Sunday, November 2, 2008

Chiran Yutaka Midori O-Cha

A while ago, I tried this sencha grown in Chiran, Kagoshima from Itoen which came from the kanaya-midori breed. I found it to be a light-flavored asamushi. Today, I have another sencha from Chiran from one of my favorite online sencha suppliers, It comes from a yutaka-midori breed plant.

The dry leaf is really broken up. According to the description, this tea is deeper-steamed, thus the more broken leaf. The first steep is a clear yellow-green, with an aroma that is slightly foody, yet succulent. The taste is very satisfying, but very different from most of O-Cha's high-quality senchas. The foody aroma transfers into the taste, which gives the tea a lot of body and warmth. However, it also reminds me of lower quality sencha, and even bancha. This characteristic gives the tea a much less refined feel. A medium viscosity and thick mouthfeel tell me the tea is situated right around the chumushi (medium-steamed) range.

The second steep finally delivers that thick, deep-green liquor. Now, the taste hasn't changed much, still being foody and succulent, but it has blended and come out fuller. This tea actualy reminds me a lot of Itoen's makinohara fukamushi, but I think the chiran rests a few levels above, for just $2 more. Compared to O-cha's more expensive ($23-28) offerings, it doesn't quite match up. But because it's only $18, I believe it holds its place. I really can't tell any similarity between this chiran and the other one from Itoen. Whatever differences in upbringing, and processing are greater than the similarities chiran soil and climate must impart.

I've been drinking lots of gyokuro and asamushi sencha lately. This chumushi is obviously quite different. It delivered 3 flavorful steeps, all thick and succulent. If this is your price range, then it's not a bad choice. If you can, I highly recommend stepping up to O-Cha's classic offerings. $7 more will get you a better Kagoshima Yutaka Midori that few other chumushi sencha can compete with.


Salsero said...

Is the Kagoshima Yutaka Midori more steamed than the Chiran "Supreme"?

As usual, a beautiful post with great photos and to-the-point information. Thanks.

Hanzhito said...

Where can I find some cups like those pictured with the fish swimming in them? They make me feel like I'm by one of the many little ponds found everywhere in Taiwan.

Wes Crosswhite said...

Salsero, I'd say they're about the same. Though, they're both from Yutaka Midori plants in Kagoshima. :)

Hanzhito, I really like them too.

carlo said...

Hi, nice post!
I have 2 questions:

1)Have somebody ever tried the Organic Green Tea Kaze from O Cha? Have you some informations about it?

2)Do you think that the Kagoshima Sencha Yutaka Midori is far better than the chiran?



Wes Crosswhite said...

Thanks Carlo

1- I've tried that one, and found it to be among the better organic senchas out there.

2- I'd say it depends on how developed your palate is. If you drink tea every day, and analyze the flavors consistently, then the pricier yutaka midori will seem much better. However, if you don't have much experience with sencha, they'll probably taste the same.

carlo said...

Well, let's say that I drink 1-2 cups of green tea (exclusively japanese) almost everyday. Among the many greens I tried, I enjoyed very much O Cha's Fukamushi.
This time I ordered Kabusecha Green Tea from O Cha, hoping I did a good choice.() what do you think about it?

Thanks for your suggestions, I will try yutaka midori next!



Wes Crosswhite said...

O-cha just got in a new Kabusecha, which I have yet to try. The old one was a favorite of mine. Others are liking it, so I'd say it's a good choice for you. It is very different from fukamushi, it's more like a gyokuro.

I'll bet you could taste a good difference between the two yutaka midoris. I guess you'd like them both, but would favor the more expensive one.

Mary said...

Hey Wes,
I wanted to tell you how much I enjoy reading your blog. Jack and I are finding it so very informative and we check with it a lot as we venture into our Green Tea experience. I would love to try some good gyokuro and some more senchas; Jack is more into the oolongs and darjeelings. I must go check out the site where you bought your white bowl with the fish in it. Jack talks about it quite a lot. Thanks for all the info Wes.

Matt said...

If one were to send you a tea sample where would one send it?

Wes Crosswhite said...

Hey Mary,
I'm real glad to hear you're enjoying the blog, and also that you and Jack are getting into good teas! Maybe Santa will bring something extra special this year..

Shoot me an e-mail, it should be at the bottom of the page.

Joey said...

Just discovered myself, are there any better sencha suppliers out there for taste/freshness/value? International shipping must be cheap. Cheers :)