3 Tasting Notes
This tea came highly recommended, but did not stack up to traditional teas.
If I were to rate this strictly against other organic Japanese teas, I would give it very good marks. It does not have the biting “oh my goodness, this tea is going to strip the enamel from my teeth” flavor and astringency that other organic Japanese greens often have, but it does not have sufficient body or character to come anywhere near a traditional Japanese gyokuro.
The leaf in the bag has the typical modern organic tea presentation of a dry and broken leaf with excessive twigs and dust. The twigs are represented by the lighter yellow stringy bits (which are not present in true gyokuro) and the dust should be obvious to all. The smell in the bag is pleasantly sweet, but has no depth.
When placed into the warmed pot the aroma does not increase. I steeped this tea both by the method prescribed and by my own cold and warm methods in a 4oz gyokuro pot. On all occasions the tea liquor was very green, but not very aromatic. The flavor was sweet yet somewhat insipid and lacking the character indicative of the varietal for which this tea is named: Gokou. By the third steep there was no flavor at all, but the liquor was still a pleasant shade of green.
The steeped leaf of a true gyokuro should be identifiable as a mostly whole leaf and tender, like spinach, and have no chewy bits. The steeped leaf of this tea was broken. The layer of leaf between the cuticles was mashed up, torn and separated. What there was of the leaf was papery and the bits of stem were unpleasant to chew.
If you are looking for organic Japanese tea, this seems like it may be the best you can find at the moment. If you are looking for good Japanese tea, there are much better, but they are hard to find.
I love this tea! Though it is hard to get one’s hands on it… The powder whisks up beautifully and has a very full body, especially when compared to other Kyoto Prefecture-based maccha producers. This tea is grown entirely in Kyoto, to my knowledge, and that is very rare. All that said, it is not your standard maccha, with full body and big green umami, and may not appeal to those who have already decided that they like another company’s tea.
This was a slightly more fresh version of standard American grade maccha teas. It has the standard floral finish, but too much bitterness for the price-point. I wouldn’t recommend this tea over the standard maccha that one can get at the asian market, but it is definitely not the worst I have tasted. (^^)