Grassy Sencha

Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Mar 2nd 17 8:10 am
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Grassy Sencha

by devites » Mar 2nd 17 8:10 am

Hello all!

Can anyone recommend a really grassy, vegetal sencha. Lately all the senchas I have been getting have seemed a little bit soft, subtle, and not much like senchas I prefer. So any recs for senchas with a lot of body that are thicker and with a full feeling floating on the tongue and more grassy in profile! Thanks in advance.

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Mar 2nd 17 8:51 am
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by joelbct » Mar 2nd 17 8:51 am

devites wrote: Hello all!

Can anyone recommend a really grassy, vegetal sencha. Lately all the senchas I have been getting have seemed a little bit soft, subtle, and not much like senchas I prefer. So any recs for senchas with a lot of body that are thicker and with a full feeling floating on the tongue and more grassy in profile! Thanks in advance.
Have you tried O-Cha's organic Kagoshima Chiran? That's been my sencha staple for a few years now. I'd say it's pretty well-steamed, and vegetal. Not sure I'd call it "grassy" though. More vegetal and umami-ish, but definitely not "subtle."

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Mar 2nd 17 9:03 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by Emily@Adagio » Mar 2nd 17 9:03 pm

devites wrote: Hello all!

Can anyone recommend a really grassy, vegetal sencha. Lately all the senchas I have been getting have seemed a little bit soft, subtle, and not much like senchas I prefer. So any recs for senchas with a lot of body that are thicker and with a full feeling floating on the tongue and more grassy in profile! Thanks in advance.
I realize I may be a bit biased, but Adagio's Sencha Premier is one of my favorite teas of all time. I love Sencha, and the Sencha Premier manages to be both grassy and vegetal, while retaining a really smooth buttery body, and a very slight sweetness. I highly recommend it. :D

http://www.adagio.com/green/sencha_premier.html

Mar 3rd 17 8:32 am
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by devites » Mar 3rd 17 8:32 am

Great buttery body sounds great I ordered some sencha premier and I'll order some of that Kagoshima from o-cha next time i place an order.

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Mar 4th 17 5:07 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by victoria3 » Mar 4th 17 5:07 pm

Sincha Spring harvest is around the corner, I find these young teas generally are the grassiest. I did a quick search of my tasting notes and the grassiest notes seemed to be for Maeda-en Shin-cha Hachijyuhachiya (88th Night) followed by O-Cha's Sinchas; Yutaka Midori, Sae Midori and Fukamushi Sincha "Kaoru" . I have had very good 1st flush, sincha recurring orders from O-Cha, Maiko and Thes du Japón.

Mar 5th 17 6:32 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by nasalfrog » Mar 5th 17 6:32 pm

joelbct wrote:
devites wrote: Hello all!

Can anyone recommend a really grassy, vegetal sencha. Lately all the senchas I have been getting have seemed a little bit soft, subtle, and not much like senchas I prefer. So any recs for senchas with a lot of body that are thicker and with a full feeling floating on the tongue and more grassy in profile! Thanks in advance.
Have you tried O-Cha's organic Kagoshima Chiran? That's been my sencha staple for a few years now. I'd say it's pretty well-steamed, and vegetal. Not sure I'd call it "grassy" though. More vegetal and umami-ish, but definitely not "subtle."
Anyone know what happened to the organic chiran? I ordered it last month with my first o-cha order, and it has completely disappeared from their site. One of my favorites from the teas I ordered.

Edit: Any suggestions for a similar/as flavorful organic sencha would be greatly appreciated.

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Mar 6th 17 3:01 am
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by joelbct » Mar 6th 17 3:01 am

nasalfrog wrote: Anyone know what happened to the organic chiran? I ordered it last month with my first o-cha order, and it has completely disappeared from their site. One of my favorites from the teas I ordered.

Edit: Any suggestions for a similar/as flavorful organic sencha would be greatly appreciated.
Huh that's odd. I have 100g left. It was one of their more popular offerings so I'd imagine they will stock the 2017 harvest.

Any of their fukamushi (deep-steamed) tea should have that "vegetal" sencha taste: https://www.o-cha.com/loose-leaf-green- ... green-tea/

There is also a non-organic Chiran: https://www.o-cha.com/chiran-green-tea.html

Finally, for years Ito En's Chiran Kanayamidori was my Kago staple, it I can also vouch for as deep green and vegetal: www.itoen.com/loose-leaf/green/chiran-kanayamidori

I switched to O-cha's Chiran a few years ago because it was organic and attractively-priced, but Ito En's was always great too.

Mar 7th 17 11:55 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by nasalfrog » Mar 7th 17 11:55 pm

joelbct wrote:
Huh that's odd. I have 100g left. It was one of their more popular offerings so I'd imagine they will stock the 2017 harvest.

