drank Japanese Gyokuro by Sanctuary T
1925 tasting notes

Sipdown no. 19 of 2016 (no. 230 total). The fourth sample in the pure tea sampler.

I haven’t had that many gyokuros. They sort of intimidate me because they’re so delicate and expensive, and because they have such individuated preparation instructions. I’m not entirely sure I did this correctly as there were not instructions included with my sample, but I got the water temperature and steeping time instructions from the internet, and I steeped it in the gaiwan since it seems you’re supposed to watch the leaves unfurl. The main parameter I’m not sure about is the ratio of tea to water. I used the entire sample, which was about 6.5 grams, in 100ml. The instructions I’d read on the internet said you could do 1-2 grams per 30ml, so I think this worked out about right. I steeped uncovered.

But gee, I expected to see that neon green radioactive color I’d seen with other gyokuros and I didn’t get that at all. I just got a generic yellow green tea color. The aroma is sweetly vegetal as I expected, and the flavor is similar to the aroma.

Frankly, though, the flavor I’m getting isn’t all that different from what I get from sencha. I wonder whether it’s the age of the tea that’s the issue, or whether I just didn’t make it correctly. I will say that the last sip, after becoming quite cool, had a distinct seaweedy flavor that I am guessing is umami.

Not sure how to rate this so I’m not going to.

Flavors: Seaweed, Vegetal

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Kirkoneill1988

i might not try this tea then… thanks though for the heads up :)

Mike

I have only had the Teavana gyokuro, but I love it. I usually steep it for 2 minutes at 140-150 degree Fahrenheit, like you did with this one, and get what tastes like a vegetal sencha, only sweeter and smoother. This one wasn’t sweet?

__Morgana__

It was, just not noticeably more than a sweet sencha.

Mike

Cool. I’ll have to branch out into other gyokuros (if I can find some at a reasonable price, haha). It would be interesting to see how much they vary from one company to the next.

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Kirkoneill1988

i might not try this tea then… thanks though for the heads up :)

Mike

I have only had the Teavana gyokuro, but I love it. I usually steep it for 2 minutes at 140-150 degree Fahrenheit, like you did with this one, and get what tastes like a vegetal sencha, only sweeter and smoother. This one wasn’t sweet?

__Morgana__

It was, just not noticeably more than a sweet sencha.

Mike

Cool. I’ll have to branch out into other gyokuros (if I can find some at a reasonable price, haha). It would be interesting to see how much they vary from one company to the next.

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Bio

I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tastes developed they became less appealing — I still enjoy nicely done blends. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. I used to hate hibiscus, but I’ve turned that corner. Licorice, not so much.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 Excellent; first rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Very good; will likely buy more

70-79 Good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Okay; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it.

My current process for tea note generation is described in my note on this tea: https://steepster.com/teas/mariage-freres/6990-the-des-impressionnistes

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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