Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Hachiju Hachiya (88 Nights) Shincha from Sugimoto USA | Reader Poll

Class: Green
Origin: Not sure. Shizuoka? Blend?
Year: 2009
Vendor: Sugimoto, USA
Price: Free for me! (Thanks Chip and Pentox)

Dry leaf
This shincha comes courtesy of Chip and Pentox of Teachat-- thanks guys! Hachiju hachiya means "88 nights" and, in this context, is a claim that this tea was picked on the very traditional 88th night from the beginning of spring. Mmm, history.

I liked this tea quite a bit. For those who like precise parameters, I brewed 5.3g of leaf in 10oz of water (between 165-175F) for 60s, 30s, 60s, and 90s.

Second infusion
Second infusion.

I'm not feeling very prosey right now, so here are my verb-less and adjective-heavy tasting notes:

1st Infusion: A little creamy, clean, good solid foundation flavor.
2nd: Nice green color. Bright flavor, intense, "chewy". A little muddled, not clean like the first. Slightly grassy, slightly sweet. A bit marine.
3rd: Best flavor, still pretty green in color. Sweeter and less intense than the 2nd, also cleaner.
4th: Yellow-green color. Still pleasant and sweet, not a whole lot else though.

Based on the leaves and the flavor, this is probably in-between chumushi and fukamushi. Between this tea and Zencha's Takumi, I think I prefer Takumi, but only by a slim margin. They are different beasts; this one seems sweeter and more candy-like than Takumi, while Takumi has a more satisfying "round" or balanced quality.


I added a poll to the sidebar of this blog. I'm curious whether you would like or dislike the occasional post on other topics like photography, wet-shaving, etc. (Not crap about the pathetic minutiae of my daily life.) I would still mostly post about tea; I'm not trying to drastically change the focus of this blog, I'm just thinking of diversifying a bit. Thanks for voting!

Thursday, June 18, 2009

"Ureshino" Tamaryokucha from Lupicia

Class: Green
Origin: Saga prefecture, Japan
Year: 2009 (I think, not 100% sure)
Vendor: Lupicia (Product page)
Price: $10.00 (50g)

This post brought to you by Polaroid! (Okay, not really, but my SX-70 was feeling awfully neglected.)

This is a tamaryokucha, a.k.a. guricha, from the Saga prefecture of Japan. The most surprising thing? I actually like it. It was purely by accident that I bought this, as on the store shelf it was not clearly marked as a tamaryokucha. I had thought that this kind of tea, processed a bit differently than normal sencha, was just a boring inferior version of sencha; apparently I was wrong. Now, I'm not going to say that this is my new favorite Japanese green, but it was certainly good!

Dry leaf
Under normal circumstances I would not leave the borders on my scans of Polaroids, as it seems cliche and really in-your-face about being a Polaroid. I left them on this time for for exactly this reason, but with different intentions— I don't want any first-time visitors to think all my photos are this crappy! :D

You can tell that this is a tamaryokucha by the slightly curly leaves (compared to regular sencha needles) that are not at all visible in the above photo. Trust me on this. :P Not all of them are that curly though, so I wonder if this is only a "semi" tamaryokucha. The leaf smells nice and fresh, with a cute tartness.

I should have used the exposure compensation knob on my camera, as both of these are horribly overexposed. Meh, whatever, it's not like the details of the photos are that important anyway.

The liquor is surprisingly green, which is only visible in the photo due to extensive and probably unethical digital color manipulation. All the non-Polaroid photos I've seen of various tamaryokucha brews show a distinctly yellow-with-greenish-tinge color, while this is far closer to a green-with-yellow color. The flavor is smoother and less astringent than most sencha when brewed at around 160-165F, though it is also relatively light in flavor. It is subtly sweet, and I think it makes a good casual summer tea.

I have learned two valuable lessons today. First, tamaryokucha isn't all bad. Second, Polaroids are terrible for documenting my tasting notes.

Thanks for slogging through this lame post. Here's a cute puppy photo for your efforts (taken with the Yashica 12 I mentioned in the previous post).

Tucker playing

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Yashica 12

Yashica 12

Meet my newest acquisition, a Yashica 12 TLR. I just gave it a thorough cleaning and plan on running some film through it in the next day or two; hopefully there are no major problems!