I was disappointed in this tea the first time I prepared it. I followed Mr. Yasui's instructions to the letter, brewing for a total of one minute at 80C (176F), and found it extremely bitter (in fact, I could taste nothing else). I decided to drop the water to 75C (167F)...what a difference!
The dry leaf has an intensely green and savory aroma, and looks like slivers of polished malachite. The first cup is a beautiful, misty yellow-green that both looks and smells of springtime. Bitterness isn't entirely eliminated by the lower brewing temperature, but it's considerably minimized and actually complements other nuances that I was unable to discern when brewed hotter. I tasted a bit of sweetness, as well greenness that's simultaneously vegetal (but not like gyokuro) and a bit flowery, followed by a lovely, lingering aftertaste and mouthfeel.
The second infusion (15 seconds longer) is much more intense than the first, both in color (greener) and flavor, followed by a mildish, but very colorful, third infusion (again 15 seconds longer, total 1.5 minutes). Sublime--I only regret that I lack both the expertise and the vocabulary to do it justice.
Very highly recommended--this tea is in a class of its own.
Comment from Hibiki-an:
We are so glad to hear she found out her best brewing way.
Sencha's best features are its refreshing yet mellow aroma, and balance of sweet and bitter taste. It's better to brew Sencha with 176F (80C) water so that the refreshing aroma and the mildly bitter taste of Catechin and Caffeine are enhanced. And we think it is more important to try to find out the best brewing way (water temperature and waiting time).
If you would like mellower flavor, please brew with a little lower temperature for a little longer time. In contrast, if you would like more refreshing flavor, please brew a little higher temperature water for a little shorter time. Please search for the best brewing time for you.