Thursday, February 26, 2015

Simple Loose Leaf, Gyokuro Green

Simple Loose Leaf Description:
Gyokuro is matured under full shade for three weeks and has an aroma of orange blossoms.  With savory and earthy tones this tea also has the memories of nori with a faint whisper of french beans and cucumbers.  Gyokuro is an exceptional tea that demands a unique brewing method to reach its full potential.  Using a lower water temperature is key.  Use water between 120 F and 140 F when brewing.  Use 1 to 2 grams of tea per ounce of water and let the tea steep for 5 minutes for the first steeping.  Subsequent steepings require only a minute or two.

Sample provided by Simple Loose Leaf

My Review:
I am not well versed in Japanese green teas. I know all the cool kids are doing it, but I have always heard the beat of a different drum I guess. Well, today I break from my non-comformity and review this offering from Simple Loose Leaf.

This one was included in the monthly tea subscription box I received for review. This box contained 5 sample bags, 2 reusable cloth tea bags, and detailed instruction. It was well packed.

The resealable sample has a fancy but clean label with description and brewing instructions. That is a good thing as I would have done this all wrong.

The dry leaf has a grassy scent with citrus notes. Removing about half the sample, this is grassy green and chopped pieces of leaf.

The instructions say to use 1 to 2 grams per ounce of water. Further research on the internet claims 1 tsp of gyokuro is equivalent to 4 g. I used two tsp.

The next step is to heat the water to between 120 and 140 F. Seriously? I know people who have their water heater set higher. Further research says you can use hotter water but it won't taste as good. So, 125 F, is what I shot for with my kettle. That is a lot harder than it sounds. Water heats really fast to that low of a temperature, so watch closely.

The tea was steeped in my clear glass teapot for 5 minutes. Yep, that seems like a long time but the water is really cool. The leaf pieces danced their slow ballet, separating to the top and bottom of the pot. The liquor is very lightly green tinted sunshine. The wet leaf is now a deep lush forest green. The aroma is grassy and just a touch green bean.

This tea seems a little fussy compared to most of what I brew. Let's see if it is worth the effort...

This is way cooler than I think most people prefer to drink their tea, however it is the perfect temperature for my tastes. I am not noticing any hint of bitterness and only the slightest tongue tingle. My first thought was 'grassy' but after another sip I realize it is far more complex than one simple word. I think Simple Loose Leaf comes pretty close in their description.

This really does have some orange blossom, except I taste it rather than catching it in the aroma. I am also catching the cucumber notes. I love that flavor in a tea, so I notice it as more than a whisper. They also note this as savory and I agree. It has the sensation of salty with out the salt. A fellow Steepster friend said that was the perfect description of umami. So, yeah, this tastes umami :) Others found this to be sweet. To me, there is little sweetness. It's almost like it is seasoned with dill. The aftertaste is drying, on the other hand the grassy, cucumber, and dill lingers long in the aftertaste.

This should steep a few more times. The instructions say to only steep a minute or two after the first cup. I can do that. The second cup is similar to the first. There is less distinctive cucumber and the introduction of a light earthiness.

I am pleasantly impressed. My first experience with Gyokuro was a little fussy but definitely worth the effort.

You can find Simple Loose Leaf, Gyokuro Green here.

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