Gyokura/Matcha - Bitterness?

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Feb 14th 06 1:11 am
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Gyokura/Matcha - Bitterness?

by ceterisparibus » Feb 14th 06 1:11 am

I've only had the chance to try one of each a single time - in both cases there was a fairly sharp bitter aftertaste that I've not tasted in Dragonwell, Green Anji, Hojicha, or Genmai Cha (I understand the last two aren't typical Greens but I mention them since they're both Japanese Greens).

Is that bitterness characteristic of Gyokura & Matcha, Japanese Green Tea in general, or did I just have it prepared incorrectly?



Feb 14th 06 2:50 am
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by garden gal » Feb 14th 06 2:50 am

I love the Genmai Cha tea- roasted nuts & toasted popcorn! I found gyokura to be bitter slightly if you go any over that 3" or get too hot. My cocomint is a little more tolerant but not much- I tried 5" once since I had mixed extra chocolate tea in and definite bitter aftertaste.

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Feb 14th 06 3:44 am
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by TeaFanatic » Feb 14th 06 3:44 am

I have experienced the same thing with my japanese sencha overture, and I'm not quite sure what the problem is.

Many places will tell you that japanese green teas are more delicate than chinese and should therefore be prepared using 170-175 degree water and only steeped for 1-2 minutes. I would experiment with different water temperatures and times and see how that works for you.

For me, it hasn't made a difference yet, I'll keep experimenting though.
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Feb 14th 06 5:19 pm
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by Joe » Feb 14th 06 5:19 pm

I've found when making gyokuro, the lower the tempetarture, the better it tastes. I mean this only goes to a certain extent of course, but i like to stay at least a few degrees less than 180 for sure. Some cups are somewhat bitter, and some cups aren't bitter at all, depending on that specific cup. Keep trying it though...gyokuro is one of my favorites.

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Feb 16th 06 6:05 am
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by Jing Cha » Feb 16th 06 6:05 am

I brew matcha and gyokuro at about 140-160F or two parts boiling to one part cold water. Absolutely no more than 2 minutes on the gyokuro.

The trick is to know how much heat you can expose the tea to before you kill it. You want just enough heat to get as much goodness out without destroying the flavor. I tend to err on the side of lower rather than higher temperature as I prefer imperfect tea to ruined tea.

Prepared well, I find both matcha and gyokuro to have a pleasant sweet-bitter taste if of good quality and prepared with care.

Finding quality matcha is a real pain in the US. My latest adventure was Matcha-Koto no Tsuki. It's actually quite pleasant, bitter in the perfect dimensions and proportions with enough sweetness to carry through to sublime experience. Luckily, it is available 7/10ths of an ounce at a time as it costs almost $500 per pound. That's about $10 per serving and well-worth the experience many times over if you like matcha.

Consider that many premium matchas cost over $700 per pound and come in 30g (1.1 oz) tins--and often don't live up to the price.

Will Gladly,

Jing Cha

Feb 17th 06 1:45 am
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by ceterisparibus » Feb 17th 06 1:45 am

Thanks Everyone - I'll give it another shot with an eye on temp and steep time.

Jing Cha - Interesting to see Ito En offers Matcha. I've been impressed by their Sencha Shot and Teas' Tea - not as good as fresh brewed but better than any other prepared/packaged tea I've had a chance to sample.

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Feb 17th 06 3:55 am
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by rabbit » Feb 17th 06 3:55 am

I am SO not a matcha master... I suck at preparing it, lol, but what's cool is that I know people in japan who send it to me for free, they also sent me a whole teaset, and some sencha as well! JAPAN ROCKS.
"It is never too late to be what you might have been." - George Eliot