Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!


Made from leaves that have not been oxidized.

Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby bigmonstertruck » May 26th, '11, 19:15

I decided to give the Rimpo Gyokuru from Ippodo a try. This is not the top grade, and in fact I purchased one higher grade (yet far from the top of their offerings). I brewed it according to their (Ippodo's) recommendations:

10g of leaves
80 ml (about 2.5 oz) of water at 140 degrees
1-1/2 minutes first steep

WOW! Rich, powerful, and full of flavor. So this is what they mean by Umami! This is to be sipped, savored, and rolled around on one's tongue. A smooth and silky, almost velvety mouth-feel. The flavor hits one's nose long before the cup gets to the mouth.

The second and third steeps they recommend essentially no steeping - just pour the water in and pour it out. The second and third steeps are not quite as strong, and some bitterness comes through. Maybe it would be good to cool the water down a bit and steep longer, but I wanted to try it their way first. I can see now how this tastes so much different than Sencha. Definitely not an everyday drink, but something very special.

In the past I was brewing Gyokuru like Sencha, just with a bit cooler water and never with so little water to leaf.

Please feel free to chime in with your techniques and experiences.

Ed
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby tortoise » May 26th, '11, 22:13

I'm enjoying good gyo these days as well, so I'm happy for your discovery.
:D

Kame here tonight.
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby tortoise » May 26th, '11, 22:53

And I just dropped some Kanro into my sakura canister. :mrgreen:
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby tortoise » May 27th, '11, 15:06

This can be just our little chat. :lol:

I've only had a few varieties, but I like brewing it at about 2g per 1 oz. Some gyos might not stand up well to that, but it certainly works with kame. Last night, I used 12g for 90ml and it was excellent. Reminded me of damp, green pine needles, both in taste and visually.

I am still struggling to understand the gyokuro concept of "sweet." I love the stuff, but sweetness is not the most forward flavor to me. It makes me wonder if my taste-buds are damaged since gyokuro is universally marketed as "sweet."

It has a very high, bright, crisp taste as well as the deeper umami, but sweet? Hmmm. Not sure.
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby NOESIS » May 27th, '11, 15:20

Amazing the difference when you make gyo the "correct" way. I buy gyo maybe twice a year, 150-200g per order, and go through it in less than a month. For me, this is the penultimate expression of green tea. Think I've tried most of the different gyos that Ippodo sells, and they've all been very good to excellent.

And tortoise, I've never found gyos to be "sweet", as they are often marketed as. At least not sugary sweet. I'd say very rich and oceanic.
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby bigmonstertruck » May 27th, '11, 15:45

NOESIS wrote: For me, this is the penultimate expression of green tea. Think I've tried most of the different gyos that Ippodo sells, and they've all been very good to excellent.



If Gyokuru is the penultimate of greens, what to you is the ultimate?

Ed
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby bigmonstertruck » May 27th, '11, 15:50

tortoise wrote:This can be just our little chat. :lol:

I've only had a few varieties, but I like brewing it at about 2g per 1 oz. Some gyos might not stand up well to that, but it certainly works with kame. Last night, I used 12g for 90ml and it was excellent. Reminded me of damp, green pine needles, both in taste and visually.

I am still struggling to understand the gyokuro concept of "sweet." I love the stuff, but sweetness is not the most forward flavor to me. It makes me wonder if my taste-buds are damaged since gyokuro is universally marketed as "sweet."

It has a very high, bright, crisp taste as well as the deeper umami, but sweet? Hmmm. Not sure.


I do not understand the 2g per 1 oz, because then you say 12g/90ml which is about 3 oz. This would make it 4g/1 oz?!?! Maybe you mean that you usually go as low as 2g/1 oz? Ippodo recommends 10g / 80 ml which is just shy of 3 oz, so that works out close to your 12g/90 ml. I wanted to start with Ippodo's recommended dosage for their gyo and then make some adjustments from there to see how things change. Of course it is fairly pricey, so I won't do too much playing around.

BTW, "sweet" with regard to gyo is to me the same type of "sweet" as when talking about scotch or wine. Sweet as in smooth, the opposite of astringent or bitter (I know that with wine, dry is the opposite of sweet, but I think that there is a similarity). If you are looking for honey or cotton candy sweet, that is not what you are going to get.

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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby tortoise » May 27th, '11, 15:56

bigmonstertruck wrote:
I do not understand the 2g per 1 oz, because then you say 12g/90ml which is about 3 oz. This would make it 4g/1 oz?!?! Maybe you mean that you usually go as low as 2g/1 oz? Ippodo recommends 10g / 80 ml which is just shy of 3 oz, so that works out close to your 12g/90 ml. I wanted to start with Ippodo's recommended dosage for their gyo and then make some adjustments from there to see how things change. Of course it is fairly pricey, so I won't do too much playing around.

