Had my best session yet with this tea this morning. I actually started with the water hotter, because I’d been considering starting the day with Dragonwell, and had the kettle already up to 160 degrees, and it was quite full, and I did not want to wait for the water to cool back to 145, or two play with adding cool water to get there. So I used the hotter water, 5 grams of tea in the 5 oz kyusu, and started with one very short infusion (started pouring at 25 seconds); then 20", 1 minute, and 5 minutes. By the time I’d gotten to the last one, however, the water, which was cooling slowly in the kettle, was down to 145 degrees. And all were sweet, fresh young asparagus and peas, very little grassiness, and no astringency or bitterness at all. Just my thing, and one of those accidental brewings that would be very difficult to precisely replicate again.
310 Tasting Notes
This is a quite splendid delicate and floral white tea, with a hint of blueberry tartness. I am not typically a fan of flavored teas, but this one was quite impressive.
We used cups holding about 5-6 oz of water, water at 160 degrees, and one teabag per cup, steeping about 1 minute, 2 minutes, 3 or 4 minutes, and one last one might have been closer to 10 minutes.
I was expecting an interesting novelty: locally grown! from California! but was quite impressed by this neat little tea. Per the web site, it’s quite pricey (I got this packet as a gift), but worth a try if you live near enough to find some.
Another day, another lovely infusion with this tea. I did manage a less-than-wonderful infusion a couple of days ago when I forgot a steeping, but it was easily rescued with a good deal of dilution. But as a rule it is very pleasant, and many infusions are quite lovely, even brilliant, with just a little care.
It’s climbing up my preference chart bit by bit as I work with it more.
Another wonderful afternoon with this tea. It is not as caramel-rich as the 2008 Yi Wu bamboo puerh from Norbu, but it has rounded notes of caramel and gentle earthiness, and is always a hit when I take it round to share. Today I got my office manager—a dedicated coffee drinker—to take a whiff and a cup, and she liked it a lot. It’s a tea to make friends with and influence people!
Yamakai Sencha – 2010 1st Harvest Shizuoka Sencha
One sniff and I’m already in love: the scent is sweet and rich. 5 grams of tea to my 150mL kyusu, prewarmed, water to 140 degrees per Greg’s brewing recommendation.
Brewing 2 minutes first steep, throwing caution to the wind…and it is sweet and rich.
30 second 2nd steep, delicious and sweet, a bit astringent and nutty too.
For 3 steep, heating the water to 150, just to play a little more, and steeping 1 minute—similar to previous infusion, but a bit lighter in body and richness—really think it’s done at 3.
I may play with it a bit more next time, because I am concerned that the very long first steep took a bit more of the punch that should have been left for the later steeps.
Overall, this is a lovely sencha. Without a head-to-head comparison, it’s hard to rank it other than saying it’s right up there with my top-tier senchas. Lovely for breakfast this morning with toast with honey-butter.
another lovely day with this tea. I like a dilute brew, bringing out the sweet and spicy with little bitterness. Nice, nice stuff.
Another stellar series of infusions today. Have to move the rating on this one up a little more again. So smooth, rich, mellow, anise/earthy/caramelsweet.
Should order some more of this with my next order from Norbu. Just don’t read this and buy it all before I get more!
Opened this tea tonight, a free sample that has been waiting nearly a year for its debut.
Started with 3.5 gram in a small gaiwan (75mL), flash rinsed then sat 1 minute before first infusion of about 10 seconds, at 205 degrees. The first infusion is delicate, light, probably could have been longer—a little fruity, a little sweet, a little floral. Very nice. 2nd infusion 20 seconds, a little more earthy along with the same floral, fruity, sweet, anise. Strong bitterness comes out in the 3rd infusion, lost track of the infusion time, but can confirm that the infusion was quite dark yellow, and that the bitterness receded appropriately with a 2 fold dilution, and the sweet and strong anise/floral/fruity flavors returned.
A 4th infusion, about 15 seconds—this really needs very short infusions still due to higher than my usual leaf-to-water ratios, because the sample bit of beeng was rather large—and the typical young sheng profile is back.
A few more infusions later, it is clear that this is a nice young sheng, but it requires careful attention to keep the bitterness down to the low level I prefer.
First try of this one again for a while. Delicious, floral, sweet, slightly vegetal, wonderful.
Using a little under 1 gram per ounce of water, in a small gaiwan, with water about 160 degrees and first infusion about 45 seconds or 1 minutes. Good reintroduction. I will keep treating this one as a green tea.
