the liquor. The first steeping was excellent (70c for 1:20), one of this years best cups. The 2nd, much shorter steep (:20) was not as good but still highly enjoyable. The third steep was like a fading memory of the first as the flavour started to fade. Next session I will brew shorter on the first two to see if I can leave more goodness in the cup for the third.

Dec 21st, '16, 01:29
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Teaarch » Dec 21st, '16, 01:29

Finished the last of Tsuen's Taiko-San matcha, the highest priced matcha they have on O-cha. It took me a while to get used to this tea, to dial it in so to speak -- with koicha, or any tea really, I notice that I am more receptive of the flavor if I'm drinking it alone in complete silence, concentrating on the intricacies of the flavor, if you will.

It's quite a good matcha, which is nothing less than I expected for the price -- but was it worth the price? which is quite expensive for 30g, considering there are much cheaper options out there for koicha, and for 40g at that. I don't know. I really did enjoy it, though. Very full flavor, and it lasted quite long too. However, I still don't think the tea was at its peak. Usually I've found that matcha, even more so than some senchas, benefits from storage, longer than the six or so months they give it before release.

But if you're a connoisseur of koicha, or matcha in general, then, yes, I'd say give it a shot.

Noonie wrote:I ordered a handful of Sencha from Thes Du Japon recently; I'm on my first tea - Sencha from Mimasaka: Ryôfû cultivar. At a very modest price I was blown away by the intense flavour of this tea. Most senchas have that really fresh scent, as this one does, but the initial sips took that fresh grassy smell and transferred it flawlessly into the liquor. The first steeping was excellent (70c for 1:20), one of this years best cups. The 2nd, much shorter steep (:20) was not as good but still highly enjoyable. The third steep was like a fading memory of the first as the flavour started to fade. Next session I will brew shorter on the first two to see if I can leave more goodness in the cup for the third.
This was one of my favorite teas this year. Quite a surprise, given the price, and easily the best I've ever had in that range. I'm looking at my notes for brewing it now, and the first thing I remember that is written is that a part of the tea's flavor is somewhat subtle. This could indicate a bad tea, or a bad year for a tea, but for this one I think it was just right. It was sweet and delicate, with thick feeling in the mouth, like a broth consistency almost. The thickness (umami?) disappears with the second brew, but the sweetness remained.

Anyway, for how I brewed it, I went quite long on the first two brews, 176f for 66, and 186f for 50 on the second. This also left me with some trouble for the third, but I think I went hotter (205f at 4:30) and was able to get a good third brew without much if any astringency. I usually don't go for a 4th steep, which is why my times for the first three are usually so long.
debunix wrote:
My palate is not nearly sophisticated enough to suggest shading vs not shading, but it is a marvelous sencha, and sadly, I am again out of it until the next order.Sigh....
My palate probably isn't either, though all the gyokuros I've had have had a unique taste and smell that's hard to mistake for sencha. The scent, much different from sencha, is more vegetal to me, reminiscent of something like spinach (the Japanese compare it to seaweed), and while sencha can get dark, gyokorus are a noticeable shade darker than sencha, a very dark green.

Also, Florent, the tea master who selects the teas for Thes-du-japon, has suggested many times in his blog that most teas from Uji go through a shading process regardless of whether they're listed as having done so or not. I'm a big fan of Uji-cha, and I was honestly somewhat surprised by the assertion, since as far as I could tell I had never had a tea that tasted any different than a 'normal' sencha (I did try one he said was shaded for only four days, and I couldn't tell any difference). These are the first two teas (the watsuka and the Aoi) I've had that made me think there's something behind that claim, since they both were noticeably more gyokuro like then any sencha I've ever had (the watsuka much more than Aoi). I've never had a kabusecha before, and I'm wondering if that's sort of how that's supposed to taste, though I guess it all depends on the tea.

