Japanese Shin Cha Cupping Event Results …. Week 2

IMG_4278 croppedThis week the samples included some very special and unique teas. The first sample evaluated was a Temomi (hand rolled) tea. During the Tea Tour of Japan this May, we visited the Sugimoto tea factory. Several Cuppers participated in making this tea. After a small sample for each tea-maker, there was exactly 500 grams left, just enough for this cupping event. It took an entire day to make this tea, processed all by hand. Another special tea is from Kanes tea company. It uses a purple tea bush varietal. Another Sen Cha from Marumatsu Tea rounded out the week’s samples. Following are the notes of the Cuppers who submitted their evaluations. Late arrivals will be added as they are received so visit this page again for further comments.

Sample #004- Temomi
Dry Leaf Appearance: - Long, straight, needle shaped dark gray-green. No brokens. Glossy luster on leaf surface. Deep color.
- deep green, long, uniform, thinly rolled needles
- long 1-1/2-2” twisted needle shape leaf, dark green - very long dark green needles
- Very long (3") dark bluish green needles. No leaf parts. Uniform color & shape.
- Long Straight, cylindrical, green with some gold
- long slender dark green rolled leaves

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Light but rich. Slight baked notes. Steamed soy beans.
- sweet, seaweedy
- seaweed, light
- herbal, flowery
- Fresh cut grass with fig & straw.  Dissipates quickly.
- grassy, sweet hay, licorice
- light, airy, hint of grass

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Beautiful pea-green, whole leaves. Long and slender leafs and stems with small whole leaves. Several 2 leaf and 1 bud sets.
- flawless, full leaves, completely intact, healthy plant green
- whole leaf, spring green
- long soft leaves, green/yellow
- Whole leaf with stems attached, some buds, & leaf parts, interspersed.
- slightly open, long narrow leaf, uniform green
- pale green open leaves 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Sweet, watery, light some cooked vegetable notes like asparagus but milder.
- vegetal - carrot, seaweed
- green vegetables,
- Burnt straw followed by cut fresh grass.
- some asparagus, wheaty
- subtle grassy

Liquor Color:
- Bright but light yellow. Slightly cloudy but still sparling. Uniform depth.
- light yellow
- straw yellow, a little cloudy
- pale yellow, very clear
- Very light yellowish green
- pale green, very light, clear, smooth
- pale yellow

- Rich, full, juicy, vegetal, like brussel sprouts cooked in soup. Thick. Light astringency but ok. Lingering finish is fairly well balanced but some astringency remains.
- mild vegetal front, no "assault" often associated with green tea, mellows into a sweet pea
- straw yellow, a little cloudy
- green vegetables (warm French beans), sweet
- 1st sensation: vegetal with bitterness. Some umami but astringency is not building body. Light asparagus flavor. Aftertaste 10 min but includes bitterness. Cooled: Bitter.
- greens, asparagus background, light in astringency,
- musty, earthy, very astringent finish

Comments: - Rich aroma. Taste was full and smooth with some character but not as captivating as the aroma. Amazingly beautiful leaves. This is good example of what hand-picked leaves can produce.
- I am fascinated by how quality is just so recognizable even without me having specific training. This is a beautiful tea.
- This is a light and fresh tea - and very special because it is hand-rolled. A tea for special occasions.
-  A typical quality Shizuoka Sencha
- Liquor has a rich aroma very similar to dry leaf.  The dry leaf needles were huge, +3 in, due to long stems left on leaf. I'm wondering why they plucked this way - what they gained by leaving this much stem.
- x
- Build up of pleasant looking uniform leaves, nice aroma but big let down. Initial Musty flavor not too bad, a little reminiscent of a first flush Darjeeling but quite unpleasant bitter finish

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance


Leaf Aroma


4 2
Liquor Aroma


3 2
Liquor Flavor


3 2 1


Sample #005   Ara Cha – 619-B
Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Dark green, long slender leaves with some yellow stalks and lots of brokens.
- deep green with some lighter green moderate to large thin rolls
- 1/2-1” straight sword-shape, medium to light green, not uniform
- long dark green needles with some yellow pieces
- Dark green needles & very small broken leaf (1mm - 1cm). A few pale green pieces, similar to straw. Non uniform shape & size.
- some chips and stems, long green cylinders, some golden pieces
- Dark green leaves, white stems

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Rich, baked vegetal notes. Pasty. Some raw soy/lima bean.
- vegetal, mild damp grass
- roasted kale, seaweed
- aromatic plants
- Pine with uncut alfalfa.  Aroma dissipates quickly.
- grassy, sweet, greens
- Mild vegetal, subtle richness

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Medium green, mostly chopped leaves. Some small whole leaves. A bit mushy but not too soft.
- beautiful bright green, with stems - some that are light greenish yellow stems
- broken leaf and some stem, mid-green, various sizes
- leaves in big pieces, green/yellow
- Whole leaf, leaf parts, buds, & stems. Varying size from 2 - 5cm. Appears chopped.
- some chopped leaves, green, stems throughout
- very dark green 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Light but deep. Slightly sweet with hints of green olive and kale. Also noticed some hints of spice like jalapeno. Thick.
- Vegetal
- steamed spinach, kale
- green vegetables, aromatic herbs
- Light roasted pine followed by asparagus, which dominates sensation.
- herbal, asparagus
- buttery, nutty, vegetal kinda like a nice dragonwell

Liquor Color:
- Intense canary yellow. Bright but thick. Very deep. Some sediment.
- yellow with drifting particles
- golden-yellow, cloudy with a chance of green
- pale yellow
- Yellow green, light.  Clear without clouds.
- coppery clear
- pale yellow