Very nice session with this tea today, and shared some of the middle infusions—a little mellower than the first—with some of my tea-loving colleagues at work. I’m not sure the more aggressive early infusions are what I should be sharing with those mostly drinking jasmine and flavored blends…..but I love the spicy deep roasted flavor. Given how light and green the leaves are—I always am momentarily surprised by the deep wuyi/dan cong flavor profile of this one.
Spicy with cinnamon notes, this is a neat oolong. The cinnamon notes fade a little quicker than the general spiciness, but not so fast as to suggest anything but natural flavors; I just note that I don’t get more than 5-6 infusions from this one gong fu style. It can get all the way to bitter if overpacked in the brewing vessel or if not watched carefully.
This is one I only brew gongfu cha, never the brew/hold in thermos I do so often with other teas. It’s just too subtle and tricky for that, but quite rewarding—really, Dan Cong-like—in this. I use enough left to fill the gaiwan about 2/3 full after the leaf is wetted—about 1/3 full of dry leaf. Sorry, haven’t weighed this one out for a while—maybe ever—for a formal tasting with pics.
Working on a nice gongfu session with this tea. I do have to be a bit careful, as Greg suggests, to avoid bitterness, but most infusions are delicious, sweet, a little smoky, earthy, a little fruity, very nice. It’s been a long time since I’ve done anything but bulk brewing with this one, and it’s rewarding to discover it again.
This is a tea that has been sneaking up on me. The first time I tasted it, I was a bit disappointed, thinking it was too dark, too toasted, not enough fruity sweet spice. But that was a gongfu session. But although it was not making me dance for joy, there was nothing particularly bad about it, so I set the rest of the sample aside for brewing thermoses of tea for the road.
I can’t really give proper brewing parameters, because I don’t measure out when I’m doing it for the thermos. But I put the tea in my 6 oz glass pot, strewing it across the bottom to cover lightly but not pile up—just a few grams of tea. Then I just start making infusions with hot water—195-212—until the thermos is full. How long or how short each is doesn’t matter too much, because at the end, they’re all mixed together in a quart of tea.
The first cups from the thermos are very dark, toasty, just a hint of sweet grain—rice? barley?—under the dark toastiness. Then, as it sits longer, it starts to sweeten, as though some of the deeper roasted flavor elements are being transmuted into lighter sweeter things.
I’ve noticed this effect—the seeming sweetness with long holding—in other deeply roasted teas, notably some Wuyis—but this one takes it to a whole ‘nother level. And I ended up buying more. Couldn’t stop with just the sample.
A lovely gongfu cha session with this tea today—sweet, floral, still, arm, sunny. Not as many infusions as the best TGYs, but still wonderful.
Working on a gongfu cha session with this tea, but again failed to weigh it before starting the infusion. Net 3-4 twists of braid about 1 1/2 inches long, in small gaiwan, with tap water about 205 degrees. Very nice. Also not keeping track of the duration of the infusions…..
This is spicy/earthy/fruity/umami tea. So nice, mmmmm. It does get a little too intense when I forget that it is infusing for a few minutes, but diluting about 1:1 brings out the good stuff again, easily. An excellent companion for overlong paperwork sessions.
After a suggestion from a tea-friend, I tried this today at a lower than usual temperature, 145 degrees, increasing to 160 degrees over the course of the session with about 6 infusions. It was lovely lovely lovely.
(about 1 g tea per oz water, 5 grams in 150 mL kyusu, tap water, infusions about 30", 15", 30", 45", 1 min, 2 min).
A near perfect gongfu session tonight—a little tea, a little gaiwan, tap water about 185 degrees, and many infusions of varying lengths demonstrating sweetness, spiciness, fruitiness, floral essences, over and over in different proportions. It’s been a while since my last Dan Cong session—too long!
I was amazed by my first taste of the spring 2009 Ya Bao I received as a sample in a tea swap, but they were sold out. So I bought some of the summer harvest version, and at the time, they just weren’t as rewarding as the spring harvest.
So they sat in the cabinet, while other, more immediately impressive teas came and went.
Tonight I picked them up, packed a gaiwan with them—filled to the lid-line—and then added water at 160 degrees. This really made a lovely tea—sweet, floral, delicate, and I’ve had six tasty infusions already. I’d forgotten how nice these can be.
Trying a different temperature: 145 degrees, and it is quite entirely lovely. This is the sweet spot. 30", 10", 30". Upped temp to 155 for the 4th infusion. Sweet and nutty and lovely. Upping the rating for this new temperature.
