Inaugural Group Tasting: Sinensis Yokkaichi & Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro

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Bok
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:01 pm

Did anyone who has comparisons at hand, notice that single origin Gyokuru seem to be more powerful than the blended versions like the Tokusen? Powerful in the sense that they have this strong lingering aftertaste and throatfeel, while being less sensitive to heat.

Note that the ones I had, have been let rest. According to my source that is something absolutely doable, even advisable. I have two packets of Tokusen and was advised to leave one to age. So much as to the general sentiment that those teas need to be consumed quickly ;)
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Victoria
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:23 pm

Bok wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 6:01 pm
Did anyone who has comparisons at hand, notice that single origin Gyokuru seem to be more powerful than the blended versions like the Tokusen? Powerful in the sense that they have this strong lingering aftertaste and throatfeel, while being less sensitive to heat.

Note that the ones I had, have been let rest. According to my source that is something absolutely doable, even advisable. I have two packets of Tokusen and was advised to leave one to age. So much as to the general sentiment that those teas need to be consumed quickly ;)
Bok Just read through your other gyokuro tastings, sorry to hear you have not enjoyed gyokuro. I’m glad though that you have oolong to enjoy, this is very good to hear.

This tasting is between two gyokuro that counterpoint each other, in terms of flavor profile. Both have limited availability and are very high quality, so for many of us it is a special occasion that we can savor and enjoy. It is fascinating to me at the moment that the unique flavor profiles each taster experiences are so wide ranging and expressed with such poetic nuances.

Blending of leaves in Japan is highly regarded, an art form, and much more common than single origin. Blending is also very common in particular in the history of pu’erh. But that’s another very long topic that @phyllsheng has often addressed and may share in another thread. Some blends in Japan are between different cultivars (Sae Midori with Yutaka Midori etc.) with the aim to craft special unique and consistent profiles, although most blends are within the community of farms as collectives, and or within single farms blending their own leaves.

I have enjoyed single origin gyokuro and sencha like O-Cha’s Kyoto Sencha - Chadōraku a Sakimidori 1st flush, it was delicious. The aftertaste I have enjoyed with gyokuro is lingering salivation, savoring a long slow brief moment of pleasure. With oolong that many of us also enjoy it is different, a lingering sweetness and lasting flavor.

As for aging gyokuro you can reference Japanese Green Tea: Aged, Roasted, Fermented.
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Bok
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Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:33 pm

Victoria wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:23 pm
Bok Just read through your other gyokuro tastings, sorry to hear you have not enjoyed gyokuro. I’m glad though that you have oolong to enjoy, this is very good to hear.
I did enjoy the aftertaste of the two Asada En Gyokurus and did not dislike the taste of the liquid itself, which was more than I can say for the others.
Victoria wrote:
Tue Nov 05, 2019 11:23 pm
The after taste I have enjoyed with gyokuro is lingering salivation, savoring the breaf moment of pleasure. With oolong that many of us also enjoy it is different, a lingering sweetness and lasting flavor.
The aftertaste of those Asada En was indeed the exact same lingering sweetness and lasting flavor of a Gaoshan. The only difference is that none of that was present in the liquid itself when drunk, only coming out after a while in the throat. Maybe those two Gyokurus are an exception? Or it is due to their having a longer rest. The source where I got them from, insists on Gyokuru getting better with age, which in this small sample I tasted, does seem to make sense. Hence my question if anyone else noticed that with other teas.
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There is no self
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:12 pm

The precioussss is finally here! It has breathed fresh air and will be ready in less than 15 hours.
Feels like I'm really late to the party. I have avoided reading your notes so far so I wouldn't be influenced during the tasting. Can't wait to catch up!
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Victoria
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Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:26 pm

There is no self wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:12 pm
The precioussss is finally here! It has breathed fresh air and will be ready in less than 15 hours.
Feels like I'm really late to the party. I have avoided reading your notes so far so I wouldn't be influenced. Can't wait to catch up!
Wow that’s a crazy long wait, one month, sounds like it sat in customs for several weeks. You’re not late to the tasting though, a few other participants haven’t had a chance to try and or share their tasting with us yet :) 🍃

