Monday, December 20, 2010

How various sizes of tea strainer mesh affects the taste of fukamushi-sencha

I did a test to find out how the mesh fineness affects the taste of futsu-sencha (regular steamed) on the previous blog. Today, I’ll do the same test with fukamushi-sencha (deep steamed).

Fukamushi-sencha leaves are usually finer than futsu-sencha so I assume the fineness of the mesh will have more impact on the taste. This is the fukamushi-sencha I used today which has pretty fine pieces.

Here are three teapots with different strainers.

Teapot A, Mounted stainless strainer (Finer than ceramic strainers)
Teapot B, Fine-mesh ceramic strainer
Teapot C, Regular-mesh ceramic strainer

*** Conditions ***
Tea: fukamushi-sencha, 2grams
Water: 70ml, 70degC
Brewing time: 30secnds

Based on the result, I think A and B are good for fukamushi-sencha.

I found fine grains of leaves on the bottom of A and slightly larger grains in B. I could not tell how big the pieces are in C because it was too murky. After leaving them a couple of minutes, I could check the grains and pieces of leaves more clearly at the bottom. C had more grains of leaves than A and B. It is not obvious in this photo but there are some larger pieces with C.

I’ve tasted them. These are brewed with the same tea and condition so basically they all have similar flavors. However, as you see the difference in their color, the tastes were a little different among the three. B had the lightest flavor and C had a profound flavor and a little bitter. I don’t know why B was lighter than A. Could it be because of the material of the strainer and teapot? I couldn’t say which strainer is good or bad for the taste. It depends on your preference. But I personally prefer A and B. The grains on the bottom make the last sip muddy and bitter. I’m not so comfortable sipping a muddy and bitter sencha. A and B had less grains than C. To conclude, stainless or fine-mesh ceramic strainers are better for fukamushi-sencha.

I also tested the agitate-brewing method at the second brewing. Before pouring, I moved each teapot in a circular motion. Here are what I got from the brewing.


They are all too murky and I could not tell the size of the floating pieces. I left them for a couple minutes but they were still murky.

I took a sip of each tea. They were all too rough in texture and too bitter even with the finest stainless strainer. I don’t recommend moving or shaking a teapot when you prepare fukamushi-sencha.

If you want to know about futsu and fukamushi-snecha, please check out my three previous posts.