Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Den's Tea Guricha (Tamaryokucha)

I'm real fuzzy about the difference between guricha and sencha. Both are steamed, but according to O-cha, guricha, or tamaryokucha, as it is more commonly known as, is "made into comma-shaped tea with a rolling dryer."

Though this tea is produced mainly in Kyushu, Den's Guricha, like all their teas, comes from Shizuoka.

My standard brewing parameters for Japanese green tea is to start off with 4.5 grams per 8 oz of water and steep for 1.5 minutes, then 30 seconds for the second, then adjust the time after that according to taste. I start with water about 175-ish, and creep back up to boiling by the last infusion.

In my experience with Japanese tea, that first infusion is just a warm up, wakes the tea up, the second will be the strongest infusion, and also in my experience, is the easiest to screw up.

First Infusion: (1.5 min) The liquor is fairly clear. The tea is creamy with a thicker mouth feel. I want to describe it as mild, but moderate would be more accurate, similar to a mid-steamed sencha in intensity. There is a very subtle, astringent/dry mouth feel in the finish.

Second Infusion: (.5 min) The tea is cloudy now; like I said, it's all about the second infusion. It is still creamy but sweet now.

Third Infusion: (1 min) It is lighter now, sweeter, pleasantly vegetal. The bit of astringency in the finish is gone now.

Fourth Infusion: (3 min) The liquor is clear again. Most of the flavor is gone, and what I am left with is mostly just tea water, sweeter still. It is an enjoyable cup, though.

The over all flavor is somewhere between kukicha and sencha. I liked it well enough, not as much as others I know, but the tea gives a solid performance.

Cha no Aji (The Taste of Tea)

"Director Katsuhito Ishii's whimsical episodic tale chronicles a summer in the lives of the quirky Haruno clan, who passes the unhurried days trying to realize their ambitions. As Mom attempts to revive her career, her hypnotherapist hubby practices on the family. Meanwhile, their pubescent son feels the pangs of love, and their 6-year-old daughter grapples with a pesky dopplegänger."

This was a quiet and peaceful movie, void of the typical stereotypes, yet possesses a charming surrealism that brings to mind Michel Gondry's The Science of Sleep.

Set in rural Japan, the beautiful scenery and sheer lack of noise was stunning and soothing. I enjoyed the realism, the lack of melodrama or conflict. It was not a story about a family at odds with each other but who loved one another.


Hobbes said...

Good heavens, that cup is so obscenely beautiful.



Unknown said...

Cool pictures. I find it especially interesting that you choose to brew your tea outside, which must have been nice.

I can second that nice cup where did you manage to find something like that?

Mary R said...

God damnit, Space...your blue cup is so beautiful I can't stand it! I can't even pay attention to your text, I'm so distracted.

It's far too pretty to be allowed and I'm so jealous of you! Curse your exclusive source!

Space Samurai said...

Thanks everyone. I love that cup, too.

John, I got it from Zencha.

I must admit that the tea session outside was shamelessly staged and a complete nuissance. I saw the tree stump and thought it was good-photo-fodder. Then had to spend half an hour setting everything up, finding an extension cord and what not for my water kettle.