Outside Kyoto station I stumbled across the brightly-lit storefront of Itohkyuemon, which had just opened in autumn of 2013. I tasted some samples and left with a 50g packet of “Kanro” gyokuro for ¥1575 (about $15).

I’m not very familiar with gyokuro teas, but it seems that “Kanro” (甘露) is a designation of the quality. Kanro is somewhere in the middle: not “extra” or “ultra” premium, but perhaps higher grade than your average gyokuro.

The packaging recommends lukewarm water (50°C). I found that slightly warmer water also works well (58°C).

This tea brews up with a nice pale evergreen color that is less yellow than sencha. The wet leaves look like cooked spinach and have a rich vegetal aroma. The liquid is very sweet and tastes like cooked vegetables. Lots of umami.

Some gyokuro I’ve tried are very intense and are an acquired taste. This Kanro is more mild and very easy to drink.

4.2g leaves, 4oz water @ 58°C (136°F), 1 minute 30 seconds.

140 °F / 60 °C 1 min, 30 sec 4 g 4 OZ / 118 ML

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Currently obsessed with Japanese green tea in general, sencha from the Kyushu region specifically. Also branching out into gyokuro and matcha.

I find it difficult to assign arbitrary rating numbers to my reviews, so I’m sticking with this system:

Recommended = Great
[no recommendation value] = So-so
Not Recommended = Poor


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