I love the mouthfeel of this tea, but I am not overly fond of the strong bready aspect. It’s still a very good choice for when I want something savoury and complex, but I think I will be searching for a different Gyokuro next time.
“I love the mouthfeel of this tea, but I am not overly fond of the strong bready aspect. It’s still a very good choice for when I want something savoury and complex, but I think I will be searching...” Read full tasting note
“Sipdown. Drank the very last of this today. It’s both a relief and sad, as I had ordered 100g of this so was worried about drinking it fast enough, but it was so tasty that I’ll miss having it as...” Read full tasting note
“A rather different seeming gyokuro. Leaf buds and tips are smaller than the leaf usually used for this kind of tea. Taking that in mind, I didn’t brew it as long as I normally do for gyokuro, and...” Read full tasting note
“Sadly, I oversteeped or used water that was too hot. I could still enjoy the brothy, seaweed and nutty characteristics of this tea.” Read full tasting note
A delicious discovery, an easy introduction to the world of gyokuro tea. Besides the amazingly savory umami flavor characteristic of gyokuro, ‘The Discovery’ is also extremely versatile releasing savory umami flavor at a much wider range of flavors than gyokuro tea itself.
Part of the secret is that this tea from Uji, Kyoto, selected by 3rd generation tea master Shuichi Nakamura, is simply very high quality leaf. The other part of the secret is the fact that it is ‘mecha’ 芽茶 usually defined to be the tips of the leaf that break off during production.
Company description not available.
Nakamura-en #02: Gyokuro Konacha, the DiscoveryYunomius
Nakamura-en #03: Kabuse Karigane, Premium Shaded Leaf StemsYunomius
Thé En ProvenceMariage Frères
Yamane-En: Sugabou, Gyokuro Karigane HojichaYunomi
A rather different seeming gyokuro. Leaf buds and tips are smaller than the leaf usually used for this kind of tea. Taking that in mind, I didn’t brew it as long as I normally do for gyokuro, and I’m glad I didn’t. First steep was 1 minute at 140F – this steep was thick, with umami and grassy flavors, along with a nutty or bready finish that I really wasn’t a huge fan of. Next, I did steeps of 15s, 30s, and 1m with 175F water. The umami was basically gone after the first steep, as was the nutty/bready business that was going on. The grassiness took a more prominent place for the rest of the session, and the tea developed a pretty nice asparagus vegetal note as well.
Flavors: Grass, Nutty, Thick, Umami
Oh goody! One of those stupid headaches that won’t go away has decided to crop up, I hate them because they make it so hard to think straight and see straight, plus I tend to get so dizzy. I have had them my whole life, they just crop up and stay for anywhere from a week to a few months, pretty sure they are just part of having Fibromyalgia, plus they run in the family, probably because we are so smart! Blah, tea helps though, I am not a ‘tea for health’ reasons kinda person, but tea works on these headaches better than any pain killer, so it is not just the caffeine (I lived off Excedrin as a teenager, my stomach still thanks me for that one) but possibly the play of caffeine and theanine? Or maybe it is the soothing taste, hot liquid acting as a vasodilator in my head, and the ritual of tea as a whole bringing me peace. Regardless of the reason, I am glad it brings my head a bit of a rest so I can do things, like write this blog!
Recently I recieved a surprise package from Yunomi with Nakamura-En’s #01 Gyokuro Mecha, The Discovery inside. I do not remember requesting any samples to review lately, so maybe this came from their awesome Tea4Two program, whatever the reason for its arrival, it was very welcome because I had just run out of Gyokuro the other day. This particular Gyokuro is actually Mecha (no, not that kind of Mecha, sadly it is not a giant piloted robot, I am sad too) a tea that is basically the broken off tips and buds of the tea, this gives it a more robust taste and makes it cheaper than normal Gyokuro and high end Sencha. This also means that it is a bit cheaper, meaning if you are wanting to experiment with brewing Gyokuro the crazy leaf heavy traditional way or just try Gyokuro in general, it is a good introductory tea. I have to say, this might be the sweetest Gyokuro I have had the pleasure of sniffing (also such tiny leaves! must be careful to not inhale them) it is a blend if honey, freshly broken green grass and hay, and a chestnut and sweet pea finish. As I snuffled around in the tea leaves a bit longer, warming them up even more by breathing on them, delicate floral notes and a touch of kelp waft up from the emerald leaves.
