I decided to compare the Tazo Collection Gyokuro to the Superior Sencha this afternoon because I was struck by the similarity in price between the two. Usually gyokuro is much more expensive than sencha, even ichiban sencha, so it seemed like a good opportunity to test out my hypothesis that haute sencha eventually converges with gyokuro.
What I found, to my surprise, was that I actually preferred the ichiban sencha to this gyokuro. This is good, no doubt, but for some reason the sencha tasted more delectable to me today. It was slightly salty, but it is also possible that I was craving more of a sencha taste, and this gyokuro has a subtler, less vegetal flavor as well. It also seemed slightly thinner and less full than the sencha.
The liquor was very pale greenish yellow, and there was less particulate matter and cloudiness in this brew than in my side-by-side preparation of Superior Sencha. I was fairly painstaking about keeping the parameters the same, but it is possible that I steeped the gyokuro for slightly less time than the sencha. Anyway, I’m still happy to have a large bag of this gyokuro from the Tazo Collection sale still in progress chez Starbucks.
From a business standpoint, it was probably a mistake for Starbucks to make tea-lovers go to the Starbucks website to buy their loose-leaf tea. They should have kept the tea-selling business of Tazo at the Tazo website. Let’s face it: the people who frequent the Starbucks website are much more likely to be hardcore coffee drinkers, and people who are focusing on tea will go first to a tea-only site such as Teavana before attempting a lengthy and often fruitless search through the difficult-to-navigate Starbucks.com website in search of good tea. Some of it is still there to be found, but it will not be there for much longer, it seems.
(Blazing New Rating #46)