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Dec 21st, '16, 04:40
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Tead Off » Dec 21st, '16, 04:40

Teaarch wrote:
debunix wrote:
My palate is not nearly sophisticated enough to suggest shading vs not shading, but it is a marvelous sencha, and sadly, I am again out of it until the next order.Sigh....
My palate probably isn't either, though all the gyokuros I've had have had a unique taste and smell that's hard to mistake for sencha. The scent, much different from sencha, is more vegetal to me, reminiscent of something like spinach (the Japanese compare it to seaweed), and while sencha can get dark, gyokorus are a noticeable shade darker than sencha, a very dark green.

Also, Florent, the tea master who selects the teas for Thes-du-japon, has suggested many times in his blog that most teas from Uji go through a shading process regardless of whether they're listed as having done so or not. I'm a big fan of Uji-cha, and I was honestly somewhat surprised by the assertion, since as far as I could tell I had never had a tea that tasted any different than a 'normal' sencha (I did try one he said was shaded for only four days, and I couldn't tell any difference). These are the first two teas (the watsuka and the Aoi) I've had that made me think there's something behind that claim, since they both were noticeably more gyokuro like then any sencha I've ever had (the watsuka much more than Aoi). I've never had a kabusecha before, and I'm wondering if that's sort of how that's supposed to taste, though I guess it all depends on the tea.
I"m wondering at what point does a sencha becomes a kabusecha? Usually, I don't care for Kabusecha in the same sense that I like sencha and gyokuros. I also wonder why a farmer decides to create a kabusecha instead of letting them be senchas or gyokuros? Is it just diversifying their offering? I don't see an advantage to doing it unless they feel that creating a kabusecha will improve the sencha. Would that imply that the sencha is perhaps not so good and needs a bit of mellowing? I'd like to hear what Florent has to say on this subject.

Maybe I'll try the Mimasaka on my next order.

I also generally prefer teas not from Uji although there are probably some exceptions to this. I find the Shizuoka teas have a lot of diversity and quality that I cannot consistently get from Uji teas. The Koshun from the Tsukiji estate from TdJ is a real winner for me. The balance of bitterness is perfectly present and makes for a very tasty brew. I usually get 5 full flavored brews out of this.

Dec 21st, '16, 06:10
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Noonie » Dec 21st, '16, 06:10

Teaarch wrote:Finished the last of Tsuen's Taiko-San matcha, the highest priced matcha they have on O-cha. It took me a while to get used to this tea, to dial it in so to speak -- with koicha, or any tea really, I notice that I am more receptive of the flavor if I'm drinking it alone in complete silence, concentrating on the intricacies of the flavor, if you will.

It's quite a good matcha, which is nothing less than I expected for the price -- but was it worth the price? which is quite expensive for 30g, considering there are much cheaper options out there for koicha, and for 40g at that. I don't know. I really did enjoy it, though. Very full flavor, and it lasted quite long too. However, I still don't think the tea was at its peak. Usually I've found that matcha, even more so than some senchas, benefits from storage, longer than the six or so months they give it before release.

But if you're a connoisseur of koicha, or matcha in general, then, yes, I'd say give it a shot.

Noonie wrote:I ordered a handful of Sencha from Thes Du Japon recently; I'm on my first tea - Sencha from Mimasaka: Ryôfû cultivar. At a very modest price I was blown away by the intense flavour of this tea. Most senchas have that really fresh scent, as this one does, but the initial sips took that fresh grassy smell and transferred it flawlessly into the liquor. The first steeping was excellent (70c for 1:20), one of this years best cups. The 2nd, much shorter steep (:20) was not as good but still highly enjoyable. The third steep was like a fading memory of the first as the flavour started to fade. Next session I will brew shorter on the first two to see if I can leave more goodness in the cup for the third.
This was one of my favorite teas this year. Quite a surprise, given the price, and easily the best I've ever had in that range. I'm looking at my notes for brewing it now, and the first thing I remember that is written is that a part of the tea's flavor is somewhat subtle. This could indicate a bad tea, or a bad year for a tea, but for this one I think it was just right. It was sweet and delicate, with thick feeling in the mouth, like a broth consistency almost. The thickness (umami?) disappears with the second brew, but the sweetness remained.

