Gyokuro - where to start


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Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Noonie » Apr 3rd, '14, 08:43

After drinking many varieties of tea in the last few years, including darjeeling, wuyi, TGY (lots of other oolongs), and sencha...I find myself enjoying sencha much more than others teas lately. I have no idea why, and I'm not sure how long it will last :?

I've been enjoying sencha, both asamushi and fukamushi, from a variety of vendors, but I'm thinking of trying gyokuro. I tried this once, a few years ago, and my brewing parameters were poor so I can't trust the not-so-great experience.

I've tried matcha a few times, the latest time after following closely the instructions one of the vendor's sites, and I wasn't sure I like it (would love to have someone experienced make me one so I can determine if in fact I like it :wink: )

I've been on the recommended vendors websites and have read their guides on brewing gyokuro...so I know how to start, and will adjust until I'm happy.

I'm wondering what is a good gyokuro to start with...I know it is more expensive than sencha, and you use more leaf, so I want something that's fairly priced, but still good quality, so that I can experiment. Then if I like it, I can explore the higher-end teas, dedicated teaware, etc.

Thanks.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Poohblah » Apr 3rd, '14, 15:28

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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Chip » Apr 3rd, '14, 15:42

Specifically with Maiko ... the Yamashita line. In this line up you can start at the low end and work your way up. http://www.maiko.ne.jp/english/shopping/yamashita-gyokuro.htm

I am also quite impressed with the O-Cha Gyokuro line up. I personally would recommend starting at the Fujitsubo or Gyoku-Hou level. The entry level Yame and Shou--Un are good for their price point ... but a little more will get you a more representative selection of what O-Cha offers (and more to my liking). Want to try a little higher yet, the Kame is bangin'!
http://www.o-cha.com/green-teas/gyokuro/

I recently received a Yame selection from Hakinowado and am anxious to try it. http://hakoniwado.com/tea/gyokuro

Gyokuro the Ultimate from Zencha is very good, but one of the more challenging to brew. http://www.zencha.net/products.php

Oddly I have not really tried Gyokuro selections from Ippodo ... I need to remedy this.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby gunbuster363 » Apr 3rd, '14, 21:22

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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Noonie » Apr 10th, '14, 16:17

I ended up ordering Yame and Shou-Un from O-Cha. I was going to get a Houhin, however, I wanted another Kyusu that handles fuka well...so I get one and will have it do double-duty as with Gyokuro. I like teaware but right now I don't have space to accumulate much...

I'll post here after I try the tea, and may have questions.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby FlyedPiper » Apr 14th, '14, 13:22

I'd recommend Yamashita's bottom end stuff to try next like Chip said. Or if you really want to ruin it for yourself try the sample pack. :lol:

Nothing I've tried from O-Cha gyokuro wise has really knocked my socks off- yet including the Kame. Haven't been further up the ladder with them however. I'd rather pay the little bit extra and get the WOW experience. I only get a couple of bags a year though.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Noonie » Apr 15th, '14, 09:23

As my tea is on the way I was thinking of the brewing process and I had a question.

I have a bonavita variable temp kettle. I can set it to the target temperature and avoid cooling boiled water. I really prefer to set the temp, as it's so easy, but is there a good reason to use cooled water from a boil instead?
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Chip » Apr 15th, '14, 10:19

Noonie wrote:As my tea is on the way I was thinking of the brewing process and I had a question.

I have a bonavita variable temp kettle. I can set it to the target temperature and avoid cooling boiled water. I really prefer to set the temp, as it's so easy, but is there a good reason to use cooled water from a boil instead?

Welllll ... personal preferences come into play. Since I am going to do at least 5 steeps and the temps will slowly be increasing for each steep, it is just easier for me to boil the water and cool by pouring into the pot, cooler, and cups until getting to the right temp.

I boil once, then adjust by pouring.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Kevangogh » Apr 16th, '14, 23:54

In order to have the WOW experience, no matter which gyokuro you use you have to brew it just perfectly. I went to the Tsuen teahouse in Uji a few months ago and the owner brewed up Fujitsubo in a way that made it WOW.

The Uji Shirakawa Gyokuro is a WOW experience, I can tell you that, that's why I added it. It doesn't come cheaply, but if you are looking for wow, it delivers.

FlyedPiper wrote:Nothing I've tried from O-Cha gyokuro wise has really knocked my socks off- yet including the Kame. Haven't been further up the ladder with them however. I'd rather pay the little bit extra and get the WOW experience. I only get a couple of bags a year though.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Noonie » Apr 17th, '14, 05:39

Kevan - got my order yesterday...the Yami was very nice. Thanks!
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby yalokinh » Apr 18th, '14, 22:54

I'm more of a chinese tea kind of guy, but I have delved into some wonderful japanese teas. The ones I tried from www.charaku-tea.com were pretty good, but I'm no expert in japanese teas.
Happy drinking!
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Noonie » Apr 29th, '14, 05:34

Yesterday this houhin arrived http://hakoniwado.com/houhin-hobin and I must say the flavour of the gyokuro was more pleasing...both smoother and sweeter. This is the first time I've noticed such a difference when using different pots on the same tea...not that I've experimented much.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Noonie » Jul 20th, '14, 14:12

I've tried two Gyokuro from O-Cha since asking this question - Uji Gyokuro Shou-Un and Yame Gyokuro. I finished the Yame and I've only just started the Shou-Un.

I found the Yame difficult to brew. It would easily become bitter when the parameters weren't just right. In fact, I may not have got this one right despite lots of trying :oops: .

The Shou-Un, however, has been great. It's very light, but sweet with nice umami flavour. I can get four or five 90-100ml infusions out of it and each time it's subtly different, but consistently sweet. It's not in your face, and you appreciate it as it tingles your lips and then afterwards with traces of lingering flavour.

Best of all is the price - less than $30 for 100g. Maybe this Christmas I'll treat myself to a higher-end Gyo to see if I can appreciate the difference. But for now the Shou-Un is a winner for me.
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Re: Gyokuro - where to start

Postby Alex » Jul 22nd, '14, 03:18

I like the Yame from o-cha. Brewed with 50c water.....lovely!
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