My fondest memory of Chiran comes from the summer of 2009. Since I was young, my Dad and I would go up north to a friend’s log cabin. For the summer of 2009, Matt was able to join us.
The tea we brought with us was Chiran. We brewed by the river that the cabin was situated on, in the living room, on the veranda, and perhaps most memorably, in the loft.
If you’d like to stroll down memory lane with me, here are a few photos from the trip. 😛 (click to enlarge.)
Five years later, I believe it’s time for a review. 🙂
Chiran is named after the town it originates from in the southern prefecture of Kagoshima. It can be purchased at O-Cha.com. The particular sencha I am reviewing should not be confused with O-Cha’s Organic Chiran Sencha, or their Chiran Asatsuyu.
New for 2014, Chiran is now a mid-steamed sencha, rather than deep-steamed.
The leaves are a rich shade of green, and are of medium length. The aroma is wonderfully grassy with some sweet aspects.
Brewing Chiran with different parameters can yield very different results. I prefer a light taste that is full of grassiness. A low brewing temperature as well as a short infusion time can make this possible.
70C (158F) is at the low end of the temperature scale for sencha, but it unlocks a mellow flavour profile in this tea.
I also find that steeping the first infusion for 45 seconds brings out the grassiness, but keeps the vegetal tones subtle.
Observations on Chiran
The first infusion isn’t overly cloudy, but it has enough tea particles to make it a rich, medium shade of green. The aroma is a pleasant bouquet of seaweed, grass, and slight honey notes.
The taste is well defined, light, and refreshing. It is a clean, grassy flavour that leaves only a bit of astringency in the back of your throat.
Chiran offers four solid steepings. For the second, brew for 10 seconds, 45 seconds for the third, and 1:30 for the fourth. Increase the temperature by 5-10C each time.
As pictured, the second infusion is very cloudy. The third and fourth retain a high level of cloudiness as well.
Unfortunately with the cabin, 2009 was the last year we were able to go. The family friend who owned it ended up selling it to the owner of the cabin next door. Regardless, I am happy that I was able to spend my last trip with Matt and my Dad. As I envision sitting by the river, sipping on my tea with Matt in the misty morning, I can’t help but think that Chiran more than deserves its title of the first – and only – Japanese green tea to be consumed at the cabin. 🙂