I was so excited to see this Gyokuro among the samples sent to me by Russel Allyn of Harney and Sons. I have never had a Gyokuro but the salespeople at a mall tea store have been tempting me to buy it by fanning the aroma at me. Heehee! It smelled so good that they had nearly succeeded, when lo and behold I received this generous sample in the mail today.
This has a delicious, full bodied green tea smell. I am not sure how else to describe it!
The first few sips were surprisely mild. I had expected it to have more heft than the Hunan Yellow Sprout tea but it was lighter in color, aroma, and initially, in flavor. This chagned very quickly as the temperature of the tea went down. The flavor became more robust, the vegetal notes more prominent. Not bitter, not astringent, not hay, but perhaps Chinese vegetables lightly cooked, a bit of butter, and a fresh green taste that makes me think of bright sunshine.
Of the three teas we drank today, this was my favorite…I think. It is rather like asking someone who loves fruit if they prefer apples or oranges. Sometimes you want an apple, sometimes you want an orange. These were both excellent teas. I loved…was fascinated by…the extreme creaminess of the Yellow Sprout, but I was seduced by the Gyokuro into drinking more and more.
My guest initially voted hands down for the Yellow Sprout, saying that the Gyokuro was too mild for her, but when she tried it again after it had cooled a bit and the flavor intensified, she agreed that it was a pretty close tie today!