This is part of the “green savant” sampler from Adagio, which I find an amusing name. I don’t consider myself anything close to a green savant, or for that matter any type of savant, but I got this sampler because it had two kinds of green tea I’d been wanting to try, gyokuro and dragonwell.
For my last caffeinated round tonight (I can already see a sleeping pill in my future) I chose to taste this. I am not going to rate it because (a) I’m not sure I prepared it correctly and (b) it’s my first gyokuro and I want to compare it to others before I give it a number.
After reading up on gyokuro on the net, I made this at a very low temperature after preheating the cup, with about a tablespoon of leaves, and steeped for 2 minutes.
The dry leaves are a gorgeous color. A very deep, intense, almost emerald green. They are fine little things. If oolong is dreadlocks, this is baby-fine hair. They smell like sweet, cooked spinach with a pat of butter melted over it.
The liquor is a light greenish color. The hue is pretty close to lime. There’s some sediment in it (the smallest of the fine leaves are close to powdery and they were too fine for my finum filter).
The tea smells like the color green looks. Seriously. If someone put this under your nose and asked you what it smelled like, I’m guessing you’d say “green.” There’s the spinachy note of the dry leaves, but also something that is mown grass-like. In any case, it is verdant, more in the sense of field than jungle as this verdure is fresh-smelling and airy. The mouthfeel is thick and soft. It’s thicker than brothy; it’s milky. Very smooth.
The taste is slightly sweet, slightly not sweet. It’s not bitter, but it has a tiny downswing right before the finish that could be bitter if it was any stronger. But it’s not true bitter of the sort I’ve experienced in green teas before, where it’s downright yuck. This is much more complicated and interesting than that. I am going out on a limb here and guessing this is the taste that is called umami, but since I don’t know whether I’ve tasted umami before I could just be talking out of my… And then, in the aftertaste, this sweetens up to a pleasant vegetal memory. It leaves a fresh taste and feel — the same kind of feel you get after chewing Clorets, but far less crass.
This was a nice introduction and I’ll enjoy exploring this one some more, and others on its heels.