I reviewed this tea a month or so ago, but I’ve still been trying to get it to stand out past the third steeping. This time, I used a small (~100ml) banko houhin with a heaping tablespoon of leaf to help try and stretch it across 4 or 5 steepings.
First (140*/ 120 secs): What a rush of flavor! As I take the first sip, I’m smacked in the mouth with vegetal sweetness and a soft mouthfeel that sticks around while you’re waiting for the next cup to brew. Since it’s lightly steamed, the color is far more yellow than green. A fun, balanced cup.
Second (165*/ 90 secs): As the tea transitions from a greenish yellow to a more grassy green, the astringency starts to show. Sadly, that also means the flavor is starting to wane, but it still has that freshness and plum-y afternotes that seems to be typical of Shizuoka shincha this year. A little bitter towards the end, but that usually comes out more in the next infusions…
Third: (185/ 120 secs): A pale, bitter yellow brew. I get hints of spinach and plum, but on a whole, it tastes like all the “good stuff” has already been sucked out of this tea. I know that Banko pottery tends to mellow out stronger teas, but I’m hardly getting anything out of this infusion.
Fourth (Boiled): So it goes.
I had high expectations for this tea in my houhin, but it seems like I’ve still yet to nail the perfect brewing parameters. The first two cups are some of the best I’ve had, but it falls utterly flat afterwards — I’d have to give the nod to the Houryoku in my shincha taste tests!