Anyway, for how I brewed it, I went quite long on the first two brews, 176f for 66, and 186f for 50 on the second. This also left me with some trouble for the third, but I think I went hotter (205f at 4:30) and was able to get a good third brew without much if any astringency. I usually don't go for a 4th steep, which is why my times for the first three are usually so long.
I just started drinking matcha a few months ago so I'm cautious with how much I spend. I have three unopened tins from O-Cha that I'll be starting on soon. Once I develop my palate further I'll explore some of the higher cost offerings.

I've never brewed beyond the third steeping for sencha. I like your idea of a hotter and longer third steeping, however, I currently have this Sencha at my work where I'm relying on a hot water dispenser from a coffee machine (thankfully it's filtered, but not much above 85c I would guess).

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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by jayinhk » Dec 21st, '16, 06:28

Drinking the highest grade of Vietnamese Thai Nguyen Tan Cuong green I've ever had--almost all tips. Sweet, smooth, beany like longjing, and interesting fruity flavors I can't quite put my finger on. Delicate and light huigan. I actually prefer this tea to the Shifeng longjing I've been drinking this year!

This tea has very light bitterness. Almost all very small tips. Really amazing tea, and nice and clean. Big pot brewing is definitely the way to go with Vietnamese greens (that's how the locals have consumed it for centuries)!

After letting the leaves brew longer, I'm getting a note that is exactly like sweet potatoes...not unpleasant, but interesting!

I walked into a tea company's sole retail outlet in Hanoi. I was in the area visiting a tea company that produced (TERRIBLE) Vietnamese ripe pu erh. The worst I've ever had. I saw the other store on my way there, and stopped in on my way back to my hotel. I wasn't expecting much, as I've had a lot of cheap and acceptable Thai Nguyen green tea. I noticed their highest grade was pricier than I'd seen elsewhere, and that they specialized in Thai Nguyen tea, as you'd expect in the north of Vietnam. I asked to try some tea, and they got someone who spoke English on the phone. They would only let me try a tea bag. I've been drinking Vietnamese green tea for several years now and the teabag alone was better than pretty much all the other Thai Nguyen tea I'd ever had, so my curiosity was sparked, and I bought some of their highest grade to try (they didn't have the grade I'm drinking in stock at the time). That tea blew away all the other Thai Nguyen tea I'd had out of the water!

Fast forward to 2016--I got in touch with the company and told them I'm in the tea business now and would like to carry their tea. I told them I only wanted a few kg to test the market with. They asked me for my address and sent me several kilos of three of their highest grade teas, gratis, to test the market with! I really love their teas and I think other people will too :)

Dec 21st, '16, 23:48
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Teaarch » Dec 21st, '16, 23:48

Tead Off wrote: I"m wondering at what point does a sencha becomes a kabusecha? Usually, I don't care for Kabusecha in the same sense that I like sencha and gyokuros. I also wonder why a farmer decides to create a kabusecha instead of letting them be senchas or gyokuros? Is it just diversifying their offering? I don't see an advantage to doing it unless they feel that creating a kabusecha will improve the sencha. Would that imply that the sencha is perhaps not so good and needs a bit of mellowing? I'd like to hear what Florent has to say on this subject.
I think the official time is 12 days of shading -- different from gyokuro, about 45 to 50 percent shaded only -- for it to be considered a kabusecha, then again, I'm guessing it also varies depending on taste whether to consider it a kabusecha or not. I suppose variety plays a part, but apparently the tea either tastes more like a gyokuro or a sencha. I would definitely like to hear Florent's take on this as well; in fact, there might be an old entry on his blog that explains it. I'll have to look it up.

But at a guess, I think the shading can be used to ameliorate the problems with a bad sencha. From what I've seen, gyokuros and matchas aren't affected as much from a bad year as senchas are. I suspect this is precisely because of the shading, since the sun and weather no longer plays as big of a role, the plant taking most of its nutrition from the large doses of fertilizer the farmers use for these teas.
Tead Off wrote:Maybe I'll try the Mimasaka on my next order.

