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A shincha tasting July 2010

Four teas from Yuuki-Cha.com:
Tenryu Misakubo


This was less straightforward than most of my recent tastings, because the four teas are so similar in character.   And the delay in drinking the infusions due to finding and setting up the camera obscured some of the finer points of the varied flavors of the teas.   I am less fond of umami and more fond of a sugary sweetness, so tend to prefer my japanese teas on the lighter side.  Also, must note in fairness that these teas were not opened at the same time:  the Tenryu Misakubo was open for several weeks, the Sayamakaori only a week.

Setup:  2 grams of tea in 75 mL gaiwan, water 160 degrees, 1st infusion 30 seconds; 2nd infusion 165 degrees 15 seconds*; 3rd infusion 170 degrees 1 minute, 4th infusions 170 degrees 90 seconds.

Tenryu Misakubo
Dry Leaves: green, needle-like, smaller fragments than the others, sweet and mild vegetal scent
Liquor has stronger first hit of umami in the 2nd infusion, brinier than the others especially in the first couple of infusions, but mellower and more similar as the infusions progress as the sweetness comes a bit more to the fore
Wet Leaves: smaller pieces of bright green leaves, green vegetal aroma, like cooked peas or asparagus

Dry Leaves: green, needle-like, fragment, slightly deeper vegetal scent
Liquor is sweeter and lighter from the start, lightly vegetal--sweet spring peas, freshly cut grass in spring
Wet Leaves: pieces of bright green leaves, similar vegetal aroma


Dry Leaves: green, needle-like, leaf fragments, sweet deep vegetal scent
Probably in between the Honoyama and the Tenryu Misakubo, sweet with moderate umami, delicious
Wet Leaves:  pieces of bright green leaves, similar vegetal aroma


Dry Leaves: green, needle-like, longer and more intact fragments than the others, deep sweet scent full of umami
Also sweet start to the liquor, mild umami, bright and lovely
Wet Leaves: larger pieces of bright green leaves, similar vegetal aroma

Final impression?  I like the Honoyama best, I think, but how to order the middle two is very hard:  Sayamakaori then Okuyutaka or Okuyutaka then Sayamakaori, either works for me, and the Tenryu Misakubo is my least favorite, but still a lovely lovely tea.  If you prefer more umami--deeper, brinier flavors, and like gyokuro over sencha, you probably should reverse the order of my preferences, and grab the Tenryu Misakubo first, leaving more Honoyama for me!  All of these are very good teas:  none have anything bitter or harsh or otherwise off to make them less than highly recommended.

Dry leaves

upper left is Tenryu Misakubo; upper right is Honoyama; lower left Okuyutaka; lower right is Sayamakaori
Dry Leaves

Infused liquor & wet leaves:

Left to Right Tenryu Misakubo; Honoyama; Okuyutaka; Sayamakaori
dry leaves

*The second infusion is where a lot of the flavor will come rushing out of the now hydrated leaves, so I make it very short to avoid an overly strong, bitter steep, and spread out that flavor over a shorter 2nd and normal length 3rd infusions.  

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