This review is mostly a clone of the last one, because the differences were minute in my experience.
Before you read my review, just know that I am brewing this the traditional Japanese way, which is very flavor-intense and different than the way most Westerners brew Gyokuro.
Here’s a very short article about what the difference is:
And the brewing method is here: http://everyonestea.blogspot.com/2010/10/how-to-brew-gyokuro.html
It is also the same leaf to water ratio that was recommended in the gyokuro tip sheet Yunomi sent me with the teas… so I guess this is at least a somewhat common method in Japan.
I mention this because my first gyokuro review had a lot of people wondering why my experience with the tea was so much different than theirs. This is primarily why.
Of the Kurihara Tea Farm gyokuro sampler, so far this one had the least bitterness and some lingering sweetness with the incredibly intense umami that accompanies it. The flavor is intense, fills your mouth very quickly, and it takes a long time just to sip a tiny 20-30ml cup of it. It’s a really interesting experience. It resteeps okay once, but after that you’re digging into the bitter flavors in the leaf quite a bit so I really only drank two infusions of it.
It made a delicious green tea salad afterward.
I’ve decided not to rate Gyokuro teas unless I find myself really loving one. I believe in trying to appreciate them with the traditional method of brewing instead of diluting it to suit my tastes because I’d like to learn how and why this tea is usually appreciated in Japan, and so far the traditional method is just so new and abstract to me that it is very difficult for me to tell if I enjoy it or not. I think the quality of these teas is good, but I cannot particularly evaluate them because the flavor and feeling of this tea is just so unlike anything else I’ve ever had. It can be a little overwhelming, but it is also very savory and enjoyable in some aspects.
If you’ve never used the traditional method to prepare gyokuro, I recommend doing it at least once. It’s a trip. It produces a very thick and syrupy broth that you can sip on very slowly and the flavor will remain in your mouth for literally hours after drinking it.
Flavors: Grass, Umami, Vegetal