Received this as a sample from YunomiThis is one of my first times with a TRUE gyokuro, and I guess I didn’t realize how much of a pain it is to brew. The first infusion requires 122 degree water which is very tough to get down to (even steepster’s slider doesn’t go that low). I bought a temperature precise kettle and it only goes down to 140! So the usual advice is to pour it from the brewing vessel into cup to warm both and bring the temperature down. So that’s what I did. And then steep for 2.5 min. They say this is to “prime” the leaves. Whether or not it’s necessary I don’t know, but I used to write instructions for a living so I feel like I have to follow them. Also, the other reviewer of this tea started brewing this at 160 right off the bat – so take that for what it’s worth.
Second, these gyokuro leaves are SO fine. I thought I’d be slick and use my nice glass strainer to watch the beautiful leaf color but NO, because they are so little they all got caught in there. So, I used an old tea glass mug with a built in infuser at the top. But even THAT infuser was not fine enough, so I had to use a fine mesh strainer when I poured it in to catch all the remaining leaves. This tea sure requires a lot of hardware.
So, was it worth it? Perhaps. The first infusion of this tea is very nice, but it’s not your typical green tea. It’s very savory, almost like a miso flavor? It’s very smooth and not hint of bitterness.
The next two infusions required 158 degree water with 20-30sec infusions which is at least a little easier to get on my kettle. Actually, I’m comparing the label to the website and they say for the third infusion to make it even hotter. Why can’t they have consistent labeling?
Anyway – the 2nd infusion brings more of a vegetal note . I may have steeped it a tad too long; the website says 15 sec and I probably did closer to 25. I am getting a touch of bitterness that I wasn’t getting with the tea before.Dang you gyokuro why must you be so finnicky??
The third infusion they say to steep even LONGER and at higher temperature (45 sec @ 175 degrees) but I don’t know, man.. I try it anyway, and sure enough it is even MORE astringent. I’m going back to my original steeping parameters.
Fourth infusion – 25 sec @ 155F. This is not a bad infusion at all. The astrigency isn’t there. There’s still a bit of taste left with some savory flavor. I’m still not in LOVE with the tea, but I think it works a lot better at this lower temperature.
Also, my mesh tea strainer is getting all clogged up now so I think this is my queue to stop with my infusions.
After these infusions, I decide to cold brew the leftover leaves and MAN is the coldbrew tasty. Honestly, I think this tea works MUCH better cold than hot. But with such a high price tag I’d have a hard time recommending it for JUST cold brew.