Hide

Welcome to Steepster, an online tea community.

Write a tea journal, see what others are drinking and get recommendations from people you trust. or Learn More

100
drank Gyokuro Inoka Hill by Samovar
260 tasting notes

I tried this when I was out in San Francisco during the incredible tea tasting that Jesse led Jack and I through. This was a few weeks ago, so keep in mind that I am writing this from the dregs of memory. And off we go.

The first infusion of this tea [and most gyokuros, I believe] is done cold. Jesse let it sit for about 4 minutes or so, and then shook it out into the cup.

WOW.

I know that I am not going to be able to adequately explain what this tasted like. First off, it is hella strong. It’s as if someone some mad scientist took spinach and zucchini and artichoke and avocado and freshly-mowed grass and extracted the flavors and then injected them all with PHP and steroids and squeezed them into a cup. Seriously, it will sucker-punch you if you aren’t ready for it. It’s unlike anything that I’ve ever tasted from a tea.

Subsequent infusions, with heated water, are much lighter and impossibly fresh. The grassy, vegetal notes fade substantially and they are joined with slightly sweeter and oceany flavors. It’s standing outside on the edge of a cliff that drops off into an ocean with a large meadow of cut grass, hay, and wildflowers right behind you. Jesse just kept it going, and going, and going, and it never diminished in flavor. I would need to spend more time with it to be able to start picking out specific flavors for you, but scheiße [pardon my German], it was so good. It also started building up that kind of high I get from a good pu-erh.

I’ve found myself thinking about it, weeks later, with a wistful dreaminess. With a heavy price tag, I shied away from picking it up when it was available, but now? Hmm. I don’t know. I’d consider it heavily, because as ridiculous as it sounds that tea could be worth it. Unfortunately, it’s gone now, and so Gyokuro Inoka Hill is going to be tacked down as the one who got away in my tea story. It was the perfect way to finish off the tasting, and judge all you like, but I’m a bit humbled that I had the opportunity to try it.

It just doesn’t feel right to give it anything less, so this seriously unique tea is going to get full marks.

sophistre

Glad that someone around here tried this. The description on their site was so intriguing, when I was first browsing…I clicked to order…added another tea or two…went to check my cart and my EYEBALLS nearly ROLLED OUT OF MY HEAD, because the price was over $400. This was the culprit. L2check prices, right?

I’ve been curious ever since then about what it is that makes a tea worth such a king’s ransom. It sounds like it was delicious!

Cofftea

Whoa… wait, wait. Back the tea cup up. COLD.. ?? Wow… like cold or room temperature? What is the ratio of tea/water? You’ll have to excuse me, but I can’t even see the point of cold brewing… (just my own personal opinion of course)… ok now my head hurts from trying to wrap my my head around this concept… Are any other teas authentically done this way? Are all grades of Gyokuro done this way? I think we need a Gyokuro thread!

~lauren.

I know about the 104°F infusions (so says wiki), but cold – just for the first infusion? Very interesting …!

Miss Sweet

By cold do you mean that ice brewing method? I’ve never tried it with any of my Gyokuros but probably should!

takgoti

@sophistre True story: I’m sitting here, shaking my head over the fact that I didn’t snatch this up when it went half off a few times. Still expensive, but a seriously missed opportunity. A very singular experience.

@Cofftea Rishi touches on it a little here: http://www.rishi-tea.com/brewing_gyokuro_traditional.php and I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere. I didn’t brew it myself, obviously, but this wasn’t iced water. Room temperature, I think, and the ratio was roughly 1:1, from eyeballing it.

@Lauren Very interesting indeed. Each gyokuro is going to be a bit different, I imagine, but I find it all rather fascinating.

@Miss Sweet Not for this one, but I’m interested to try that, too! That first infusion is seriously not going to be for everyone, but I believe that it affects the later infusions as well.

teaplz

Seriously awesome that you got the chance to try this little cup of wonder, tak-tak! It sort of didn’t get away, because you did get to have some of it! Seriously excited that you loved this.

Four Seasons, btw is delicious. I’m pretty sure you’d like SerendipiTea’s Milk Oolong. They taste like they’re in the same family. I’ll have to send some your way one of these days…

Tea Savant

OK, I see that everyone else is questioning the coldness of the first brew, so, I won’t add my further curiosity more than to say, thanks for illuminating a new thing about tea I didn’t know before!

takgoti

@teaplz Thanks! Yes, I’m very glad that I got to try it. But I want more! Glad to hear you enjoyed Four Seasons – I’ll have to check it out!

@Tea Savant HAHAHA, yeah, I’ll have to dig up more links at some point, but I do remember reading/hearing that it also unlocks flavors for steeps afterwards. The cold steep is PUNGENT, but, perhaps surprisingly, I could totally drink another one right now. It’s like tea’s version of shots, I guess!

Cofftea

So the cold steep is just for the 1st one? I’m tempted to try this w/ my tencha since Networld suggested I treated it like a gyokuro.