Any of their fukamushi (deep-steamed) tea should have that "vegetal" sencha taste: https://www.o-cha.com/loose-leaf-green- ... green-tea/

There is also a non-organic Chiran: https://www.o-cha.com/chiran-green-tea.html

Finally, for years Ito En's Chiran Kanayamidori was my Kago staple, it I can also vouch for as deep green and vegetal: www.itoen.com/loose-leaf/green/chiran-kanayamidori

I switched to O-cha's Chiran a few years ago because it was organic and attractively-priced, but Ito En's was always great too.
Thank you for the suggestions! The Oku Yutaka appears to be fukamushi, so I'll give that a try on my next order. Hopefully the organic Chiran will be back this Spring.

May 6th 17 11:15 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by devites » May 6th 17 11:15 pm

Update: Grassyness in sencha has a lot to do with brewing temperature. I was being lazy and just boiling and pouring, but using lower temp water def helps bring out the mellow soft vegetal rich grassy notes whereas high brewing temp gets a more dry, dull, astringent, bitter flavour.

I have been a lazy tea drinker for awhile, but to get the best flavour paying attention to brewing parameters definitely improves flavour dramatically. Time to be a connoisseur again!

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May 6th 17 11:34 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by victoria3 » May 6th 17 11:34 pm

devites wrote: Update: Grassyness in sencha has a lot to do with brewing temperature. I was being lazy and just boiling and pouring, but using lower temp water def helps bring out the mellow soft vegetal rich grassy notes whereas high brewing temp gets a more dry, dull, astringent, bitter flavour.

I have been a lazy tea drinker for awhile, but to get the best flavour paying attention to brewing parameters definitely improves flavour dramatically. Time to be a connoisseur again!
Ya you really need to be very precise with Japanese greens; use a scale and a thermometer. 5 degrees too hot and it gets bitter, 30seconds too long a steep and it gets bitter and or too astringent, not enough leaf and it's to watery... Keeping notes helps to get the right parameters for your palate.

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May 7th 17 3:55 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by joelbct » May 7th 17 3:55 pm

This. Boiling water oversteeping would ruin sencha.

I personally do 175 for 1.5 min, 1:100 ratio. Tokoname-ware is best but glass is just what I normally use lately.

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May 7th 17 5:11 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by victoria3 » May 7th 17 5:11 pm

joelbct wrote: This. Boiling water oversteeping would ruin sencha.

I personally do 175 for 1.5 min, 1:100 ratio. Tokoname-ware is best but glass is just what I normally use lately.
I usually note the vendors parameters then increase leaf slightly, or I start with a ratio of 1gr/1oz/155F/90sec or 1.25gr/1oz then slightly increase steeping temp by 5degreesF and time by 30sec or more for each steep. Depending on the sencha temperatures can vary between 135-175 for 1st Steep.

Something I do which is a little time consuming but worth it in the long run, is to keep a tasting log in Evernote app for each tea. Since I'm trying so many different teas a log helps me fine tune steeping parameters for each tea, I can then refer back to those notes two weeks, one, five or ten years later, at least as a guide.

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May 7th 17 7:42 pm
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by JRS22 » May 7th 17 7:42 pm

victoria3 wrote: Something I do which is a little time consuming but worth it in the long run, is to keep a tasting log in Evernote app for each tea. Since I'm trying so many different teas a log helps me fine tune steeping parameters for each tea, I can then refer back to those notes two weeks, one, five or ten years later, at least as a guide.
I use an old iOS app which serves not just as a tasting log, but also as a timer. It even prorates the tea for my different size pots. It was abandoned by the developer but I'm so dependent upon it that I have an old iPod touch that runs iOS 6 (iOS is currently at v10) that I keep just for this app, plus another old iPod touch as backup!

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May 8th 17 12:14 am
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Re: Grassy Sencha

by joelbct » May 8th 17 12:14 am

victoria3 wrote: I usually note the vendors parameters then increase leaf slightly, or I start with a ratio of 1gr/1oz/155F/90sec or 1.25gr/1oz then slightly increase steeping temp by 5degreesF and time by 30sec or more for each steep. Depending on the sencha temperatures can vary between 135-175 for 1st Steep.

Something I do which is a little time consuming but worth it in the long run, is to keep a tasting log in Evernote app for each tea. Since I'm trying so many different teas a log helps me fine tune steeping parameters for each tea, I can then refer back to those notes two weeks, one, five or ten years later, at least as a guide.
I just do a longer steep and dont bother with 2nd steeps for Sencha. I used to, but found if I brew my first steep for 1 to 1.5 min, it tastes great, and the second steep doesn't "spark enough joy" for me to bother with it.

Maybe if I were drinking an expensive gyokuro, or doing a 30 second initial steeping, I'd do multiples. But my O-Cha Chiran Kagoshima is pretty well priced at ~14USD/100g.

Lately the only teas I do a second steeping with are Taiwan Oolongs, and I've been doing 3 min initial and then 5 min for a second infusion with those. Each day I have 2 or 3 sessions of blacks/reds, and 1-2 of green or oolongs, and these all do just fine with 1:100 leaf-water ratio.

I'm currently primary caregiver for my 2.5 year-old daughter, so I don't quite have time to do 5x mini infusions for each tea session ;) Western style is more conducive to the terrible twos.