Monday, August 20, 2007

Tenbu Sencha from T Ching

Scent in package: light for a green tea…a hint of sweet grass, but nothing notable
Brewed in: cup w/ice, Tokoname style pot w/metal infuser
Steeped: a couple hours w/ice, 3 min. in pot
Cup(s): glass drinking glass, china teacup

Yeah, I sort of “mixed media” last night brewing in a Japanese style teapot, then drinking in an English teacup. But hey, just think of it as “fusion tea brewing”, without the whole mess of fusion tea.

The first time I tried this was a style of cold brewing I’d read about in the “In Pursuit of Tea” newsletter. They said to try steeping it by simply letting ice melt over it. I think this would have worked fine had I not used too much tea, but I’m not positive. The resulting brew was very astringent and bitter, and very sweet at the same time. An odd contradiction of flavors in one glass. I was too impatient to wait for the ice to melt completely, so I added ice water to finish the brew, but even diluting it didn’t really help. I think if I decide to try it again, I’ll need to get some sort of scale to measure out the right grams or something – but it didn’t really make me want to repeat the experiment with this particular tea.
Last night, I brewed it hot for 3 minutes – a minute too long, I think. It was good, but unremarkable…grassy but too bitter for my taste (I should note that the bitterness in this tea is not the same as a bitter black tea…this is more drying than anything else). The viscosity was nice, not too thin, but not terribly thick, and the scent was wonderful, like dewy grass. It’s not that I didn’t like it – the taste was good, soothing and calming like any Japanese green, but I prefer the Gyokuro or Kukicha.

All in all, it was an “okay” tea. I’m not all that familiar with sencha, so it’s possible that I need to taste more of them before I can really taste more of the nuances and know if the bitterness is normal or not. So I’m reserving judgment on this tea for now, and may revisit it later, when I’ve developed a better “feel” for sencha in general.


  1. I don't think it's all your fault that this didn't turn out too well-- it's two years old now, so it is likely just old and stale.

    Most people think it was from the 2007 harvest, but if you look at the dates, T Ching offered this sample about a month before the tea harvest in Japan last year, so it's really not surprising that this tea is starting to lose its freshness.

    I hope this experience doesn't dissuade you from getting a better feel for sencha. :) This is still a great time to get your hands on some fresh ichiban (first flush) sencha, so get a hold of some while it's still at its peak. (I don't know how much you know about sencha, so I hope I don't sound patronizing or anything!)


  2. You don't sound patronizing at worries. :-) I'll see about getting some fresh sencha to compare, and perhaps that will work better. I haven't given up yet!

  3. I personally would be happy to patronize, if only I knew enough to pull it off!

    I've just started drinking Japanese greens and have had the reverse of your experience: mine was unimpressive gyokuro, nice sencha.

    Coincidentally, Eastree just posted on sencha today, specifically Adagio's Sencha Overture.

  4. Thanks Salsero...I'll check it out!


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