Auggy was kind enough to send me a little of this. This is the first gyokuro I’ve made myself and I wanted to do it up right so I got a kyusu. The tea arrived here before the kyusu did, so there was a bit of an internal battle going on until I got my Rishi stuff. I was literally, at one point, standing and staring at this tea until I caught myself and shook myself out of it.
Anyhow, I was good and I waited. I’m not sure what difference making this in the kyusu made, but I liked rocking and swishing the stuff out.
I read/heard/saw somewhere that gyokuros are supposed to sit for 5 or so minutes in cold/room temperature water to open them up and keep them from before steeping them warm. That’s something that’s stuck with me for some reason, but I’m also not sure how specific that is to the type of gyokuro, and whatnot. I’ve also read many different things about water to leaf ratios and the temperature of water that’s “supposed” to be used for hot/warm infusions. I’ve heard that you’re not supposed to use water hotter than 160°F and that you should infuse in ice water. What all of this has led me to believe is that I just need to drink a lot more gyokuro and see what slams my door.
Anyway, I let this sit in some room temperature for five minutes. [I did try to drink that but it was relatively flavorless.] Then I did about four steeps at 1 minute in 140°F water, all of which tasted relatively the same. I probably could have kept going, to be honest, and I make a face as I type this – I think I might have wasted the leaves as a result. I also see that Auggy has varied her steeping times for different infusions [which is what you’re probably supposed to do]. Luckily, I have some left of this to play around with, so I’ll have to try steeping otherwise. I think I’m going to try and read some more about these before I do, because right now I’m very much saturated with conflicting information and I think some of it’s going to begin dripping out if I don’t try and filter and sort some of it.
All right, enough about my brain scream over “proper” gyokuro steeping. The tea. The tea was good! I really doubt that this truly shows the range of where this can go, but I enjoyed what I got out of it and that’s a good thing. What I was missing was that buttery taste that both the description and Auggy both mentioned. I was searching for it, and I think that maybe because I was I thought I caught a glimpse of it, but that could have been purely psychological. What I did get was a vegetal taste followed by a delicious, chlorophyll-y sweetness. The sweetness was bright and high and clear, and only grew in volume when accompanied by inhalation. It also, and I’m really not sure how to describe this accurately, it tingled. It hopped around on my tongue.
This experience has intrigued me enough to really become interested in gyokuro, so I think I’ll be trying to procure some more and do a little experimenting.
Also, should you be interested, pictures of the new kyusu begin here [they are, however, without tea]. http://bit.ly/5oRgh0