Saturday, May 9, 2009

Tea Tasting Saturday #19 - Gyokuro

Gyokuro is another new tea to me, so I was looking forward to trying this one -- and hoping it wasn't one of the "roasted" Japanese teas.

Category: Japanese Green Tea

Purveyor: Harney & Sons

When purchased: March 2009

Dry leaf appearance:
Deep hunter green leaves, very fine, appearing to be very tightly rolled.

Wet leaf appearance: Bright green chopped spinach. Very *neatly* chopped spinach.

Steeping temperature and time: 1 teaspoon of tea, 160 degrees (the first I've steeped at such a low temperature, I believe), 2 minutes.

Scent: I didn't find anything very distinctive about the scent, except that when I sniffed both the dry leaf and the steeped tea, I thought of the scent of Chinese greens.

Color: A very pale green.

Flavor: This was quite a nice Japanese green! Everything about its appearance and scent had seemed so ordinary to me, but there was a richness of flavor to this tea I really enjoyed. It is distinct from the Chinese greens, and although I can't quite categorize what the difference is ("a slight roasty/toasty note" is all I can come up with), I believe I could pick this one out in a taste test with Chinese green teas. I had a teeny bit of that astringency after drinking this tea, but I wasn't bothered by it at all.

Additional notes: According to "The Harney & Sons Guide to Tea," while Sencha is grown in the sun, Gyokuro is grown partially in the shade, which "accounts for a subtly lusher, darker, more mouth-coating tea." And speaking of my beloved tea textbook, did you know it was a finalist for a coveted James Beard Foundation Book Award this year? A wine book won, but I was delighted to see Michael Harney's book honored by being nominated.

Next week's tea: Tencha

1 comment:

  1. Your review of Gyokuro was interesting. I have this tea purchased at Adagio and it differs somewhat in appearance and taste. It is a fairly expensive tea and received mixed reviews on their site. I fall into the "not keen on it" group.

    I do think that I probably oversteeped it and therefore it was rather bitter. I have a tendency to use too much loose tea as well, even though I have a handy "one perfect cup of tea" measuring spoon. I'll give this tea another couple of tries.

    Thanks for the review.


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