Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Shincha Sencha green tea review - MastersTeas.com

I’ve been reviewing some tea samples I got from MastersTeas.com and I’m finally getting to the two Japanese green teas. I’m so excited!

Today I’m reviewing Shincha Sencha.

From the website:

The very first plucking of the first harvest of the year is known as Shincha and is highly prized in Japan. While Sencha has a tendency to be quite brothy with strong umami notes the earliest harvests can be much lighter with hints of sweetgrass. Our 2020 Shincha Sencha is a light, layered cup. The nutty notes of umami hit your mid-palate, while delicate apricot lingers on in the finish. Elegant and lovely.

In the Japanese tea tradition, the texture of the tea itself is extremely important. At the end of the tea making process, the tea master will carefully blend in tiny, broken up 'tea dust' to give the finished cup more body and richness. You can actually see these particles when you scoop out your tea. You also see them in your cup - Sencha should have a lovely, slightly cloudy appearance. This contributes to the 'umami' of the tea (the 5th taste - the others being sweet, salty, sour and bitter). Taste and enjoy the added richness umami gives your cup of tea.

This tea contains a moderate level of caffeine
Steep at 165° for 2 minutes.

I steeped this as recommended, and not gongfu style, since I’d read that Japanese green tea is specifically crafted for the traditional longer steeping in order to acquire the umami flavor.

I brewed 4 grams of tea in 150 mL of 165°F/73°C water for 1.5 minutes, then each successive steep increased in 30 second increments.

When I tasted the first steep, what struck me is that this is a much lighter sencha than others I’ve tried, with a bright flavor like fresh cut grass or carrot tops. The umami is a bit more subtle and not as in-your-face as other senchas I’ve tried.

The second steep had a much more mellow flavor but still a nice, light taste. It was only faintly bitter, although for this cup I happened to leave it in my cup for a bit longer while I took care of something, and when I got back it had acquired a tiny bit more bitterness on my tongue.

The third steep was definitely a bit bitter, and I think I might have steeped it for too long.

I made another pot on a different day, where I steeped it the same except that successive steepings were only 15 second increments. The first steeping was the same, naturally, but the second steeping was better in that it didn’t have that faint bitterness.

The third steeping was much better, without the bitterness I’d tasted in the first pot. It had a mellow but light flavor.

I did a fourth and fifth steeping, but the flavor started to wane for both those steepings, although it was still enjoyable. None of the steepings were bitter, and the tea kept that light, fresh flavor in each successive cup.

Overall, this is a wonderful sencha. The light flavor is refreshing and reminds me of my mother’s spring vegetable garden.

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