I also generally prefer teas not from Uji although there are probably some exceptions to this. I find the Shizuoka teas have a lot of diversity and quality that I cannot consistently get from Uji teas. The Koshun from the Tsukiji estate from TdJ is a real winner for me. The balance of bitterness is perfectly present and makes for a very tasty brew. I usually get 5 full flavored brews out of this.
About the Uji teas, all that is definitely true, from what I've had at least. The lack of diversity in Uji teas is partly the cultivar -- usually, yabukita is the main cultivar for Uji teas (and all of Japan in general), though I've been surprised by Uji teas grown in different areas (say Wazuka vs Ujitawara) that still show a lot of diversity despite being yabukita; however, there's still a similarity that can be found in each.

What's very pleasant about Shizuoka teas is the rich variety of different cultivars, each lending their own unique brand to the tea world -- sofu, yamakai, ryofu, okuyutaka, and koshun, just to name a few. The one cultivar you mentioned, the koshun, is one I've taken a particular liking to of late. The one I had from Tenryu last year was one of the best teas I've ever had, right up there with the Tobetto, and the one I recently had from Asamiya was very good as well.

Dec 22nd, '16, 09:46
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Noonie » Dec 22nd, '16, 09:46

I just finished a session with Sencha from Mimasaka: Ryôfû cultivar, and this time I pushed the third steeping to 3:30 and it was excellent. So glad for this community and the tips one learns!

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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by ethan » Dec 25th, '16, 14:44

Tried some excellent green tea at Wang Tea co. today. Delicate, delicious flavor, w/ very light body. Special & unfortunately, expensive. Watched preparation & seems that water was hotter than what I use for green tea & time of steeping much quicker. (As usual, I have been using much less leaf)

At hostel now I am using more leaf, higher heat, & much less time on the green I got last October from Lin Mao Sen. It is closer to what I had a Wang's today w/ this preparation. Excellent. (Jay was right about higher temp. if I make other adjustments)

Dec 27th, '16, 13:36
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by ethan » Dec 27th, '16, 13:36

Sampling green tea at Dr Chen: They were using water that was very close to boiling. I asked for a lower temperature because I feared I might miss a tea that I liked. Was accommodated.

After not liking a couple of teas that the older son said were the shop's best, I suggested we don't work down from the shop's best, but start w/ the worst.

He had a good laugh at himself when he discovered he liked one of the cheap ones when he prepared it w/ less leaf & lower temperature. He did not enjoy the one I prefer, #41, saying that if a tea is that delicate he might as well drink water. The vegetal, fresh green flavor comes in aftertaste (& unlike the other teas tasted, w/o bitterness) following initial strong sweetness. I drank 4 rounds quickly. (I think this would be good cold also)

#41, yum.

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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by debunix » Dec 28th, '16, 17:32

When I first started trying chinese greens, I bought several different Long Jings, small quantities of the fanciest, and more moderately priced versions--but not the cheapest. As prepared by my brick & mortar tea shop, and similarly with some ordered online from a good retailer, I found that the fanciest versions seemed to be prized for a nuttiness from the roast that I actually didn't care for, and I preferred a more delicate version with less of the nuttiness. It was a good lesson: you can't taste or don't appreciate the elements that justify the extra cost, a 'mid-priced version can be a real bargain. Unfortunately, it seems to be something applicable to a limited subset of green teas, and with most oolongs and puerhs my preferences are in line with tradition, and the usual costs apply.

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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by Ferg » Dec 28th, '16, 20:31

Drank into the profits today. Couldn't resist hanging on to the Gisui, for awhile longer at least. And broke into the 2016 bag of Tsuen AOI shincha. Still superb after all this time. I am drawn to the subtle returning sweetness of this one as the session progressed. Just as I remember drinking it awhile back.

Made for a nice afternoon while boxing up 4 packages that went out today, 2 more tomorrow. I am actually running low on tea for the first time since I can remember...
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Dec 30th, '16, 11:06
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Re: Official what GREEN are you currently drinking?

by debunix » Dec 30th, '16, 11:06

Enjoying a lovely session with another tasting-set green tea from Tea Habitat: Nan Rong Gan Jian

ImageNan Rong Gan Jian by D B, on Flickr

It looks like an An Ji Bai Cha, and brews like it too

ImageNan Rong Gan Jian by D B, on Flickr

Delicate, floral, vegetal, even a touch fruity. So nice!

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