2010 O-Cha Yutaka Midori Kaoru Supreme LE
Okay, I admit it. There’s some expectation behind this tea. While offering my thoughts of the last tea over on the TeaChat forums, I may have seen a few threads that would lead me to suspect that this tea is something to get excited about. Regardless, that did not stop me from finding this tea a little bit less enjoyable than the O-Cha Sae Midori. I brewed two sessions of this tea this morning.
An inspection of the dry leaf appeared to contain a higher proportion of relatively large “needles”. A later inspection of the steeped leaves proves these to be a large number of stems and veins, something which I would predict to lessen the quality of a tea’s flavor. Continuing to compare this tea to my last experience, I found the first steep of the Yutaka Midori (YM) still sweet, but not as viscous or deep as the Sae Midori (SM). The flavor profile was different, with an array of tropical fruits, pineapple, lychee, and rambutan, all of which were quite enjoyable! Brininess really picks up in the back of the throat with some clam liquor, seawater, and dried kelp. Some green melon rind peeks in. Overall, this flavor profile didn’t seem particularly deep or thorough.
The second and third steeps were markedly different, with noticeable coarse bitterness that accompanied a sulfurous or tidal flat mud character, clashing with the tea’s sweetness. It made me suspect harsh chemical use in the growth of this tea. The second steep was not my favorite. The third showed more resilience, but was not enough to warrant a fourth. I know that this is a very lauded tea, but I must admit that I found it less enamoring than other examples from this year’s harvest.