A first gyokuro, courtesy of the benevolent Togo, thank you <3 I think this may also be the first tea I’ve had from our second swap. Is kabusecha a gyokuro? If so, this is my second.
It is a rough morning in the house of derk. I’ve had to close my door and put on a record to keep the negativity of Housemate #2 at bay. Somewhere along this timeline I acquired a Ravi Shankar album and this is the first performance on it: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hjjOXIoCLPI
I’m still in the midst of this session but feel the need to write. After reading through the reviews of this tea (this is why Steepster is so helpful!), I prepared the entire 7g of dark green, shiny leaves in a 60mL gaiwan since I do not own any Japanese teaware. First boiled the water, then let it cool by passing it between a few vessels, warming the leaves during that process. The warmed leaf emitted a thick cloud of pine, sugar cookie and beef along with a fruity quality.
I did not keep track of steeping times beyond the initial 2 minutes and let the force guide me. The gyokuro soaked up so much water in the first brew that I barely got maybe 25mL of tea. Due to the liquor’s thickness, though, it seems like an appropriate amount to sip. Bitter with a moderate umami, like dandelion greens simmered with lamb or beef bones. Umami aftertaste with lingering bitterness and what I perceived as a whisper of smoke.
The tea maintained this character for at least 3 more steeps.
With the fourth steep a bright sweetness presented at the top back of the mouth. I sipped some of the leftover water that had cooled and that intensified the sweetness. I think this is something I will do in between these small cups. Later, that sweetness seemed to migrate down into my throat and into my chest. I’m on the 7th infusion now and the thickness has faded while the bitterness and beefy umami are still present, now with a lighter but still dark vegetal tone like kale and asparagus. All I’ve had to eat this morning is half a roll smeared with a bit of brie style cheese I picked up from a cheesemaker on my way home from work the other day. My stomach is not queasy at all. I’m pretty relaxed. Gyokuro is interesting. I think I enjoy it more than sencha.
Flavors: Asparagus, Bitter, Cookie, Dandelion, Kale, Meat, Pine, Smoke, Sweet, Thick, Umami, Vegetal