Friday, September 14, 2007

Sencha and Sake

Ito En Sencha Shot, I've seen this at Whole Foods before, and we started carrying it this week. I tried it today, and I was pleasantly surprised. No, it is not as good as freshly brewed sencha; it is rather astringent leaning towards bitter, but as bottled, or in this case canned, tea goes, it was incredibly flavorful and natural, bold. You know you're drinking Japanese sencha. I drank it chilled, which may have helped. I remember enjoying some of the other teas from Ito En better if they were served cold.

Retail: $1.79/ea. (store price) $45/case (Ito En price)

Sake or Nihonshu (日本酒)

I learned about and purchased my first bottle of sake today. I have nothing to compare it to, the stuff I bought was made and bottled in the U.S., so I have my doubts about how wonderful it really is, but this stuff was good, strong at first with a remarkably smooth finish.

What I learned is that the quality of the sake depends on how much the rice is polished, so here are a few words to look for.

Junmai: Pure rice wine, no additives or added alcohol.
Ginjo: Rice has been polished down to %50 or less.
Daiginjo: Rice has been polished down to %40 or less.

The bottle I bought just says Ginjo. Wikipedia says that the added alcohol isn't always a bad thing. Next time I'll try to find some Junmai Ginjo and see how that is.


Wes Crosswhite said...

What fun, I have a couple bottles of Junmai Ginjyo over here. I've been getting the Japanese stuff, but at $1/oz, I'm thinking of trying out some of the American bottled stuff.
Are you drinking it warm or chilled? I've found that chilled brings out more of the fruity aroma, fresh flavor.

Space Samurai said...

I'm drinking it chilled. I too think it tastes better that way.

MarshalN said...

Generally speaking only crappier stuff get warmed, although that's not always true...

A good sake is very, very good. I sometimes buy a big bottle and have a sake party with friends in the house. It's much more fun than drinking other things, although when we finish the bottle (which doesn't last too long, even if it's 2L) we then often move on to whisky.....

Steph said...

Hello! I've just found you. I picked up a Sencha Shot from my local food coop this weekend and plan to do a blog post about it, as well. Will link to yours!