This was my first experience with Gyokuro. I felt pretty overwhelmed by the flavor, it was a little powerful for me (but I loved it…it was just a lot stronger than I expected).
I did the steepings as follows: 5g loose leaf: 1) 2oz water @ 35F for 7 mins, 2) 2oz @ 120F for 2 mins, 3) 2oz water @ 160 for 1 min, 4) 2oz water @ 180F for 30 seconds, and 5) 2oz water @ 200F for 15 seconds.
For the first steeping, I poured the water to the side of the kyusu, instead of directly on top of the leaves, so that not all of the leaf was covered in water (there was a good little pile on top of dry leaf). Closed the lid, and waited. After a few minutes I opened the lid to smelled; the aroma was like seaweed or ocean, salty and a hint of sweet, and there was something present I’ve not yet encountered in a Japanese green (I assume that is because I haven’t had gyokuro before).
I sipped it very slowly, because every drop was FULL of flavor. It didn’t have the typical taste I have come to expect from the other Japanese greens I’ve had… but it was a combination of seaweed (almost salty in an almost irresistible way…so hard to describe because it didn’t taste like drinking salt either) a melon-like fruitiness, and a creamy-sweet that was at first very pleasant, and then ended up being very rich. This tea is VERY rich. If one were lucky enough to have an English pot full of several 8oz cups of this, I doubt one could finish it (though you’d want to!), it is THAT rich.
Subsequent steepings brought out further the overpowering seaweed/salty, melon/fruity, sweet/creaminess in different proportions (with the sweet/creamy and melon coming out more as the temp went up). There was so much going on, and I’m not really that good at describing it.
Like I said, this was a little overwhelming for my tastebuds, but was crazy good. I wonder how much 2oz would cost, if it were for sale?
I hope to get another chance to taste gyokuro like this, and I hope I haven’t ruined my taste for others by trying (I can only guess) one of the best out there!