drank Gyokuro by Adagio Teas
1250 tasting notes

This is part of the “green savant” sampler from Adagio, which I find an amusing name. I don’t consider myself anything close to a green savant, or for that matter any type of savant, but I got this sampler because it had two kinds of green tea I’d been wanting to try, gyokuro and dragonwell.

For my last caffeinated round tonight (I can already see a sleeping pill in my future) I chose to taste this. I am not going to rate it because (a) I’m not sure I prepared it correctly and (b) it’s my first gyokuro and I want to compare it to others before I give it a number.

After reading up on gyokuro on the net, I made this at a very low temperature after preheating the cup, with about a tablespoon of leaves, and steeped for 2 minutes.

The dry leaves are a gorgeous color. A very deep, intense, almost emerald green. They are fine little things. If oolong is dreadlocks, this is baby-fine hair. They smell like sweet, cooked spinach with a pat of butter melted over it.

The liquor is a light greenish color. The hue is pretty close to lime. There’s some sediment in it (the smallest of the fine leaves are close to powdery and they were too fine for my finum filter).

The tea smells like the color green looks. Seriously. If someone put this under your nose and asked you what it smelled like, I’m guessing you’d say “green.” There’s the spinachy note of the dry leaves, but also something that is mown grass-like. In any case, it is verdant, more in the sense of field than jungle as this verdure is fresh-smelling and airy. The mouthfeel is thick and soft. It’s thicker than brothy; it’s milky. Very smooth.

The taste is slightly sweet, slightly not sweet. It’s not bitter, but it has a tiny downswing right before the finish that could be bitter if it was any stronger. But it’s not true bitter of the sort I’ve experienced in green teas before, where it’s downright yuck. This is much more complicated and interesting than that. I am going out on a limb here and guessing this is the taste that is called umami, but since I don’t know whether I’ve tasted umami before I could just be talking out of my… And then, in the aftertaste, this sweetens up to a pleasant vegetal memory. It leaves a fresh taste and feel — the same kind of feel you get after chewing Clorets, but far less crass.

This was a nice introduction and I’ll enjoy exploring this one some more, and others on its heels.

140 °F / 60 °C 2 min, 0 sec

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I got obsessed with tea in 2010 for a while, then other things intruded, then I cycled back to it. I seem to be continuing that in for a while, out for a while cycle. I have a short attention span, but no shortage of tea.

I’m a mom, writer, gamer, lawyer, reader, runner, traveler, and enjoyer of life, literature, art, music, thought and kindness, in no particular order. I write fantasy and science fiction under the name J. J. Roth.

Personal biases: I drink tea without additives. If a tea needs milk or sugar to improve its flavor, its unlikely I’ll rate it high. The exception is chai, which I drink with milk/sugar or substitute. Rooibos and honeybush were my gateway drugs, but as my tea skills and tastes developed they became less appealing to me — but I still enjoy nicely done blends where the base doesn’t taste like hamster cage chips. I do not mix well with tulsi or yerba mate, and savory teas are more often a miss than a hit with me. That said, I’m not entirely a purist and I enjoy a good flavored tea, particularly flavored blacks.

I like all kinds of tea depending on time of day, mood, and the amount of time I have to pay attention to preparation. These days, I’ve been drinking primarily green tea during weekdays after my first cup of coffee. On weekends, I’ve been drinking only tea.

Since I find others’ rating legends helpful, I added my own. But I don’t really find myself hating most things I try.

I try to rate teas in relation to others of the same type, for example, Earl Greys against other Earl Greys. But if a tea rates very high with me, it’s a stand out against all other teas I’ve tried.

95-100 A once in a lifetime experience; the best there is

90-94 First rate; top notch; really terrific; will definitely buy more

80-89 Excellent; will likely buy more

70-79 Very good; would enjoy again, might buy again

60-69 Good; wouldn’t pass up if offered, but likely won’t buy again

Below 60 Meh, so-so, iffy, or ick. The lower the number, the closer to ick.

People have sent me tea on occasion, and I was once persuaded to send some Tazo Om to AmazonV. I’ve also done at least one group buy here on Steepster, the famous Doulton-led Dammann Freres experiment years ago. But mostly, I don’t swap. It’s nothing personal, it’s just that I have way more tea than any one person needs and am not lacking for new things to try. Also, I have way too much going on already in daily life and the additional commitment to get packages to people adds to my already high stress level. (Maybe it shouldn’t, but it does.)

That said, I enjoy reading folks’ notes, talking about what I drink, and getting to “know” people virtually here on Steepster so I can get ideas of other things I might want to try if I can ever again justify buying more tea. I also like keeping track of what I drink and what I thought about it, though I don’t put samples in my cupboard and not everything I have at any given time is showing in my cupboard. I do try to remember to remove things from my cupboard once I no longer have them.

I was an early internet adopter and have been online in various environments since around 1990. Steepster is one of the nicest online environments I’ve ever been privileged to participate in and that is saying something. :-)


Bay Area, California



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