OK, almost 40 mins for that last one, lets try again! … Well, then again, it turns out that this was not a good one to try to rush through!
Backlogging, and based almost entirely on my notes
Experience buying from Harney and Sons http://steepster.com/places/2779-harney-and-sons-online-millerton-new-york
Age of leaf: Lot # 11203: puts ”production” at end of June of 2011 (although according to their website, all their Japanese tea is from previous years harvest). I brewed it about three weeks after receiving it.
Appearance and aroma of dry leaf: They say enough for 3-4 cups, but, although I don’t know how to measure this tea, as it is incredibly dense (lots of small, chopped bits), for many reasons I believe this was enough for a full pot of 6-7 cups (at least by my standards), so I believe this was at least a half an ounce, if not more. Very small cut pieces (as advertised), color and smell similar to Harney and Son’s Gyokuro, but not as dark, and not as sweet smelling.
Brewing guidelines: Glass Bodum pot, with metal infuser/plunger; stevia added.
Please see my profile if you are interested in my reasons why I steep the way I do
……….1st: 155; 1.5’…. Very strong grassy flavor (mostly like spinach).
……….2nd: 160; 1’…….More cloudy, more astringent, and not as sweet, but still lots of flavor.
……….3rd: 147; 45"…..Sweeter, and best taste yet!
……….4th: 152; 2.5’….Very dark and cloudy, good flavor.
……….5th: 162; ???’…Not as cloudy, and still flavor!
Color and aroma of tea liquor: bright lime green color (similar to Gyokuro); like any other quality Japanese tea, some of the smallest bits make it through the holes in my Bodum press to henceforth sit on the bottom of my pot (I guess they don’t like being held captive?). The nerve!
Flavor of tea liquor: I enjoyed it, but my wife did not like it’s spinach-like flavor. (Note: it became sweeter and more astringent when cooled).
Appearance of wet leaf: Like just about every quality Japanese tea I have had so far, it looked a lot like cut grass (I have cleaned many lawnmower and this looks a lot like the grass clippings! Upon second inspection, it is a lighter green color than the cut grass I remember). There are a few large pieces of stems mixed in with the “clippings.”
Value: For a sample, great, considering what I got for $2 (it is roughly $10/oz otherwise).
Overall: Per my notes, this was an adventure in brewing and tasting (probably the most fun time steeping a green tea I have ever had)! This tea stood up amazingly well to different times and temperatures all the while maintaining flavor throughout (with little astringency); having more experience with Japanese greens since then, this is very surprising, as my understanding is that you are lucky to get three good steepings out of one. I noted that I felt unusually calm and centered on the day I drank this (Because of lots of theanine? Who knows …). I even ate some of these leaves, and although I am not a fan of cooked spinach, I liked it! The more I read over my notes, and think back on my experience with this tea, the more I think I will have to revisit this tea sometime in the near future! Thank you Harney and Sons, Japan and the green tea industry over there for allowing me to experience this tea!