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Tea #3 from a teaswap with Mastress Alita. Thanks!

I prepared this as closely as possible to the guidelines given by Yunomi. Don’t have any Japanese teaware and I had a bad experience with some Japanese green tea last week, so I used 2.5g of leaf in a 60mL porcelain gaiwan for small steepings. I didn’t have a thermometer handy and the lowest temp setting on my kettle is 160F. The guildelines call for 140F, so I just let the hot water sit for a few minutes. Didn’t follow the guidelines for subsequent steeps which called for an increase in water temperature and volume.

First steep produced a very thick kind of slimy brew similar to the salted sakura leaf green tea I had last week. It was a little salty, mostly green umami with some grassiness behind that. It made my stomach turn a little, but not nearly as bad as the sakura tea. It reminded me of pickleweed, which is a plant I’m intimately familiar with that grows on the upland edges of the salt marshes in the San Francisco Bay. Pickleweed is known also known as sea bean and sold in higher end markets around here. Eaten as a vegetable by those who enjoy its taste.

Second steep was lighter, still kind of salty, less umami, more grass. Third steep was still lighter. I think I enjoyed the second and third steeps the most. I dug around the very pretty spent leaf in the gaiwan and noticed the leaves felt very slick. I wonder if this is a quality of Japanese greens.

So far, it seems that Japanese green teas that aren’t roasted or genmaicha don’t sit well in my stomach. This tea seems high quality given my limited knowledge, but something that seems to be an acquired taste for my palate. I’ll finish the rest of the sample but I won’t seek out more. Thanks again Mastress Alita :)

Mastress Alita

This is a tea that is somewhere between sencha and gyokuro as far as production, as I recall, but after having tried gyokuro recently, it tasted very similar to me, so having a very umami, sea-like, salty/vegetative/seaweed taste and being quite thick are all pretty common for gyokuro. Steeps deeply green and is incredibly heavy in theanines and aminos. I’m not wild about them, but I don’t hate them either. I have to drink it in little tiny amounts, too, in that 50-75ml range. The l-theanine in the stuff is so high that for me it’s like drinking a shot of seaweed juice to get a mega boost of energy, heh. Apparently the Japanese eat their gyokuro leaves when they are done, but I’m not that adventurous… I do remember this one tasting more sencha-like on the resteeps, as memory serves!

My kettle only goes as low as 160F too, so I actually use a Japanese tea preparation trick to lower the temperature of my water (I don’t own a thermometer). The fancy Japanese teasets have a piece known as a “water catcher” that’s purpose is really just moving water back and forth between it and the cups, because every time the water is transferred, the energy makes it lose some temperature. I just boil at 160 and then pour the water between a couple of coffee mugs several times, until I can tell it has dropped temperature considerably (usually passing the water between the two vessels 3-5 times). Then I steep with it and by then I figure it’s probably around the right temperature; actually pretty tepid by then!

derk

Thanks for the info. It’s appreciated since I don’t really have time to research tea at the moment. School’s getting real, quickly.

derk

The leaves are totally edible and are like a cross between delicate spinach and a chewy seaweed.

Mastress Alita

Huh. I love spinach, but dislike (most) types of seaweed (I can’t stand nori, but am fine with the kind used in miso soup…) I suppose then I should at least give the leaves a try sometime!

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Mastress Alita

This is a tea that is somewhere between sencha and gyokuro as far as production, as I recall, but after having tried gyokuro recently, it tasted very similar to me, so having a very umami, sea-like, salty/vegetative/seaweed taste and being quite thick are all pretty common for gyokuro. Steeps deeply green and is incredibly heavy in theanines and aminos. I’m not wild about them, but I don’t hate them either. I have to drink it in little tiny amounts, too, in that 50-75ml range. The l-theanine in the stuff is so high that for me it’s like drinking a shot of seaweed juice to get a mega boost of energy, heh. Apparently the Japanese eat their gyokuro leaves when they are done, but I’m not that adventurous… I do remember this one tasting more sencha-like on the resteeps, as memory serves!

My kettle only goes as low as 160F too, so I actually use a Japanese tea preparation trick to lower the temperature of my water (I don’t own a thermometer). The fancy Japanese teasets have a piece known as a “water catcher” that’s purpose is really just moving water back and forth between it and the cups, because every time the water is transferred, the energy makes it lose some temperature. I just boil at 160 and then pour the water between a couple of coffee mugs several times, until I can tell it has dropped temperature considerably (usually passing the water between the two vessels 3-5 times). Then I steep with it and by then I figure it’s probably around the right temperature; actually pretty tepid by then!

derk

Thanks for the info. It’s appreciated since I don’t really have time to research tea at the moment. School’s getting real, quickly.

derk

The leaves are totally edible and are like a cross between delicate spinach and a chewy seaweed.

Mastress Alita

Huh. I love spinach, but dislike (most) types of seaweed (I can’t stand nori, but am fine with the kind used in miso soup…) I suppose then I should at least give the leaves a try sometime!

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Always up for a trade. I keep an updated cupboard. Check it out. Don’t be shy — message me if you want to try something! I send international :)

Most enjoyment:

Wuyi and Taiwanese oolong, sheng puerh, Yunnan and Wuyi blacks, GABA oolong. I also appreciate Japanese, Vietnamese, Thai, Darjeeling and Nepali teas, bagged tea and herbal teas/tisanes.

I take my teas without milks or sweeteners except sometimes chai and the rare London Fog, matcha latte and golden milk.

I’ll try anything once because it helps me learn. Not opposed to well placed herbs, flowers, fruity bits and flavorings, just nothing cloying. And no added sugars, sweeteners, candy or chocolate.

I abandoned both my preference reference and the recording of detailed steeping parameters in January 2020, favoring a focus on qualitative descriptions. At this point, I am still comfortable toggling the “Not/Recommended” button.

Preference reference:

100-90: A tea I can lose myself into. Something about it makes me slow down and appreciate not only the tea but all of life or a moment in time. If it’s a bagged or herbal tea, it’s of standout quality in comparison to similar items.
89-80: Fits my profile well enough to buy again. Some could be daily drinker teas.
79-70: Not a preferred tea. I might buy more or try a different harvest. Would gladly have a cup if offered.
69-60: Not necessarily a bad tea but one that I won’t buy again. Would have a cup if offered.
59-1: Lacking several elements, strangely clunky, possess off flavors/aroma/texture or something about it makes me not want to finish.
Unrated: Haven’t made up my mind or some other reason. If it’s puerh, I likely think it needs more age.

Location

Sonoma County, California, USA

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