Gyokuro Quality Question


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Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby Exempt » Feb 16th, '13, 16:36

I recently bought some sencha and gyokuro from a local shop and it was quite good but I'm sure it was not very high quality. I've been looking at ordering some gyokuro from Ippodo but am not exactly sure what the quality difference is between their quality levels. There is a huge difference in price but I was wondering if anyone had recommendations for certain quality levels over others or could explain the difference between the levels?
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Re: Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby Chip » Feb 16th, '13, 16:47

I usually notice the taste differentials. There are decent to good examples at almost any price point starting at around 30 USD per 100 grams and there are bad examples at almost every price point!!! High price does NOT guarantee great Gyokuro. And there are realllllly bad examples of cheaper Gyokuro.

But, the higher up you go on the price scale with a reputable specialist/vendor ... usually the tasste is somewhat sweeter and gives you more of the "Omg" effect. Lower priced versions rarely overwhelm me and can have a harsh element that I notice (and seem to be sensitive to).

I usually have to get close to 50 USD per 100 grams to get what I am looking for in a Gyokuro. Higher is virtually always better from the vendors I purchase from. I do not mind paying more as I do small steeps and do not drink it everyday.

In buying higher priced Gyokuro, I always buy from vendors who specialize and that I fully trust.

There is also a point of diminishing returns where enjoyment does not go up as much as the price. But for me this is usually in the highest price ranges.

When it comes to Gyokuro, pretty needles are OK, but does it translate into the cup???!!!??? Can it brew a high ratio that is void of harshness/offness of any kind ...
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Re: Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby Exempt » Feb 16th, '13, 17:21

Chip wrote:I usually notice the taste differentials. There are decent to good examples at almost any price point starting at around 30 USD per 100 grams and there are bad examples at almost every price point!!! High price does NOT guarantee great Gyokuro. And there are realllllly bad examples of cheaper Gyokuro.

But, the higher up you go on the price scale with a reputable specialist/vendor ... usually the tasste is somewhat sweeter and gives you more of the "Omg" effect. Lower priced versions rarely overwhelm me and can have a harsh element that I notice (and seem to be sensitive to).

I usually have to get close to 50 USD per 100 grams to get what I am looking for in a Gyokuro. Higher is virtually always better from the vendors I purchase from. I do not mind paying more as I do small steeps and do not drink it everyday.

In buying higher priced Gyokuro, I always buy from vendors who specialize and that I fully trust.

There is also a point of diminishing returns where enjoyment does not go up as much as the price. But for me this is usually in the highest price ranges.

When it comes to Gyokuro, pretty needles are OK, but does it translate into the cup???!!!??? Can it brew a high ratio that is void of harshness/offness of any kind ...

What vendors do you typically purchase from? I have seen a lot of talk about gyokuro from ippodo and o-cha.
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Re: Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby Chip » Feb 16th, '13, 17:29

O-Cha has a lot of really nice Gyokuro selections.

The Yamashita line-up at Maiko is very nice as well.

Hakoniwado has a nice selection from Yame.

I am anxious to try Ippodo's. It is actually odd that I have not tried theirs yet!

I am actually conducting a TeaChat OTTI tasting of Gyokuro with members currently ... selections are from Zencha, Den's Maiko, O-Cha. This one features 4 selections that retail around 50 USD per 100 grams. Check it out in the OTTI/NOTTI forum of TeaChat. There are a few spots open yet. Look at OTTI 17 AKA GY-OTTI.
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Re: Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby NOESIS » Feb 16th, '13, 17:53

I f I were just ordering gyo, I'd suggest Kame from O-Cha. Very classic Uji gyo flavor. Try a 50g pack and choose stardard shipping. That being said, I slightly prefer the three highest grades from Ippodo. However, when I place an order it's usually quite substantial. I usually order a few 50g bags of gyo, several bags of sencha and bancha, plus a few tins of matcha. This is to justify the high cost of EMS shipping.
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Re: Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby Tead Off » Feb 18th, '13, 08:16

Chip wrote:I usually have to get close to 50 USD per 100 grams to get what I am looking for in a Gyokuro.


I usually have to get close to double the price to get what I'm after! $50/40g. But, that doesn't mean there is not some good drinkable gyo for less. I find Gyokuro is often more disappointing to me than finding a good sencha these days.
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Re: Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby Chip » Feb 18th, '13, 13:40

Although there are disappointments in both Gyokuro and sencha, I have been quite pleased with the vast majority of both for quite some time.

I should have said, "As a starting point, I usually have to get close to 50 USD per 100 grams to get what I am looking for in a Gyokuro. Clearly there are better ones to be had at higher pricepoints ... but higher cost does not guarantee better gyokuro. A lot will also have to do with how "close to the source" a vendor is. But this does not guarantee success either, just increases the odds of getting a good "value" ... a gyokuro priced appropriately.

Are 50 USD gyokuro as mind blowing as ones costing 2X as much, likely not. But I bet there are disappointments at all price points.
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Re: Gyokuro Quality Question

Postby edkrueger » Feb 18th, '13, 21:53

I think there is some great gyokuro around 2000-2500 yen per 50g (before shipping). Yamashita Jirushi is one of these, Kanro is another. Even Rimpo at 1500 yen is quite nice.
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