Really, I should brew this in my Kyusu or pseudo-Houhin, but I always end up brewing Gyokuro in my glass steeping apparatus, because it is so pretty! The aroma of the now thoroughly soggy leaves is very green, like super green! Notes of grass and spinach, kelp and peas, and a tiny hint of chestnuts. It smells verdant, I see flashes of vibrant green in my mind as I sniff it. The liquid is light and sweet, and of course green, though it is no where as intense as the wet leaves. There are notes of honey and chestnut along with a strong grassy presence.
Holy soupy thickness! Oh man, that mouthfeel is something else, it does not coat the mouth, it paints it, it smothers it, it feels sensual like chocolate melting in the mouth, but less milky…and chocolaty, but a similar texture. The taste is super green, with a blend of spinach and grass at the first, then it goes on a mouth journey to asparagus and sweet peas, and at the finish we have chestnut and kelp. It blends savory and sweetness pretty perfectly. Speaking of chocolate, if you ever get the chance to mix really dark chocolate with Gyokuro, do it, it is an awesome pairing!
In the traditional style I went for a second steeping, jacking up the temperature and shortening the steeping time. It is safe to say that is luminous Hulk green tea is now a powerhouse of flavor, it is super savory with notes of kelp and cooked spinach, with a strong kale midtaste, this bitter green note pretty quickly fades to kelp and a touch of chestnut at the finish. It is pretty intense, in a good way, but be warned, do not go to the second steep lightly, be prepared with a spirit of steel!
First steeping: two heaping teaspoons of leaf in 6 oz of water, at 165 degrees for 90 seconds. VERY intense umami and brine flavors, almost like drinking ocean water. Slightly sweet with no bitterness. Second steeping: 175 degrees for 30 seconds. More vegetal and more balanced. I actually preferred the second steeping, which tasted much like the first steeping of the other gyokuros that I’ve tried. Third steeping: also 175 for 30 sec. Much milder but good, with more sweetness coming through and still no bitterness. It reminds me a little of a kukicha now.
Flavors: Broth, Butter, Salt, Salty, Seaweed, Sweet, Umami, Vegetables, Vegetal
First-ever gyokuro! I got this as a free sample from YunomiUS as part of my Japanese green exploration fun time (totally made that up). I don’t know anything about gyokuro, so I kind of browsed around on Steepster to come up with some steeping parameters for western-style. The dry leaf is a beautiful jewel-tone green and shiny, but it is extremely broken up, which I did not expect. It smells similar to a sencha, mostly like alfalfa and a sweet grassiness.
The brewed tea smelled a lot like sencha to me, too. It’s quite spinachy and somewhat sweet with a buttery zucchini element to it that is new to me. But wow, the taste of it took me completely by surprise! I can see similarities to a more heavily steamed sencha, but the level of intensity is so enormous here. There’s a second when I first sip where I don’t taste a whole lot, but then I’m immediately hit by this immensely deep and powerful butternut squash taste. There might be some asparagus in there, too. I also taste a slight bitterness which seems intrinsic to the tea, but I could have also screwed up the steeping. :P This tea has an extremely thick and creamy texture and it coats the tongue heavily. The flavor lingers on and on.
Honestly, this tea is a bit much for me. I don’t find it very well-suited to western brewing because the flavor is so intense and it continues to build as you drink it. I think I would like it more if I did the traditional smaller brew.
This was a very interesting tea experience! I definitely can’t assign a rating to this, I would have no idea where to start. :P
Flavors: Asparagus, Butternut Squash, Creamy, Grass, Spinach
I botched this tea and underleafed it – I used the entire sample and it came out to just under 2.5 tsp, although I used three cups of water.
This was kind of weak, but I could still taste the umami sort of grassiness that happens in a lot of gyokuros. However, as I’m not a fan of resteeping and I have so many other teas, this will stay as a sipdown.