Tranquil Waters: Gyokuro Suimei
Hey everyone, this is David. These are my tasting notes for pur highest grade of gyokuro, Gyokuro Suimei.
Presentation: The dry leaves have this beautiful, almost oily, sheen. The leaves are a dark, deep green color that is indicative of much shading as the chlorophyll has been preserved. Despite their delicate nature, the leaves still retain a lot of their needle shape while, naturally, there are some parts that are broken. The leaves are not as easy to break as the fragile leaves of Fukamushi (“Deep Steamed”) Sencha, for example, which is produced in such a way that results in leaf material that is easier to break. The smell of the dry leaf is some combination of freshly squeezed sugar cane juice with a hint of seaweed or sea air.
Taste: Here is where the money is. When brewing Gyokuro, generally, one is recommended to use lower temperature water compared to something like Sencha or Houjicha especially. Gyokuro brewing and tasting can be quite a genteel experience. Really, tasting tea in general can be improved with a great attention to detail yet this is especially true for Gyokuro. This is not tea to brew with scalding hot water, necessarily.
Brewing at around 140F for a whole 2 minutes results in a forest green colored brew. The brew itself smelled of distant salt water. The cup was easy to hold on my hand yet was still pleasantly warm Gyokuro, being a shaded green tea, the protein L-Theanine is remains in the leaf which has a strong umami texture and flavor which coats the tongue. This umami flavor is followed by a gentle astringency.
Body Feel: After a cup or two of this tea I ended up feeling more relaxed and gently elevated in my mood. It’s a great tea for contemplation as the caffeine is a bit stimulating but that stimulation is modulated by the quiet power of the L-Theanine. You get the sense that everything is going to be okay and it inspires me to not be so distracted and instead appreciate the tea.
I hope you all have a chance to pick up some Gyokuro Suimei. Either way, I wish you all a restful tea time.