Thinking about it a little more, the nuttiness is very reminscent of Long Jing. Quite interesting.
This is a sweet, nutty, vegetal sencha without the strong briny umami that I so often find offputting in more heavily steamed senchas and gyokuro.
The leaf is deep rich green, medium long fragments—not quite as long as the Sayamakaori from Yuuki-cha, but longer than my average Asamushi sencha, very sweet smelling, even a bit nutty.
2.5 grams of leaf in a small gaiwan, about 2.5 oz or 75 mL of tap water per infusion
1st infusion, 30 seconds
sweet, vegetal, nutty, very nice
2nd infusion, 10 seconds
vegetal, sweet, nutty—the nutty is a hint of astringency, I think, but not bitterness, and a hint of toasted/roasted flavor
3rd infusion, 45 seconds
again, the toasty, vegetal nuttiness, astringency, but light
a 4th infusion, 1 minute
still nutty, vegetal, now fairly astringent
The finished leaves are bright green, and moderately broken up, although I did fine one or two small whole leaves
I think part of the astringency is the brewing, here, because just for accuracy’s sake, not really for comparison, I’m brewing up some of the Yuuki-Cha Sayamakaori sencha at the same time, and finding some of the same elements in it—not the roastedness, but more astringency than I’m used to. I think my leaf-to-water ratio is really not quite the same as in the kyusu. But I’ve got a pretty good idea that this is going to be a very nice sencha, and am looking forward to first proper session with the Tokoname kyusu.
Both with this and with another new green tea I tried this weekend, it’s quite clear that despite attempts to control conditions, changes in brewing conditions for the purpose of doing these comparisons—brewing sencha in my gaiwans instead of my kyusu—sometimes distorts the results, because I’m moving outside my usual comfort zone.
A 2nd set of infusions, in the 5 oz kyusu with 4 grams of leaf, tap water 160 degrees at first, infusions 30", 15", 30"; raised temp to 170 degrees for 45 seconds and 1 minute infusions, worked out better, still some astringency but not as much, more to my taste.
This is a nice, vegetal nutty sencha.
First try with this aged puerh. Using tap water, small porcelain gaiwan, 2 grams of tea, and 60-75mL water with each infusion. Water is just off the boil.
Dry leaves smell of sweet rich soil.
First a flash rinse, then 20 second first infusion: sweet, earthy, anise, a hint of herby/spicy but no bitterness. The liquor turns my golden shino cup to deep red-orange.
30 seconds 2nd: sweet, earthy, thick, liquor and a little bitter
30 seconds 3rd: sweet, earthy, little bitter
30 seconds 4th: still sweet, earthy, no bitter, bit of fruity
45 seconds 4th: sweet, earthy, little spiciness/resinous but not bitter
60", 60", 60", 90"—color lightening, still sweet, mellow, earthy, bits of caramel and raisin or plum
2’, 2’, 3’—starting to lose it, heading towards sweet water. Going to try one more at 5 minutes—and there is still something there, even earthy and sweet coming forward despite having just eaten a mint. It’s not strong, but not quite just sweet water yet. Nice pu!
The big question I was trying to answer with this order from Nada was how much better aged puerhs are than my current young shengs and shus. While this is a very smooth and pleasant tea, I can’t say that I love it 5 to 10 times more than some of the lovely but quite inexpensive young pus I’ve gotten from other sources. It’s definitely smooth and mellow in a way that has no parallel in my young shengs, but it is approached by the better of my young shus, and the young shengs have other attractions like smokiness and umami that are absent in teas like this.
First try with this was from a free sample a included with a recent order. I can’t remember much about it except that I liked it enough to keep it in mind for the next order. Tried this again semi-western style: 2.5 grams of leaf to 5 oz of water, with longer infusions than usual, but it was too dilute and the personality of the leaf was lost. Guess I need to stick to the brewing parameters I’m more comfortable with.
Another round with 6 grams of leaf to those 5 grams of water, and now it’s starting to sing out brighter: sweet, fresh peas, caramel, sun-warmed hay. Mellow. First infusion was about 30 seconds at 160 degrees; 2nd 1 minute, same temp; third was 2 minutes, water 170, and it was a bit overdone—bitterness creeping in. Backed down a little by diluting and it was better, but I’ll be a little more circumspect with the next one. 1 minute and the sweet mellowness is back, rich and caramel and floral. Very nice tea. But I’m running out of room to drink more; will have to set the leaves aside for a while and continue later.
Tasted this one again as part of a tasting session from another forum.
It is quite a lovely tea.