After several weeks of rain, I am finally getting my first taste of summer weather. With (hopefully) endless hot and sunny days on the horizon, I can’t help but daydream about heading to the beach, having backyard barbecues, and experiencing all the fun that goes along with summer.

While I’m in this summer state of mind, I need a fun and bouncy sencha to sip on. Fortunately for me, Oku Midori is exactly that. 🙂

Bag of Oku Midori, a deep steamed Japanese sencha

Background

When I first came across this deep steamed sencha, my interest was immediately piqued. Offered by O-Cha.com, Oku Midori rubs elbows with other premium sencha offerings. Grown in Ariake, Kagoshima Prefecture, Japan, this sencha dives deep into the realm of fukamushi-cha.

The leaves are a non-uniformed mix of long strands, short strands, and small crumble.

fukamushi sencha leaves

The bold aroma is endowed with grassy, citrusy, and slightly sweet scents. I seem to be getting a hint of pineapple in the citrusy notes as well.

Brewing Oku Midori

Compared to the vendor, I like to use more leaf and a shorter steep.

Leaf: 4.1g (0.8 tbsp)/125ml
Temp: 78C(173F)
Time: 0:40 sec

It is very important to have short steeps with Oku Midori. The astringency and brothiness runs wild if an infusion goes on for too long. For this reason, I like to brew for 40 seconds.

The leaf seems to be very compact. It doesn’t take much of a scoop to get 4.1 grams.

Thoughts and Observations

With low to moderate levels of cloudiness, the liquid is an excellent emerald hue. (Note the blue of my cup distorts this somewhat.) A vegetal and grassy aroma emenates from my cup.

A cup of Oku Midori from O-Cha.com

The taste is grassy, oceanic, and savory. There is a playful level of astringency that creates a lively feel to this tea. A hint of citrus, a subtle sweetness, and a dash of vegetal undertones round out the flavour profile.

For those looking for a brothier experience with Oku Midori, I would recommend dropping the temperature a couple degrees, and increase the infusion time by 10 seconds.

Later Infusions

Oku Midori is good for five infusions.

The second infusion is brewed at the same temp as the first, and steeped for zero seconds. This may sound confusing, after all, pouring the tea the instant the water touches the leaves is impossible.

The truth is that the instant infusion isn’t actually instant. A few seconds will slip by when you pour the water into your kyusu, and then again when you pour the tea into your cup. When I say zero seconds, I am referring to the wait time in between these pouring actions.

second infusion with emerald colour

(above: second infusion — a very cloudy emerald shade of green.)

After that, brew the third infusion for 25 seconds, the fourth for 1:30, and the fifth for 3:00+. Increase the temperature several degrees each time.

Final Thoughts

A couple years back, I said Fukamushi Sencha Kaoru was the embodiment of deep steamed tea. While I still stand by this, Oku Midori has given me solid reason to reconsider which fukamushi should reign supreme. I strongly believe this tea will hold a special place in the hearts of those obsessed with deep, deep steamed sencha. 🙂

 

 

Griff is the co-founder of The Art of Japanese Green Tea website and video series.

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