Another budget Yuuki-Cha tea. This time it’s gyokuro which is normally considered a premium tea. However, this unique variant is processed like bancha consisting of leaves and stems. I’m not a huge fan of gyokuro as I find it too umami heavy for my taste but went for it here as it looked super interesting and the price was good too.

The smell out of the bag is a mixture of umami, nori seaweed, and flowers in a grassy meadow. I’m still working out the brew times and temperatures, but I generally start between 135 – 150 F and gradually increase the temperature 5-10 degrees per infusion for a total of 4 steeps. The first steep produces a fatty, umami laden cup with a texture reminiscent of animal fat. Trust me, it tastes better than my description. It has a slight edge that tiptoes around bitterness without ever becoming bitter. Pale green liquor that smells like brussel sprouts and earth.

Second infusion brings out a subtle earthiness, wheatgrass, and cabbage. Third infusion is 160-165 F and has a more familiar sencha-like flavor. Light wheatgrass, matcha-like creaminess, and straw. Fourth and final steep is mellow and rather washed out.

Overall, an enjoyable Gyokuro with a rich flavor and complexity beyond just umami. It doesn’t resteep as well as pricier teas but acceptable given the style and price point.

Instagram photo: https://www.instagram.com/p/CTiC14orvVd/

Flavors: Butter, Grass, Lettuce, Straw, Umami

145 °F / 62 °C 1 min, 0 sec 3 g 3 OZ / 100 ML

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My Rating Criteria:

95 to 100: Top shelf stuff. Loved this tea and highly recommend it

90 to 94: Excellent. Enjoyed this tea and would likely repurchase

80 to 89: Good but not great. I liked it though it may be lacking in some aspects. I’ll finish it but probably won’t buy again

70 to 79: Average at best. Not terrible but wouldn’t willingly drink again

60 to 69: Sub-par. Low quality tea, barely palatable

59 and below: Bleh

Fell into tea many years ago and for a long time my experience was limited to Japanese greens and flavored Teavana teas. My tea epiphany happened when I discovered jade oolongs. That was my gateway drug to the world of high quality tea and teaware.

For the most part, I drink straight tea but do appreciate a good flavored tea on occasion. I love fresh green and floral flavors and as such, green tea and Taiwanese oolongs will always have a place in my cupboard. After avoiding black tea forever, Chinese blacks have started to grow on me. I’m less enthusiastic about puerh though. I also enjoy white tea and tisanes but reach for them less frequently.

Other non-tea interests include: cooking, reading, nature, philosophy, MMA, traveling when I can, and of course putzing around on the interwebs.

IG: https://www.instagram.com/melucky


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