I recall watching a YouTube video of Mei Leaf brewing Gyokuro in a unique way. I recently saw where two of my IG tea friends (@Nuev_Order and @Madhatterteadrunk) tried Gyokuro using this method and they both inspired me to try it as well. With my recent Mei Leaf order, I added a sample of their Oku Hikari Gyokuro just for this purpose.
You can read more about the method here. But the general idea is to use room temperature water and to brew it for 14! minutes. The purpose of this is to maximize the umami flavor and the L-Theanine extraction.
I was going to use my Kyusu for this session, but unfortunately I was clumsy and the lid fell and shattered to pieces on the floor. Let’s have a moment of silence for my kyusu.
So I decided to forge ahead and use my gaiwan instead. I set out some water this morning before I left for work so it had a good 12 hours of sitting out to become room temperature.
I warmed the gaiwan, put the dry leaves in there and poured the room temperature water on it and set the timer.
I have read other people describing the texture of this tea like a broth. And I’ll be darned if it isn’t just like a soup broth. I’ve never seen a tea this thick before, that’s for sure.
Wow this tea really packs a punch! I can say with certainty now that I know what umami tastes like, and it’s this tea. It has a very strong savory taste that reminds me of bread crumbs and vegetable oil. The texture is incredibly thick, the tea is bright and zesty and has a sea air taste to it as well. I wrote in my notes that is like a Japanese green tea but magnified. I struggle with how to describe these Japanese greens but they have a very distinct flavor profile to them.
For the second infusion, you use water that is 120 F for 2:30. This steep had a slight hint of bitterness that quickly faded. It also had the bright and zesty flavor with sea air but it wasn’t nearly as strong as the first one.
The third infusion was much like the second but it started to show that characteristic sweetness of the later steeps of Japanese green teas.
I had to call it at three infusions because the body sensation of this tea is incredibly strong. I think it is the combination of the caffeine and the Theanine, but it is just an intense feeling of energy but not raw energy, it is also calming and focused. It’s similar to being tea drunk, but the feeling came on strong and very fast with this tea. I am not caffeine sensitive at all, even to the point that I can drink coffee and go to sleep. So I can imagine this will hit most people even harder than it did me. Be warned!
I will be cold brewing these leaves overnight to drink in the morning for sure.
The price on this tea is $38.07 for 50 grams, or $4.77 for a 5 gram taster. If you get the packet, that is 10 sessions in a pack so $3.81 per session. Say 4 infusions per session is $.95 per cup. Yes, that is expensive, but there is nothing like Gyokuro brewed for 14 minutes. It’s intense. If you want to try it once, get a taster for under $5. Gyokuro is an expensive tea naturally, so if you like it, this is probably a good one to keep around.
This tea was more than a session, it was an experience. I was blown away by the strength of it brewed this way. I highly recommend trying it but don’t do it too close to bedtime. Cheers!