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.
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.