This is an experiment I did quite a long time ago when I was only starting to really enjoy and learn about tea.
I wanted to train my palate as much as I could for recognizing different tastes.
Side by sides are probably the best way to do this.
If you are just learning about tea, this is a perfect way to start!
I revisited this method today.
My setup includes:
-Two cupping sets
-Sterling silver spoon
The two teas are both (obviously) Japanese.
The sencha is a deeper green, although I think this is a more Chinese style sencha. The leaves are not so needle like. More coarse.
The sencha (on the left) smells very heavily vegetal, and slightly nutty.
The kukicha is much more needle like, displaying light greens to dark greens. The leaves also have a waxy feel and look to them.
It smells sweetly woodsy and rich. I would describe it as aromatic umami.
-2:30 steep time
The infusion (wet leaves) of the sencha smell of freshly cut grass, and have marine notes that blend nicely in the aroma. They are an evergreen color, and pretty broken up.
The kukicha infusion's aroma stays true to the dry leaf, but slightly intensified.
They are rather pretty leaves! I love the color.
The liquor of the sencha (left) has marine, salty notes above a grassy undertone. There is a nice astringency to this tea. The aroma is mostly floral, but has some nutty characteristics to it as well.
The kukicha (right) is very creamy and grassy. The umami is presented in the cup as well and rounds out the rich, lingering taste. The aroma is woodsy.
This is a good way to compare tastes from different countries, regions, estates, and climates. It is an invaluable skill.
Anyone else have some interesting cupping experiences?