As I have been able to acquire some decent tea making equipment during the last month, I have also had the opportunity to make “better” tea, knowing the exact water temperature and not using bad tap water.
One usually says that water is the tea’s blood, and I think this is especially true for sencha and gyokuro teas. The tea today, torooricha, is one of the teas I have been experimenting various brewing methods on a lot since September. The tea is a stronger sencha and is supposed to have a more concentrated and rich taste than a normal sencha would. Testing a lot of different recommendations from different Japanese people and shops, the result was, well – various.
Making the tea now with better water and knowing what temperature the water had, made the result incredibly different. This time I also had in mind the wonderful saying Rob Yaple quoted in one of his tasting notes:
“The first cup is strong like love, the second bitter as life, and the third sweet like death.”
And indeed they were. The first cup had a rich a strong flavor that remained for quite a while in my mouth after drinking it.
The second cup was bitter, but not so bitter as I feared. It might be that since the tea is made to strong and rich in taste, the second bitterness was then a bit overshadowed by this taste. And surprisingly enough, apart from the vegetal taste the presence of citrus was also very dominant. A most pleasant and delicious surprise indeed, but it made me really worried about whether or not the last cup would be sweet at all.
However, the third cup actually held a good amount of sweetness in it! Not on the level of gyokuro of course, but enough so that its presence could in no way be ignored. A wonderful end to a series of different tastes.