Today is the day that I finally drink Gyokuro. This has been a long time coming and my dive into Japanese tea seemed like the perfect time to finally try it. I don’t know exactly why I have waited so long to try this tea. I know that this was the first tea that ever gave me sticker shock. A few years ago, when I was just getting into loose leaf tea, I was perusing a certain tea seller’s website and clicked on Gyokuro, not knowing anything about it or even having heard of it before. And there it was. $192 for 1 pound of tea. Before this I had seen the western classics like Earl Grey, English Breakfast and Lapsang Souchong for around $22 a pound. Since then I haven’t wanted to just try Gyokuro unless I knew at least a little bit about what I was doing. So here we are years later and I have a tokoname kyusu, water filtered with Japanese binchotan charcoal and a kettle with 1 degree temperature control. I’ve watched videos and read blogs about Gyokuro. It’s time.
So what is so special about Gyokuro? For starters it is shade grown. The leaves are covered for 20 ish days before picking to block out sunlight which causes the leaves to turn very very green and produce more theanine giving it a sweet flavor. I believe it is only picked in the spring and only once a year.
The tea I chose for this special tasting is Gyokuro Hoshino from Path of Cha. I followed their brewing instructions exactly. I used 3.6 grams in 100ml of water. First infusion was 140F for 2 minutes. 165F for 30 seconds after that.
Wow this tea was good! I would say it’s worth the wait, but seriously don’t wait three years to drink Gyokuro, drink it as soon as you can! This tea was so thick and luscious, smooth and creamy, slightly vegetal but also slightly sweet and a big punch of umami. Not a hint of bitterness in sight. Just lovely.
The second infusion was very similar to the first and still just wonderful. The third infusion had less vegetal notes and a little more sweet notes, which was nice. The fourth was pretty similar to the third.
Can I just say I am in love with the color of this liquor! I showed my wife and she said it looks like Mountain Dew. I have never seen a tea that color green before other than matcha.
I definitely noticed a nice body sensation as well. It started out feeling very relaxed and then it changed into a calm focused energy which is really nice.
It’s worth the wait, but is it worth the money? This tea is $14 for 25 grams. say 3.5 grams per 100 ml, that is 7 sessions per bag at an even $2 per session. 4 infusions per session is $.50 per cup. That is indeed much higher than most teas that I drink, but this is a special occasion tea. As such, it is absolutely worth the money. I wouldn’t recommend drinking it everyday, but I wouldn’t fault you if you did.
I’m really glad I finally tried Gyokuro and I highly recommend it and hope you can try it soon if you haven’t yet. Cheers.
Buy this tea here.