Backlogging and based entirely on my memory
Experience buying from Sanctuary T http://steepster.com/places/2940-sanctuary-t-online-new-york-new-york?visit=1642
Date of Purchase/Age of Leaf/Date of Steeping/Frequency Drank: Bought at the end of 2011; no harvest date provided on website; started drinking it almost daily from February 2011 to some time in April of 2011.
Appearance and Aroma of dry leaf: About the same of the other two Gyokuros I’ve tried: small, dark green leaves that look almost like leaf ‘shavings’; strongly vegetal.
Brewing guidelines: three full TSP dry tea for every six ounces of H2O (this stuff is really dense); glass Bodum pot with metal infuser/plunger; stevia added; my standard Japanese-green times and temperatures; three steepings (I usually brewed the third at 180F for 2 minutes which seemed to work out well, especially when I blended it with a Chinese green tea).
Color and Aroma of tea liquor: A somewhat cloudy bright green color; vegetal/grassy aroma.
Flavor of tea liquor: One of these days I’ll have to sit down and figure out how to describe the difference between ‘grassy’ and ‘vegetal’, but for now let me say that Japanese teas seem to have a flavor profile that differs from Chinese green teas in that they seem to be more grassy—a taste some don’t go for as it comes across a little bolder than Chinese greens do. Although I prefer the taste of Chinese greens, I did like this one: it had a flavor that was about as grassy and sweet as the other two Gyokuros I’ve had.
Appearance and Aroma of wet leaf: Standard ‘grass-clippings’ look, strong grassy/vegetal aroma.
Blends well with: This tea actually blended reasonably-well with a Chinese green on the third steeping.
Value: I bought eight OZ of this at 50% off (making it $25 / 8 OZ); at that price it was worth it to me; but at the regular price I’d much prefer to go with Den’s Tea or some other tea retailer that specializes in Japanese teas.
Overall: As Gyokuro is purported to have a high content of theanine in it, I started using H&S version of this tea as my work-morning green tea last year (2011). When I ran out of the H&S version, I began brewing up this one. It’s been over a month since I finished off the last of it, but overall it was about as good as the H&S version (the H&S version may have been slightly tastier). This tea is not worth it to me for the price, but still I’m glad I had a chance to experience SanctuaryT’s version of Gyokuro.