Oku Yutaka really strikes a chord with me; from the very first sip, I am put into a state of calmness. Its interesting taste transports me back to the days when I first got into real Japanese green tea.
Let’s explore this tea together. 🙂
Oku Yutaka is a mid steamed, organic sencha from the Shizuoka prefecture of Japan. It also was the first organic sencha I had bought from O-Cha.com, several years ago.
The leaves are a mixture of medium sized crumble and longer strands. The colour is generally a mid-green, but some longer pieces are lighter in shade.
Brewing Oku Yutaka
Oku Yutaka has some unusual brewing parameters. To begin, I like using 5 grams of leaf for my 125ml cup. To date, this may be the most leaf I have used in a sencha review. I have found the higher amount of leaf coupled with a somewhat shorter brewing time of 50 seconds brings out a nice balanced flavour, while keeping the astringency at bay.
Thoughts and Observations
The liquid is a clear emerald green. The aroma is light and on the vegetal side.
The taste is very interesting. It doesn’t have the smooth elegance of an asamushi, nor does it have the grassy boldness of a fukamushi. Instead, it has a lovely, balanced flavour with slight amounts of seaweed, grassiness, and even milky undertones.
This harmonious blend of mid-ground flavours is very similar to the sencha I drank when I began to get serious about Japanese tea. With each sip, I am transported back to that wonderful time. 😀
There is some astringency in the aftertaste, but what is more present is a lingering sweetness.
Oku Yutaka can yield either four or five steepings, depending on your preference.
The second and third infusions are cloudier than the first, enhancing the colour of the tea. In order to keep the astringency down for these infusions, brew the second for 20 seconds at the same temperature as the first, and the third for 40 seconds, 5-10 degrees hotter.
The fourth and fifth infusions aren’t picky. Brew them at a high temperature. Steep the fourth infusion for 1:30, and the fifth for 3:00+ minutes.
When I buy sencha, I typically look for bold grassiness, or smooth elegance. Oku Yutaka has shown me that there is a third option, which is a very refreshing change of pace. At an economical price, Oku Yutaka is something I would encourage everyone to try. 🙂