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Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by victoria3 » Jun 28th 16 7:00 am

2016 O-Cha's Yutaka Midori Versus O-Cha's 2013 Yutaka Midori Stored in the Refrigerator

For some time I’ve been wanting to do a side by side comparison of the same sincha but a few years apart. One was refrigerated from 2013 to 2016 secured inside a Loksak's Opsak ziplock bag to block odors and humidity and hopefully keep it fresh. I assumed the newer sincha would be fresher and more vibrant in flavour, but wasn't sure, so I did this side by side comparison with interesting results. The ziplock bags (designed to keep bears away on camping trips) successfully kept out all refrigerator odors and humidity including really strong odors like fresh garlic and fish. Also, refrigeration did not adversely impact this sincha's freshness. Has anyone else experimented with refrigeration? I'm curious what your results were.

2013 YMidori opened 06/27/2016 (took the bag out of refrigerator 05/18/2016)
2016 YMidori opened 06/20/2016

2013 to the right in a Tokoname kyusu with Mogake design
2016 is to the left in a Tokoname red clay kyusu
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Last edited by victoria3 on Jun 29th 16 6:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by jayinhk » Jun 28th 16 8:01 am

victoria3 wrote:2016 O-Cha's Yutaka Midori Versus O-Cha's 2013 Yutaka Midori Stored in the Refrigerator

For some time I’ve been wanting to do a side by side comparison of the same sincha but a few years apart. One was refrigerated from 2013 to 2016 secured inside a Loksak's Opsak ziplock bag to block odors and humidity and hopefully keep it fresh. I assumed the newer sincha would be fresher and more vibrant in flavour, but wasn't sure, so I did this side by side comparison with interesting results. The ziplock bags (designed to keep bears away on camping trips) successfully kept out all refrigerator odors and humidity including really strong odors like fresh garlic and fish. Also, refrigeration did not adversely impact this sincha's freshness. Has anyone else experimented with refrigeration? I'm curious what your results were.

2013 YMidori opened 06/27/2016 (took the bag out of refrigerator 05/18/2016)
2016 YMidori opened 06/20/2016

2013 to the right in a Bizen kyusu with Mogake design
2016 is to the left in a Tokoname red clay kyusu
Wow, thanks for posting this. I have 2015 shincha in sealed bags in the fridge. Good to know it'll be fresh when I get to it.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by victoria3 » Jun 28th 16 8:13 am

jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:2016 O-Cha's Yutaka Midori Versus O-Cha's 2013 Yutaka Midori Stored in the Refrigerator

For some time I’ve been wanting to do a side by side comparison of the same sincha but a few years apart. One was refrigerated from 2013 to 2016 secured inside a Loksak's Opsak ziplock bag to block odors and humidity and hopefully keep it fresh. I assumed the newer sincha would be fresher and more vibrant in flavour, but wasn't sure, so I did this side by side comparison with interesting results. The ziplock bags (designed to keep bears away on camping trips) successfully kept out all refrigerator odors and humidity including really strong odors like fresh garlic and fish. Also, refrigeration did not adversely impact this sincha's freshness. Has anyone else experimented with refrigeration? I'm curious what your results were.

2013 YMidori opened 06/27/2016 (took the bag out of refrigerator 05/18/2016)
2016 YMidori opened 06/20/2016

2013 to the right in a Bizen kyusu with Mogake design
2016 is to the left in a Tokoname red clay kyusu
Wow, thanks for posting this. I have 2015 shincha in sealed bags in the fridge. Good to know it'll be fresh when I get to it.
Curious what kind of bags you used to seal your sincha? I suspect what preserved my teas are those seal tight 'bear proof' bags I used, but can't be sure without hearing the experience of others.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by jayinhk » Jun 28th 16 8:45 am

They're unopened in the original bags.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by Tead Off » Jun 28th 16 10:19 am

jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:2016 O-Cha's Yutaka Midori Versus O-Cha's 2013 Yutaka Midori Stored in the Refrigerator

For some time I’ve been wanting to do a side by side comparison of the same sincha but a few years apart. One was refrigerated from 2013 to 2016 secured inside a Loksak's Opsak ziplock bag to block odors and humidity and hopefully keep it fresh. I assumed the newer sincha would be fresher and more vibrant in flavour, but wasn't sure, so I did this side by side comparison with interesting results. The ziplock bags (designed to keep bears away on camping trips) successfully kept out all refrigerator odors and humidity including really strong odors like fresh garlic and fish. Also, refrigeration did not adversely impact this sincha's freshness. Has anyone else experimented with refrigeration? I'm curious what your results were.

2013 YMidori opened 06/27/2016 (took the bag out of refrigerator 05/18/2016)
2016 YMidori opened 06/20/2016

2013 to the right in a Bizen kyusu with Mogake design
2016 is to the left in a Tokoname red clay kyusu
Wow, thanks for posting this. I have 2015 shincha in sealed bags in the fridge. Good to know it'll be fresh when I get to it.
I believe many of the vendors freeze or refrigerate their teas in Japan. Hirumaen deep freezes their teas. This is for unopened, sealed bags. I asked him how long the teas would be good for. He replied, many years, but I'm really not sure that there is nothing lost. One of the teas that I buy regularly doesn't taste the same as the first batch that I bought. This could be that it was from a different harvest/different year. His teas are not marked by years on the packaging.

