Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Uji Gyokuro Gyoku Hou

Tea: Uji Gyokuro Gyoku-Hou
Vendor: O-cha
Price: $44.95 / 100g
Source: Uji, Japan
Vendor Description: Uji Gyokuro "Gyoku-Hou" - A very high quality first-flush gyokuro from Uji, near Kyoto. Gyokuro is shade grown before harvesting, giving it a greener color and sweeter taste. Once you learn to make it properly, you wil be hooked for life! Make sure to read our brewing instructions, as it is brewed differently than sencha.

Leaf: The leaf for this tea was lightly glossy with a dark green color. The green color was very even and consistent throughout this tea and there were a few very noticeable long leaves in there.

1st Infusion Parameters: 5g, 5 oz, 140F, 60s

1st Infusion: The first infusion had a pale light green almost luminescent hue to it. There was a very faint murkiness to it. The flavor was smooth, with a light sense of grassiness. There was a mild sensation of rich umami flavoring, but not much marine flavor. There was not much flavor on the backend of this tea. It had a very strong showing in the early to mid portions of the taste and had a very mouth opening feel to it. It was different than the clean sensation from a good sencha, but similar.

2nd Infusion Parameters: 145F, 15s

2nd Infusion: This infusion was slightly murkier. The color was green, but not quite the same luminescent hue as before. The flavor was light and had a certain emptiness to it. It felt like the core of the flavor was not well represented in this infusion, but the surrounding aspects of flavor were still present. There was more flavor in the back end than the front and mid. This flavor represented itself as a light grassiness, but aside from that there was not much else.

3rd Infusion Parameters: 150F, 60s

3rd Infusion: The color was light and clear again. The flavor was once again very clear. There was a light sense of astringency in this one, but it still felt like the core of the flavor was missing. There was a light flavor hiding toward the back of the flavor, but it felt like it was hiding.

Rating: 6/10

Conclusion: As much as I've heard wonderful things about the gyokuro offered by O-cha, I was disappointed by this tea. It felt like after the first infusion, the tea didn't really open up for the successive infusions. It may have been that upping the temperature or infusion times could have opened it up more, but it felt like there wasn't something there to open up to. I find that in second and to a lesser extent third infusions of gyokuro, the flavor should be open and almost only need be rinsed to get the flavor out. I was not impressed by this gyokuro as being a top end contender, but it wasn't a bad gyokuro. This would be an ok frequent drinking gyokuro if someone was looking for something to have once a week or so.

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