Orita-En

Recent Tasting Notes

92

A high quality, very refined tea with many overtones. When I drink this tea I feel I am in communion with Mr Orita on his organic tea farm in Kagoshima looking out toward Satsuma Fuji mountain. The tea leaves are finely broken up, have a nice rich dark green color and grassy aroma. For me this tea is for special occasions (+-20 US dollars for 3.5 oz) so I save it for times when I can to stop and enjoy its special qualities.

1st Infusion: First pour is delicious with an exceptional vegetal aroma, green grassy flavor and roasted notes in the background. The flavor of leaves linger at the back of upper palate. Produces a rich deep green color tea and aroma.

2nd Infusion: 4 oz water at 180 for 1 1/2 minutes. Results spectacular; deep rich full green flavor palate with smokey green color tea. Sweat grassy aroma.

2nd Infusion (alt): Second pour is dependent on the 1st and how much water was used. In the past I’ve used 10 ounces of water at 170 for 1 1/2 minutes followed by 10 ounces at 180 for 2 minutes and the the 2nd brew results were not as spectacular. The flavor is reduced by 60% but the color was still deep green. I need to sit with this tea longer to more fully review the 2nd 3rd,4th infusions.

Preparation
170 °F / 76 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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84

Found this at a local Nijiya market. They carry mostly organic green tea, and while I don’t usually seek out organic, it is nice to compare it. So far, I don’t think organic farming (for Japanese green tea) has reached the standard for flavor/etc. that non-organic has, but maybe (even hopefully) that will someday change.

As far as I have learned, the okumidori varietal, that this tea is made of, is usually for shaded teas, as it has a more distinct sweetness. Because the packaging is entirely in Japanese, I had no idea whether it would be an asa- or fuka- mushi, and I hoped it would be the former, but guessed it would be the latter (coming from Chiran, Kagoshima, and all the teas I’ve seen coming from there are super deep-steamed).

When I opened the tea, I found that I had guessed correctly. While I wanted a light-steamed tea, it was nonetheless interesting to consider what this varietal (which I’d never had before) would give being deep-steamed.

Anyway, I’ve experimented with a few brewing parameters, but found brewing it more like a gyokuro to have the most satisfying effect – for the first steeping, using between 140F – 150F for 1min 20 seconds.

In previous brewings (using a higher temp and shorter steep time), I found that the second steeping always had an overly strong vegetal quality that wasn’t balanced by sweetness, bitterness or any other flavor.
Using this more ‘soft’ approach, I found it to have a very nice sweetness at the end of the sip, and a delicious aftertaste that increases over time.

Unlike some fukamushi senchas that are strongly fired for the roasted aroma, this one seems to have been simply dried, which is why I think the sweetness of the okumidori can come through. I am no expert, but it probably doesn’t need to be as deeply steamed as it is.

This is a decent quality sencha, which I upped a bit, because it does come out very nicely when brewed at a low temp for a longer period of time, which seems maybe unusual for a deep-steamed sencha.

Preparation
145 °F / 62 °C 1 min, 30 sec

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