Other than for experimenting, I would drink up refrigerated teas before I opened newer teas. Just makes sense to do it.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by Drax » Jun 28th 16 11:14 am

Very interesting, thanks for posting this comparison!

Given this comparison, I of course have to wonder about the impossible comparison -- the 2013 in 2013 versus the 2013 in 2016 (in other words, how did the refrigerated tea compare to how it was when it was new). If I recall correctly, some Japanese teas are storied in dark, cool places for a few months before selling them (gyokuro?), which supposedly helps to mature the flavor. The refrigeration could have allowed something similar.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by jayinhk » Jun 28th 16 11:57 am

Tead Off wrote:
jayinhk wrote:
victoria3 wrote:2016 O-Cha's Yutaka Midori Versus O-Cha's 2013 Yutaka Midori Stored in the Refrigerator

For some time I’ve been wanting to do a side by side comparison of the same sincha but a few years apart. One was refrigerated from 2013 to 2016 secured inside a Loksak's Opsak ziplock bag to block odors and humidity and hopefully keep it fresh. I assumed the newer sincha would be fresher and more vibrant in flavour, but wasn't sure, so I did this side by side comparison with interesting results. The ziplock bags (designed to keep bears away on camping trips) successfully kept out all refrigerator odors and humidity including really strong odors like fresh garlic and fish. Also, refrigeration did not adversely impact this sincha's freshness. Has anyone else experimented with refrigeration? I'm curious what your results were.

2013 YMidori opened 06/27/2016 (took the bag out of refrigerator 05/18/2016)
2016 YMidori opened 06/20/2016

2013 to the right in a Bizen kyusu with Mogake design
2016 is to the left in a Tokoname red clay kyusu
Wow, thanks for posting this. I have 2015 shincha in sealed bags in the fridge. Good to know it'll be fresh when I get to it.
I believe many of the vendors freeze or refrigerate their teas in Japan. Hirumaen deep freezes their teas. This is for unopened, sealed bags. I asked him how long the teas would be good for. He replied, many years, but I'm really not sure that there is nothing lost. One of the teas that I buy regularly doesn't taste the same as the first batch that I bought. This could be that it was from a different harvest/different year. His teas are not marked by years on the packaging.

Other than for experimenting, I would drink up refrigerated teas before I opened newer teas. Just makes sense to do it.
Different harvests can make a world of difference. I agree that there must me some changes during refrigerated storage and that refrigerated tea should be consumed first. I remember Kevin at Ocha saying last year's shincha would be even better after a rest. I really don't have any desire to drink shincha, though, which is why I have my bags in the fridge! I have five other bags open at room temperature!

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by kuánglóng » Jun 28th 16 3:00 pm

I'm not much of a green tea afficionado but have a couple dozen different Himalayan teas in the freezer at -21°C, most of them in 20g portions in multilayer aluminum bags, some vacuumed, some with a bit of air left inside the bag. Once in a while I compare them to the same tea that has been stored in the cellar and the frozen ones definitely keep more of their higher and sharper notes and original colors including that of the soup than those ones from the cellar. After all I don't generally prefer one storage method over the other though, it all depends more on my actual system status than anything else.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by victoria3 » Jun 28th 16 6:32 pm

Yes, for sure different harvests need to be considered Drax & jayinhk, as well as the possible effect of Bizen vs Tokoname tea pots used. I am happy that the sinchas were not spoiled or taste dried out like cardboard. It is possible refrigeration rounded out the sincha a bit and held back bitterness a little in the 3rd brew. My 2013 Tasting Notes indicated a stellar year: Posted to teachat 03/05/13 "Wow this is a thick, deep green, mellow, yet deep and complex. This is a star!" From my Evernote Tasting Logs: A smooth, sweet, rich, very green sincha. Very flavorful! Lime green liquor, sweat flavour, subtle aroma. This tea only steeps well in the 1st & 2nd then tapers off. (Whereas 2016 steeped better into 3rd brew with less bitterness.)

In a saner world I would also drink older green teas first Tead Off, but traveling steered me away from Japanese greens for a while because of water problems (too finicky) so I switched to oolong for travel. I only placed unopened sealed bags in the refrigerator, inside Loksak's Opsak thick ziplock, inside a mylar bag to block out any light.

kuánglóng, I do remember reading that higher roast teas freeze well in part because freezing puts a brake on mold. I wonder how delicate young Sincha leaves would freeze, unless flash frozen? I have read not to home freeze sincha, sencha, gyokuru.

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Re: Refrigerating Sincha for a Few Years: 2013 vs 2016 Results

by kuánglóng » Jun 28th 16 7:54 pm

victoria3 wrote:
kuánglóng, I do remember reading that higher roast teas freeze well in part because freezing puts a brake on mold.
Maybe, but I'd immediately bin any moldy stuff without thinking twice and if a tea is just moist, I'd try to get rid of that moisture first and then store it correctly in proper air-, water- and aroma-proof containers like those multilayer aluminum bags I've mentioned.
I wonder how delicate young Sincha leaves would freeze, unless flash frozen? I have read not to home freeze sincha, sencha, gyokuru.
I have no experience with freezing green teas, but since Himalayan first flushes are just as delicate and touchy as hell I'd really like to know what such recommendations are based on. I just take care that that my teas don't have more than 4% of residual moisture (rather brittle than springy leaves) and that I've correctly heat sealed them before I put them in the freezer and that they get all the time they need to thaw before I open the bag in order to avoid any condensation.
No regrets so far.