As we gear up for the 2016 shincha harvest, I find myself nearing the end of my tea stash. One curiosity I’ve been holding onto for a moment like this is Yutaka Midori “Madoka” from O-Cha.com.

Madoka Packaging 2015

Background

Madoka is a mid steamed sencha from Kagoshima. If I recall correctly, 2015 was the first year O-Cha offered this selection.

Mid Steamed Yutaka Midori Leaves

The leaves are a semi-uniformed medium length. Compared to the vendor’s flagship Yutaka Midori, the aroma is lighter and less grassy. Also, the leaves mostly are a medium green hue.

Brewing Parameters

Madoka requires a somewhat hot and fast infusion. Finding the sweet spot of this sencha is a little tricky, but not too difficult.

Leaf: 4.3g (1 tbsp)/125ml
Temp: 77C(170F)
Time: 45 sec

Seeing how Madoka is a chumushi, I was drawn to brew it longer and cooler than its deep steamed counterpart. While this lead to some interesting brews, my fellow tea aficionado, Ryan, pointed me in the right direction of hot and quick.

 

Using 125ml of water, I’ve settled upon 4.3 grams of leaf, a moderately high temperature of 77C (170F), and a steeping time of 45 seconds.

pouring-ym-into-cup

Thoughts and Observations on Madoka

Crisp notes of seaweed are present among the vegetal flavours. There is a sharp bite of astringency that adds a depth of character to this sencha. The taste is meaningful, though perhaps not overly bold. Hints of creaminess add further complexity to the tea.

Madoka: Yutaka Midori from Kagoshima Japan

However, there is still something missing from the flavour profile. It took me a while to put my finger on it, but Madoka also has a matcha undertone to it. I found this interesting because the original YM does not have this trait at all.

Later Infusions

Madoka is good for four infusions. During the second infusion, the matcha undertone becomes more noticeable. Brew it at 77C (170F) for 15 seconds. For the third, brew it a few degrees hotter for 45 seconds, and the fourth near boiling for 1:30. A fifth infusion is possible, though it’s rather light on taste. If you’d like to try it, use boiling water and let it steep for at least 5 minutes.

Final Thoughts

If you aren’t interested in super grassy greens but would like to see what else Yutaka Midori can offer, Madoka is the sencha for you. As the 2016 harvest begins, I am curious to see if Madoka will be offered in shincha form. I will definitely be keeping an eye out for it. I urge you to keep an eye out for it, too. 🙂

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

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