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THE BIG FUKAMUSHI TASTING CONTEST
So I recently tried 5 different fukamushis, took notes each day, and now I’m ready to post the results and rank them! I used as equal parameters as possible to eliminate factors that could have affected the flavor or results. I am no expert or scientist; plus the results pretty much lined up with the cost of each tea, so there’s no big suprises here either!
(I’m going to put only the tasting note for each tea involved under the steepster profile of that tea, but the results I’ll include on each one).

Ocha-Zanmai Fukamushi Sencha
6 oz + 2 tsp leaf
1st – 160, 30scds: A little yellowish (more than I expected for the first steep). It had the astringency and pleasant bitterness I expected, leaving the tiniest bit of sweetness as an aftertaste. But it did not fill my mouth with umami, and the only intensity came from the astringency. While I very much like astringency, it’s much easier (I would guess) for a tea to be powerfully astringent, than for it to be intensely sweet or full of that cooked greens flavor. It was good, but seemed fairly standard.
2nd – 180, 15scds: For some strange reason, the bitterness of this tea came through in a way more strongly than I’ve ever tasted. I happen to like bitter, and I think for Japanese tastes it would be just fine, but I think for most Americans it would have been just a little too far on the bitter side. It did leave a very pleasant sweet aftertaste that made me want to make another cup though. This aftertaste is one of the best things I’ve noticed about Japanese green teas. They often leave this lingering flavor that is so subtle but so delicious.
3rd – 212, 15scds: I don’t remember this steeping very well, but it was (again) a more yellow color, and I think the astringency and bitterness had subsided. It seemed not very full of flavor, but did leave a nice somewhat sweet aftertaste.

Drumroll please…

1. Shincha Houryoku (Den’s)
2. Fukamushi Sencha Yame (Den’s)
3. Sen Cha (Sugimoto USA)
4. Fukamushi Sencha Special (Den’s)
5. Ocha-Zanmai Fukamushi (Yamamotoyama)

Preparation
160 °F / 71 °C 0 min, 30 sec
IdentiTEA

Awesome! I have Fukamushi Sencha Yame and Fukamushi Sencha Special, but I haven’t opened them yet because I bought Hashiri Shincha at the same time and I wanted to dig into that.

I am kind of wondering why you increased the water temperature during each progressive steep. I have always kept the water temperature the same and slightly decreased the steep time during each session.

Shinobi_cha

I am definitely going to buy Fukamushi Sencha Yame again…it was really good and will be a nice fall-back when I want something like the Shincha Houryoku and it isn’t available later in the year.

I increased the water temperature only because that seemed to be the general instructions I’ve seen online and mostly from Den’s website. If you go here and scroll down a bit, you can see that they suggest increasing temp for subsequent steepings: http://www.denstea.com/perfect_brewing.html (and to decrease the time each steeping).

However, if you’ve found that the flavor is still good for each subsequent steeping even when you don’t increase the temp, then I’ll have to try that!
I think I’ve read that hotter temperature more easily brings out the flavor from the leaves, so as leaves get used, one has to use hotter water to continue to get more flavor. This is just a guess.

IdentiTEA

I see. Thanks for the link! I will have to try increasing the temperature. I kept the temperature the same because I was afraid it would make the green tea bitter.

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IdentiTEA

Awesome! I have Fukamushi Sencha Yame and Fukamushi Sencha Special, but I haven’t opened them yet because I bought Hashiri Shincha at the same time and I wanted to dig into that.

I am kind of wondering why you increased the water temperature during each progressive steep. I have always kept the water temperature the same and slightly decreased the steep time during each session.

Shinobi_cha

I am definitely going to buy Fukamushi Sencha Yame again…it was really good and will be a nice fall-back when I want something like the Shincha Houryoku and it isn’t available later in the year.

I increased the water temperature only because that seemed to be the general instructions I’ve seen online and mostly from Den’s website. If you go here and scroll down a bit, you can see that they suggest increasing temp for subsequent steepings: http://www.denstea.com/perfect_brewing.html (and to decrease the time each steeping).

However, if you’ve found that the flavor is still good for each subsequent steeping even when you don’t increase the temp, then I’ll have to try that!
I think I’ve read that hotter temperature more easily brings out the flavor from the leaves, so as leaves get used, one has to use hotter water to continue to get more flavor. This is just a guess.

IdentiTEA

I see. Thanks for the link! I will have to try increasing the temperature. I kept the temperature the same because I was afraid it would make the green tea bitter.

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