I brewed this up in my brand-spanking-new little houhin that I acquired through Yuuki-cha. I was SO EXCITED to brew this up! My first gyokuro!
I’ll admit that 000 is correct in the assertion that the leaves are a total mess. They look like they’ve been through a wood-chipper. Even so, the dry leaf smells gorgeously kelpy. Seaweed in a way I like. I have trouble articulating where the line between “good” and “bad” seaweed goes – the best I can do is say that “bad” seaweed is the taste/smell you get in cheaper sushis, kinda overpowering and kinda fishy too. (Different than the fish “fishy”, if you know what I mean.) Anyway. None of that here. It’s GOOD seaweed.
I’ll admit I didn’t brew this in the ideal conditions. The result was a slightly more astringent tea than should have been, though I can still see beautiful potential. I used two teaspoons for my houhin – which holds about 5.5 oz to a reasonable water level. (7oz to the rim, but then it would be one hot mess.) The instructions enclosed with the shipment said to brew a strong gyokuro at 105F for 3 minutes. I couldn’t wait for the water to cool any longer and ended up doing it at 130~F.
The liquor turned out a BEAUTIFUL light jade green. It should have been clear, but there was a lot of leaf debris getting through the houhin’s ceramic filter. Unless I get a pitcher or serve it in a mug, not sure I can use my trusty extra-fine strainer with my tiny little teacups. Even so, I’m sure tea dust would still get through.
The smell of the brewed tea is gorgeous. A vegetal ocean breeze, and just as soothing. It tasted like it smelled – savoury goodness melting into a vivid vegetal sweetness. Beautifully thick flavours, super satisfying! I got 4 good steeps out of it, each one grassier than the last. Unfortunately, the delicious umami note didn’t really carry over to the other steeps, though it’s possible that it’s because I used hotter water than I should have the first time. Definitely a bit too astringent if your water is too hot, treat this tea with care!
Right now I’m having the fifth and last steep, which I cold-brewed over night just to see what I’d get. Grassy water with a hint of kelpy sweetness. One too far!
Can’t wait to try this again, and get it right.