Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Sencha, Ice Infusion

Sencha infused with ice. I had seen striking pictures of this before on a Japanese site, and earlier this week I received a newsletter from In Pursuit of Tea about this. Temperatures here in Texas have reached triple digits, so it was clearly time to give this a try.

According to IPoT tealeaves will only release their tannins in water 140 F or above, so without having to worry about the brew becoming overly astringent or just plain crap, you get an intensely flavored infusion. That's the idea at least. I used a Chinese sencha from Zhejiang that I purchased from Rishi, its relatively inexpensive price being my primary motivation.

First Attempt: Following the guidelines in the newsletter, I measured out about 5 g of leaf, added 5-6 ice cubes, and waited. And waited. And waited some more. Time is the big drawback to this method. It took at 30-45 minutes to get 2 oz of tea, but it tasted good. Intense ins correct, very bold, very sweet, and the aroma was like green tea ice cream. Unfortunately two sips and you're done.

Second Attempt: This time I used the directions I first saw here. I measured out 8 g of leaf, added enough warm water to soak the leaves, followed by 4-5 ice cubes, then I filled the 10 oz pot with cold water, steeping for 5 minutes. The results were good, but the flavor was nowhere near as concentrated. It reminded me of Ito En's pure green bottled tea.

Third Attempt: This was sort of a cross between the previous two methods. I used 5 g of leaf, 5 ice cubes, then filled the pot with cold water, letting it steep for 25 minutes. This was closer to the first attempt, stronger, but it still fell short, not as sweet.

I'm sure I'll play around with this some more. I'd like to find a way that repeats the results of my original attempt, without having to wait for ice cubes to melt. Perhaps I'll leave it out on my porch next time. That Texas sun should make short work of those ice cubes.

14 comments:

Hobbes said...

Thanks for the article - I love the chahe! Is it from Imperial Tea Court, by any chance?


Toodlepip,

Hobbes

Space Samurai said...

Thank you, yes it is. Good eye.

Jamie said...

I just read that newsletter this morning, and was planning to try it myself. Thanks for the report...I'll see how it works with some gyokuro I have on hand.

Tea Drinker said...

I frequently make cold brewed iced sencha by putting the tea leaves in cold water and storing in a glass bottle overnight or up to 24 hours. I find that you need maybe 50% more leaves than if you were to brew with hot water. The tea isn't bitter using this method even though it steeps for so long. Lately I've been using shin-cha, including an unopened shin-cha from last year that I found in the back of the fridge!

Sometimes I also use a special bottle that I purchased at TenRen in Taiwan that has a small compartment at the bottom in which to put tea leaves and is screened off from the rest of the bottle thereby allowing you to drink from the top without ingesting any leaves.

Brent said...

Huh... this sounds delightfully quirky. I'll definitely give it a try tomorrow!

Stocking up on as much ITC stuff as possible before the illustrious Mr. Fong visits, eh? I've actually had my eye on the same chahe (thanks to Hobbes for increasing my Chinese vocabulary by about 10,000%)-- it is nice looking.

Anyway, I hope the vicodin is still flowing plentifully. :P

-Brent

Michael said...

Oooh, ooh! I just wrote about my own first experience with cold-brew sencha on my blog (http://www.teageek.net/blog/?p=16) and actually linked to your post on Kyusu in it. How weird is that? The way I was shown sounds slightly different than your attempts, though Aaron did mention the ice cube version.

Space Samurai said...

Yeah, I read your post on that and it sounded really good. I plan to try it that way next.

MarshalN said...

I find it's easier to just throw a bunch of leaves into a big pitcher, add water (room temp) and stick it in the fridge. A day later you have iced tea for drinking all day long. Good for getting rid of stale greens and other teas that you don't really want to drink much of anymore.

Requires a bit of planning ahead, but it beats sitting around waiting for ice to melt :)

Space Samurai said...

I know there are easier ways, but there is something about this way that intrigues me so, the ice cubes in a tea pot.

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I prefer a cup of sweet chai tea it tastes better than this insipid sencha infusion.

Elliott Broidy said...

This is wonderful. I had not thought of this before!