Shinobi_cha

Shinobicha Delete less than a minute ago As crazy as this sounds, here is the cold brew method. It works! Scroll down to where it says “The End of an Era” and then again, “Japan and China’s Single Estate Greens”
http://teadrunk.blogspot.com/search/label/japanese%20tea

5 infusions: 1) a TINY (1 TBS) amount of ice cold water (5-7 mins), 2) then a little more room temp water (1 oz or so for 3-5 mins), 3) then maybe 2-3oz of cup of 140 water (2 mins), 4) full (Japanese size) cup 170 water (1 min), 5) full size 208 water (30 seconds).
That first infusion might sound silly, using so little water, but if you just take tiny sips out of something the size of a shot glass, it is incredibly delicious. Brewing this way prevents any overwhelming bitterness or astringency to come out as well

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Comments

sophistre

Glad that someone around here tried this. The description on their site was so intriguing, when I was first browsing…I clicked to order…added another tea or two…went to check my cart and my EYEBALLS nearly ROLLED OUT OF MY HEAD, because the price was over $400. This was the culprit. L2check prices, right?

I’ve been curious ever since then about what it is that makes a tea worth such a king’s ransom. It sounds like it was delicious!

Cofftea

Whoa… wait, wait. Back the tea cup up. COLD.. ?? Wow… like cold or room temperature? What is the ratio of tea/water? You’ll have to excuse me, but I can’t even see the point of cold brewing… (just my own personal opinion of course)… ok now my head hurts from trying to wrap my my head around this concept… Are any other teas authentically done this way? Are all grades of Gyokuro done this way? I think we need a Gyokuro thread!

~lauren.

I know about the 104°F infusions (so says wiki), but cold – just for the first infusion? Very interesting …!

Miss Sweet

By cold do you mean that ice brewing method? I’ve never tried it with any of my Gyokuros but probably should!

takgoti

@sophistre True story: I’m sitting here, shaking my head over the fact that I didn’t snatch this up when it went half off a few times. Still expensive, but a seriously missed opportunity. A very singular experience.

@Cofftea Rishi touches on it a little here: http://www.rishi-tea.com/brewing_gyokuro_traditional.php and I’ve seen it mentioned elsewhere. I didn’t brew it myself, obviously, but this wasn’t iced water. Room temperature, I think, and the ratio was roughly 1:1, from eyeballing it.

@Lauren Very interesting indeed. Each gyokuro is going to be a bit different, I imagine, but I find it all rather fascinating.

@Miss Sweet Not for this one, but I’m interested to try that, too! That first infusion is seriously not going to be for everyone, but I believe that it affects the later infusions as well.

teaplz

Seriously awesome that you got the chance to try this little cup of wonder, tak-tak! It sort of didn’t get away, because you did get to have some of it! Seriously excited that you loved this.

Four Seasons, btw is delicious. I’m pretty sure you’d like SerendipiTea’s Milk Oolong. They taste like they’re in the same family. I’ll have to send some your way one of these days…

Tea Savant

OK, I see that everyone else is questioning the coldness of the first brew, so, I won’t add my further curiosity more than to say, thanks for illuminating a new thing about tea I didn’t know before!

takgoti

@teaplz Thanks! Yes, I’m very glad that I got to try it. But I want more! Glad to hear you enjoyed Four Seasons – I’ll have to check it out!

@Tea Savant HAHAHA, yeah, I’ll have to dig up more links at some point, but I do remember reading/hearing that it also unlocks flavors for steeps afterwards. The cold steep is PUNGENT, but, perhaps surprisingly, I could totally drink another one right now. It’s like tea’s version of shots, I guess!

Cofftea

So the cold steep is just for the 1st one? I’m tempted to try this w/ my tencha since Networld suggested I treated it like a gyokuro.

Shinobi_cha

Shinobicha Delete less than a minute ago As crazy as this sounds, here is the cold brew method. It works! Scroll down to where it says “The End of an Era” and then again, “Japan and China’s Single Estate Greens”
http://teadrunk.blogspot.com/search/label/japanese%20tea

5 infusions: 1) a TINY (1 TBS) amount of ice cold water (5-7 mins), 2) then a little more room temp water (1 oz or so for 3-5 mins), 3) then maybe 2-3oz of cup of 140 water (2 mins), 4) full (Japanese size) cup 170 water (1 min), 5) full size 208 water (30 seconds).
That first infusion might sound silly, using so little water, but if you just take tiny sips out of something the size of a shot glass, it is incredibly delicious. Brewing this way prevents any overwhelming bitterness or astringency to come out as well

Login or sign up to leave a comment.

Profile

Bio

Former coffeeist, turned teaite. Lover of writing, reading, photography, and music. Traveler of life. Known to be ridiculous on occasion.

Location

Virginia, USA

Website

http://takgoti.tumblr.com

Following These People