drank Gyokuro by Adagio Teas
953 tasting notes

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.

140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I’ve updated this bio as it’s been a couple of years since I “started getting into” tea. It’s now more accurate to say that I was obsessed with tea for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it, and I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I’ve recently started writing fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I much prefer to drink tea without additives such as milk and sugar. If a tea needs additives to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’m going to rate it high. The exception is chai, which I make on the stove top using a recipe I found here on Steepster. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs into the harder stuff, but once I learned how to make a decent cup of tea they became far less appealing to me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist, and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. I’m revising them slightly to make them less granular as I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas against other similar versions. So I rate Earl Greys, for example, against other Earl Greys, rather than against all teas. If something rates very high with me, though, it probably means it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is; will keep this stocked until the cows come home

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; likely to become a favorite, will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again if in the mood for this particular one or a better, similar version not available

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but probably wouldn’t buy again unless craving this particular flavor

50-59 Okay or run of the mill

Below 50 So-so, iffy, would definitely pass
or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.


Bay Area, California



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