Too late for Gyokuro?

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Apr 25th 17 9:09 pm
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Too late for Gyokuro?

by JRS22 » Apr 25th 17 9:09 pm

I know other people are ordering shincha regular Japanese greens. Is it too late to order 2016 Gyokuro - will the tea have degraded from its peak?

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Apr 25th 17 9:28 pm
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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by William » Apr 25th 17 9:28 pm

JRS22 wrote: I know other people are ordering shincha regular Japanese greens. Is it too late to order 2016 Gyokuro - will the tea have degraded from its peak?
I would say, depends.

If the gyokuro has been refrigerated and/or stored in a nitrogen filled bag, I don't see any problem with its freshness. If instead, it has been stored in a more traditional way, i.e. inside a big jar for example, then it's probably better to wait this season's harvest.

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Apr 25th 17 9:57 pm
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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by chingwa » Apr 25th 17 9:57 pm

As William says, as long as it's been stored properly Gyokuro should be fine. Gyokuro is a slightly aged tea anyway, it's often best to wait 6 months or more since picking before enjoying, since it mellows and gains a bit of complexity with time. A year would not be out of bounds, Even up to 2 years is not inconceivable (again, as long as it's been stored properly).

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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by victoria3 » Apr 25th 17 10:53 pm

chingwa wrote: As William says, as long as it's been stored properly Gyokuro should be fine. Gyokuro is a slightly aged tea anyway, it's often best to wait 6 months or more since picking before enjoying, since it mellows and gains a bit of complexity with time. A year would not be out of bounds, Even up to 2 years is not inconceivable (again, as long as it's been stored properly).
Yes, I can testify if it's been in cool storage 1-2 years it will be pleasantly mellowed out.

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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by mael » Apr 26th 17 4:37 pm

According to french japanese tea instructor Florent Weugue, owner of a blog and webstore specialized on japanese teas, gyokuro are not sold as shincha but instead start to be sold in autumn, when it reveals its full depth.

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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by victoria3 » Apr 26th 17 5:19 pm

Kevin at O-Cha has been posting about this for years on teachat and now I see he's even included it on his site.
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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by kyarazen » Apr 27th 17 2:57 am

mael wrote: According to french japanese tea instructor Florent Weugue, owner of a blog and webstore specialized on japanese teas, gyokuro are not sold as shincha but instead start to be sold in autumn, when it reveals its full depth.
indeed. the tea lineages, i.e. urasenke have the tea jar opening ceremony/event in autumn, in which the tencha had been aging since spring.

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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by Teaarch » Apr 29th 17 5:02 pm

According to french japanese tea instructor Florent Weugue, owner of a blog and webstore specialized on japanese teas, gyokuro are not sold as shincha but instead start to be sold in autumn, when it reveals its full depth.
Mostly this is true. However, even Florent last year decided to sell one (or a few) gyokuro shinchas. I think this was a special case though. They might not have been proper gyokuros.

As for any tea, it all depends how it was stored and such. But I find most teas taste better after a year than they do as shincha (for sencha) or when they are first released in autumn (most gyokuros).

For instance, I'll no longer touch Horaido's competition grade sencha (which is almost as different from a typical sencha as a kabusecha, but that's off topic) unless it's been over a year since he received it. So I'd order it in, say, July if he first received it in March of the previous year. But that also has to do with how he ages his teas, which is quite different than most places. I've never tried his gyokuro, but if the aging is anywhere near as successful as with his senchas, it'll probably taste best after being over a year old as well.

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Re: Too late for Gyokuro?

by JRS22 » Apr 30th 17 7:14 pm

When I started this thread I was originallly planning to order 2 mechanically harvested 2016 gyokuros from Florent via Thes-du-Japon. When I tried to place the order I realized that they collect sales tax even when there's no teaware in the order. I live in a state that doesn't collect sales tax on tea so I sent them an email about this.

In the meantime I've moved on to some 2017 chinese greens .