Ed


I usually brew it at 2g/1oz. Last night, I brew it as reported. 12g / 90 ml.
The results were very pleasing.

Re: Sweetness -- I drink a fair amount of scotch and can definitely identify sweetness there. But I have tried more varieties of scotch than of gyokuro, so I need to get on the ball.
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby NOESIS » May 27th, '11, 16:03

bigmonstertruck wrote:
NOESIS wrote: For me, this is the penultimate expression of green tea. Think I've tried most of the different gyos that Ippodo sells, and they've all been very good to excellent.



If Gyokuru is the penultimate of greens, what to you is the ultimate?

Ed


Back in the 90s, while on vacation in Beijing, I had pleasure of experiencing the real deal Long Jing. Mind blowing stuff. Never been able to find the imported stuff that even comes close. For all practical purposes,I'd say that high-grade gyo is about as good as in gets.
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby Tead Off » May 27th, '11, 23:54

NOESIS wrote:
bigmonstertruck wrote:
NOESIS wrote: For me, this is the penultimate expression of green tea. Think I've tried most of the different gyos that Ippodo sells, and they've all been very good to excellent.



If Gyokuru is the penultimate of greens, what to you is the ultimate?

Ed


Back in the 90s, while on vacation in Beijing, I had pleasure of experiencing the real deal Long Jing. Mind blowing stuff. Never been able to find the imported stuff that even comes close. For all practical purposes,I'd say that high-grade gyo is about as good as in gets.

LJ is hands down my favorite green tea. But, I couldn't possibly compare it to Gyokuro as the flavor profile is profoundly different. Apples and oranges. I could drink LJ everyday. I cannot drink gyo everyday. Gyo is my favorite Japanese tea.

No formula for brewing any tea works for all teas in the same category, imo. Ippodo's suggested brew info is a good starting point. In my experience, some teas need less leaf, some much less, others as Ippodo suggests. Perhaps some water will produce a better tea than others. Maybe 1 pot over another. Many variables including the brewer. :D
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby tortoise » May 28th, '11, 20:50

Kanro from ippodo gave me a glimpse of this illusive sweetness. Good stuff.
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby bigmonstertruck » May 28th, '11, 21:20

Tead Off wrote:
Noensis wrote:Back in the 90s, while on vacation in Beijing, I had pleasure of experiencing the real deal Long Jing. Mind blowing stuff. Never been able to find the imported stuff that even comes close. For all practical purposes,I'd say that high-grade gyo is about as good as in gets.

LJ is hands down my favorite green tea. But, I couldn't possibly compare it to Gyokuro as the flavor profile is profoundly different. Apples and oranges. I could drink LJ everyday. I cannot drink gyo everyday. Gyo is my favorite Japanese tea.
:D

Can you recommend a top-notch LJ?

Ed
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby Tead Off » May 28th, '11, 23:09

bigmonstertruck wrote:
Tead Off wrote:
Noensis wrote:Back in the 90s, while on vacation in Beijing, I had pleasure of experiencing the real deal Long Jing. Mind blowing stuff. Never been able to find the imported stuff that even comes close. For all practical purposes,I'd say that high-grade gyo is about as good as in gets.

LJ is hands down my favorite green tea. But, I couldn't possibly compare it to Gyokuro as the flavor profile is profoundly different. Apples and oranges. I could drink LJ everyday. I cannot drink gyo everyday. Gyo is my favorite Japanese tea.
:D

Can you recommend a top-notch LJ?

Ed

It changes every year. None of the vendors I buy from have online shops. Last year, Postcard and East Teas (same teas sold) in London had excellent offerings. I did buy some of it. Make sure you ask them what year the tea was produced. They are known to sell old teas without telling you.
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Re: Gyokuru - OK, now I get it!

Postby NOESIS » May 28th, '11, 23:11

Tead Off wrote: But, I couldn't possibly compare it to Gyokuro as the flavor profile is profoundly different. Apples and oranges. I could drink LJ everyday. I cannot drink gyo everyday. Gyo is my favorite Japanese tea.



Yep, apples and oranges to be sure. However, if I had the $, I'd drink gyo several times per week...week in and week out. :D

As far as drinking LJ everyday, most that I've tried outside of mainland China don't warrant the steep prices. As far as great Chinese greens that I would (and often do) drink on a regular basis, I'd go with a good Lu An Gua Pian or Hai Ping Hou Kui.
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