- Full, cooked spinach. A bit astringent. Nice complexity with sweet notes on the tongue tip and roof of mouth. Fresh cooked carrot tops. Finish lingers but gets more astringent.
- grassy mild creamy
- sweet and light, vegetable broth umami, slightly metallic finish
- very pleasant liquor aroma despite its bitterness
- Warm: astringency without bitterness bring body, balance, & loads of umami. Leek flavor predominates, but mouthfeel more significant than flavor. Cool: picks up some bitterness but also an interesting cream taste that enhances umami.
- little bite, nice smooth, refreshing, round up front
- brisk not quite astringent

- Really rich liquor color. Flavor was very interesting, especially the hint of spice. Something like jalapeno pepper but not oily or hot. I tasted it on more parts of my palate and mouth.
- I know we are not to be comparing, but I do see this as a higher quality than A.
- sweet and light, vegetable broth umami, slightly metallic finish
- this tea was good, not great, I didn’t enjoy the finish which is important for me.
- Liquor has the aroma of pan seared asparagus with sautéed leek.  This is a very resilient tea - shines from 150 F - 190.  Looking at the leaf, it makes me question how much the quality of the pluck matters in shincha.
- x
- more pleasing flavor than #3 or #4

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance 3 3 1
Leaf Aroma 4 3
Liquor Aroma 2 4 1
Liquor Flavor 4 1 2


Sample #006 Sun Drop
Dry Leaf Appearance:
- Very dark green needle-shaped leaves. Some lighter green stalks. Very few brokens. Well graded. Hand Made?
- moderate length deep green thin rolls
- needles of various sizes, some stem
- long flat dark green needles
- Very dark, bluish green needles of varying size (5mm - 2cm) with a couple of brown thick stems. Lighter green needles interspersed.
- dark gray/green, needles
- darkest green so far

Dry Leaf Aroma:
- Strong, cooked red wine and mushrooms (beef Bourguignon). Rich with very light sweetness.
- savory apple
- fresh, pine
- herbal
- Light aroma of steamed kale with very slight nutmeg in the background.
- earthy, some sweetness
- very fresh, newly mowed lawn

Wet Leaf Appearance:
- Large, gray-green dark leaves. Most are large but chopped. Some small hole leaves. Still sturdy (not mushy).
- even deep green color, large pieces some tips, some stems
- forest green broken leaf of various sizes and shapes
- dark green almost black
- Whole & broken leaf, lots of stems, & a few buds -- all of varying size. Wide leaf (up to 2cm). Dark green throughout. Attached stems are very long.
- some stems, slightly open and broken, dark grey
- even darker green 

Wet Leaf Aroma:
- Very light, hint of sweetness. Strong squash notes. Juicy. Green but deep. Cooked seaweed (in soup).
- mild sweet apply boiled potato
- cooked vegetable, collard greens
- green vegetables
- Typical sencha infused leaf aroma, but lighter - pan seared kale with pine.
- sweet, vegetative
- same as dry leaf surprised aroma did not change much from dry leaf

Liquor Color:
- Dark brown/green (like the dry leaf). Some brightness but a bit murky. Some color depth. - how fun is this - started as a lovely green, but it turned murky water brown. I'm guessing when brewed at lower temperature it will not turn this brown.  After lemon added it turned a pleasant moderate saturated pink.
- strange magenta tint when infused!
- brown/black with some blue glint
- Warm: reddish smoke. Cool: just smoke (loses the red). Cloudy & dull.
- clear, coppery
- purple!

- Strong but with some layers. Astringent but some sweetness in the mix. Over cooked greens like kale. Thick. Finish evens out but astringency remains.
- started as typical astringent green. I should have spent more time tasting "plain" but I wanted to add the lemon to see what would happen. Is this what is referred to a "umami"? That is my best guess for my inexperience taste buds. With the lemon this is "lemon umami happiness."
- Astringent, metallic taste, really unpleasant
- green vegetable more or less astringent, salty?
- 1st sensation: nothing followed by bitterness. Cool: bitterness becomes oppressive. Minimal body & no umami - warm or cool. Aftertaste lingers with bitterness.
- very sweet up front, fresh, some acidity in finish
- moved from a very flat through slightly brisk then astringent

- Quite an unusual tea. Leaf color was darker and not as green. Very long, slender leaf shape with some glossy sheen. Taste of cooked greens and acorn squash.
- How fun is this!  Surely this will turn into a staple for bridal/baby showers. I certainly want to "play" more with this.
- I really didn’t enjoy anything about this tea. The magenta tint was different, but confusing. Really did not like the taste
- Very different from usual Sencha, especially for the liquor color and flavor, the introduction of some drops of lemon is very amazing, tastes better with lemon.
- The liquor appearance is identical to a steamed purple tea from Kenya and the taste profile is very similar - both must have been pulled from the same ancestors. There's a variance in taste but I think that both the Japanese & the Kenyans haven’t figured the tea out - which makes both a lot of fun. The liquor has a very interesting fruity aroma (melon & fig). My low flavor rating is based on 180 temp/2 min, but this tea changes dramatically at 165. I don’t think this tea should be judged with a sencha - this is a special category but kudos for providing it.
- x
- x

Rank: Combined scores for all Cuppers. Cuppers were asked to score the sample based on four criteria. The chart below shows the overall ranking of each attribute. The rank range was 1 to 5 with one indicating most appealing and 5 indicating least appealing. A higher number indicates more Cuppers agreed on the same ranking.

1=Most Appealing 1 2 3 4 5
Leaf Appearance 1 4 1 1
Leaf Aroma 5 1
Liquor Aroma 1 2 4
Liquor Flavor 1 1 2 2 1


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10 2015

1 Comments Add Yours ↓

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  1. 1

    Temomi and Sun Drop were “fun” teas.

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