March 30, 2011
Even with the terrible tragedies in Japan, I can’t help but think of Spring without dreaming of Shincha. It seems that the weather is shaping up for a late season but there are a few places taking orders. I have had a number of inquiries and questions on the safety of this year’s crop, and honestly while I am reasonably certain it will be fine, I have some reservations in definitively saying it is 100% safe. 99% I could do, maybe, but there are a lot of factors and issues at play. I’d love to hear other’s theories and thoughts.
Now for the Erhu bit. I own a number of instruments and play none of them well, but I love music and I do love experimenting and playing terribly. I also love music. I’m entranced by the Sitar and the Erhu both. A Sitar is a tad out of my price range and would require a lifetime devotion to be even bad at, same for the Erhu but it is at least affordable. :) So I finally dove in and purchased a decent beginner/intermediate Erhu. I honestly have no real idea what I’m in for and have not played a bowed instrument before, but I love classical Chinese music and know and recognize more of them than classical Western pieces. At the least I hope to be able to play a few basic melodies and maybe use it to sample for some digital creation, at the very least it will make a lovely piece of art!
June 6, 2008
TJ10 Japanese Sencha is the lower grade offering from Upton as far as Sencha goes. I actually prefer it to their Sencha “Yamato” which is supposedly better. It is still far short of expectations though. I would easily put it in the same class as some cheap Hime Brand Bancha, and the Bancha actually has larger full blades of tea than the heavily broken bits in this. It is very vegetal, nicely green, and not much else. I did make some iced tea with it though because after just two attempts to drink it I just gave up and wanted to use it up. It makes very good green iced tea, actually better than the Bancha does. Who knows. My tasting notes are almost non-existent because it just wasn’t worth my time and I have better things to try still sitting around, so I apologize but I just couldn’t get into it.
I hate to say it but this is most likely the last tea I buy from Upton. I can tolerate lower quality teas, so it isn’t snobbery… just that I can generally buy Upton quality tea from a local Asian market for a buck or two and in some cases be better off. I will admit though that my tastes have seemed to refine again and I now do crave a mid-high quality tea or I’m just not fully satisfied. I just hope I maintain this level for a while because the next step is to the top-shelf stuff which is going to get quite expensive.
May 22, 2008
OK, so finally back on the horse again and out of the rut I’ve been in. The Sencha Yamato is Upton’s superior grade Sencha, which they claim to have a “brighter flavor and smoother aftertaste.” So how did it stack up? I’d have to say somewhere near the middle, but to be fair the top of the middle range.
I wasn’t overly impressed with the leaf quality as there were a lot of fannings and broken bits. It was however a very verdant green and did posses a bright scent. The flavor fell a bit shy of the dry smell though. It brewed to a pond-water green cup with little in the way of nose. A bit roasty, vegetal, a bit astringent, barely a hint of fishy/kelpy flavor, a touch thick and smooth, and as promised a smooth aftertaste. It was less what I would consider “bright” though as they state in their description. Nothing stands out as being in any way bad or wrong, just nothing really stands out as being amazing.
I do admit that Japanese greens are a special area of interest for me, so I do tend to be a bit tougher to please. It is only because I have tasted so many truly spectacular greens that I don’t relegate Sencha automatically to some lower, pedestrian, tea as it can sometimes be thought of. Will I enjoy the rest of it? Sure. Will I be clamoring for more? Probably not.