Decided to drink gyokuro this morning. I had a sample from yunomi.us tea shop – a gyokuro from Okuyame region in Fukuoka Prefecture, Southern Japan.
The Kurihara family’s Heritage Gyokuro is grown beneath traditional, handmade bamboo and/or straw shading. The moisture that drips from this natural shading flavors the tea. After handpicking the tea leaves from this field, they are processed in our small, private factory. Because this particular tea leaf, “Kurihara Heritage Gyokuro”, is so good, we decided not to blend it with other fields keeping it as a single field tea. Yabe-mura, Kami-no-iwaya (god’s cave) district of Okuyame region surrounded by the mountains is where the Yame Shrine stands. Tea produced in the land where the hime (princess in Japanese) became goddess is named “Hime-cha” (cha meaning tea). The morning mist, settle wind, and the fresh spring water makes the beautiful nature and soil.
Dry leaves are dark green, long and narrow with some delicate green stems. They have some dried wakami with sesame aroma.
1st steep at 70°C for 1.5 min., whole sample package – 5 grams in small hohin (about 100 ml.: when brewed the tea gives a strong, but delicate smell of late summer meadow by the riverbank. The liquor is very green and looks smooth. Tea is not astringent, doesn’t have a taste of overdue tea at all, but has more moderate taste indeed, without young tea freshness. it’s sweet and refreshing, and has a watering sweet aftertaste.
2nd steep at 65°C for 1 min.: Now more bubbles come and tea leaves take most of hohin in the water. Leaves More sweet but a bit more bitter undernote. Never seen gyokuro becoming more sweet on second steep. But maybe had to steep faster to avoid astringency.
3rd steep at 60°C for 2 min.: delicate green with some bitter undertone, but more grassy with sweet aftertaste remains.
Tried to eat some spent green tea leaves just for fun. Nice taste, similar to wakame, but much more delicate. Yunomi site proposes to prepare a salad from spent tea leaves by adding a soy sauce and bonito flakes. Should try that one day, if I’ll find bonito flakes here.
This was a good tea, reminds me that I should drink more high quality gyokuro. This one was from 2012, but properly stored. Interesting to try 2013 same tea, should be more fresh, but maybe more bitter?