79
drank Gyokuro by Harney & Sons
951 tasting notes

My second Gyokuro, and I’m closing in on the last of the Harney samples from my two Harney orders so far. After this I have 4 greens and 4 oolongs left. Then order time!

Trying this the same way I did the Adagio earlier. 140F for 2 minutes to start, 30 seconds thereafter.

The smell inside the sample packet is incredibly, vividly, of chlorophyll saturated fields. Green teas don’t ordinarily evoke the descriptor “rich” for me, but this fragrance is, in fact, extremely rich.

The leaves are gorgeous. Darker-than-emerald-green, fine, flecked with silver, and shiny.

The liquor. Best described with a bit of dialogue:

Me to BF: What do you think of the color of this tea? [holds up glass cup]

BF: [Sniggery snort.] Terrible. Looks like Gatorade tea.

I must admit it does have that lime green Gatorade look to it. At least it isn’t quite glowing like nuclear waste, like the extra green Genmaicha.

And at least it smells and tastes nothing like Gatorade. The aroma and the taste are both of sweet-butter-mediated-slightly-bitter-vegetables, somewhere on the green continuum between spinach and cabbage. The mouthfeel is heavy, oddly suggestive of gelatin but fortunately not gelatinous. (I’m not a gelatin fan, ever since my friend Karen in the 4th grade told me Jello was made of horse hooves which turned out not to be true, but I can never get that thought out of my mind. I can think of nothing grosser than vegetable Jello. I stay far, far away from aspic.)

I’m liking this a little better than the Adagio and I wonder if it has to do with the freshness? This was in the sealed packet until right before preparation, whereas the Adagio was in the little sample tin that had previously been opened, though carefully resealed and stored in proper tea storage conditions. Is Gyokuro particularly susceptible to the effects of air? To the extent there’s anything negative to say about this tea, I would chalk it up to user error in preparation. I’m sure there are all kinds of ways in which I could be getting the preparation wrong. But I’m still generally liking it, so that must be saying something.

In any case, another fun trip to Gyokuro land. I have some from Den’s to try, too.

Preparation
140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 0 sec
Ewa

hee hee gatorade tea

Auggy

Is Gyokuro particularly susceptible to the effects of air?
Pretty much any Japanese green is better when it is super-fresh. The older it gets, the less vibrant it seems to be. I think one month after opening is the cut-off for freshness.

Shinobi_cha

Unfortunately, I have read, that gyokuro is supposed to get better with age. Before Japanese tea processing was modernized, all Japanese teas aged well. There is still one kind of gyokuro that ages well, called kuradashi gyokuro. I’ve never had it, but I’ve read about it/seen it on offer at Hibiki-an (google them).

It really is a shame that Japanese teas loose their freshness so quickly, as (based on what I’ve read) that’s not the way it used to be.

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Ewa

hee hee gatorade tea

Auggy

Is Gyokuro particularly susceptible to the effects of air?
Pretty much any Japanese green is better when it is super-fresh. The older it gets, the less vibrant it seems to be. I think one month after opening is the cut-off for freshness.

Shinobi_cha

Unfortunately, I have read, that gyokuro is supposed to get better with age. Before Japanese tea processing was modernized, all Japanese teas aged well. There is still one kind of gyokuro that ages well, called kuradashi gyokuro. I’ve never had it, but I’ve read about it/seen it on offer at Hibiki-an (google them).

It really is a shame that Japanese teas loose their freshness so quickly, as (based on what I’ve read) that’s not the way it used to be.

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Bio

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.

Location

Bay Area, California

Website

http://www.jjroth.net

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