I’ve been using slightly more leaf:water than originally recommended, in somewhat absorbent shigaraki clay kyusu, with lower TDS water 50-90ppm;
8g/100ml/108f/2.30min. in Tachi Masaki 140ml shigaraki, Iceland Spring
6g/75ml/108F/2.30 min. in Jozan III 80ml shigaraki, Iceland Spring
davidmarkglass
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Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:55 am

Sinensis Yokkaichi Gyokuro
I got 4 brews from this extraordinary gyokuro that Victoria so kindly sent me.
I used Poland Spring water and brewed it like this:
1st brew: 10g/2oz-60ml/108F/2min Rich, plenty of umami, a kaleidoscope of flavors jumping from one to the next, best enjoyed in a quiet room with your eyes closed, and long aftertaste
2nd brew: same as 1st but only 30 sec. Almost the same intensity as the 1st brew
3rd and 4th brew: same as 2nd Less intense but still had gyokuro characteristics
5th brew: same as 2nd. All gyokuro characteristics gone.
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There is no self
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Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:26 am

Victoria wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:26 pm
There is no self wrote:
Wed Nov 06, 2019 12:12 pm
The precioussss is finally here! It has breathed fresh air and will be ready in less than 15 hours.
Feels like I'm really late to the party. I have avoided reading your notes so far so I wouldn't be influenced. Can't wait to catch up!
Wow that’s a crazy long wait, one month, sounds like it sat in customs for several weeks.
It actually took less travelling from California to Milan than being processed at customs.

Anyway, a couple of days ago I had my first tasting. I made the mistake of using too many leaves (nearly 8g in 40ml) and I also used filtered water, which is good but not ideal, I fear. Here's my notes.

1st infusion 8g - 40 ml (wood-fired clay shibo) - 55°C - 90 sec
A burst of umami, light grassy notes, and, upon finishing, a hint of bitterness. The umami is overwhelming, even in the aftertaste.

2nd infusion 8g - 40 ml - 55°C - 60 sec
Should've probably lowered the temperature. Umami still going strong, although the bitter notes are more noticeable.

3rd infusion 8g - 40 ml - 42°C - 60 sec
The umami is starting to fade. No more bitterness, grassy notes are making a comeback, and there's something kind of sort of like sweetness maybe.

4th infusion 8g - 40 ml - 42°C - 120 sec
I managed to squeeze some more umami and some grassy notes, but there's barely any flavour left.

All in all, an interesting experience. I hadn't drunk gyokuro in a long time so I didn't really know what to expect. I'm going to try fewer leaves and some good bottled water, maybe lower temperature too.

Also, bonus: the actual notes I took, for those of you who happen to be knowledgeable in both Italian and ancient writing systems. :mrgreen:
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Victoria
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Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:04 pm

Oh, @davidmarkglass and @There is no self you are both using a lot of leaf with Sinensis Yokkaichi, I’m sure your sessions were super rich. Your 10-12g/60ml vs my 4.8g/60ml is a big difference, especially since Sinensis recommended just 3.15g/ 60ml (4oz)/ 104-122F (40-50C)/ 2 min. But then Salvador prefers a slightly lighter brew than I do. What I have been enjoying about this gyokuro is how elegant it is, the liquor isn’t heavy, it’s lyrical. I wonder what twice the leaf will taste like, I might as well try it before saying too much :) !

@There is no self 8g/40ml/55C (131F) /90sec. You shouldn’t be getting any bitterness with Sinensis Yokkaichi, try keeping temp at or below 42-43C (108-109F). Beautiful Italian old school handwritten log, a treat to see that. I’m glad you are finally sitting with this gyokuro and exploring it.
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pedant
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Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:56 pm

YAMADA Jozan II (Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro)
YAMADA Jozan II (Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro)
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stunning session with the ippodo tokusen. popping with fresh vegetable flavors, maybe peas.
i was worried that i took too long to drink it, but i wonder if waiting made it even better somehow.
or maybe it was just that luscious shudei.

now i have only 10g left. 😭
i'll try the cold brew with the last of it.
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Bok
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Wed Nov 13, 2019 2:16 am

pedant wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 4:56 pm
Image


stunning session with the ippodo tokusen. popping with fresh vegetable flavors, maybe peas.
i was worried that i took too long to drink it, but i wonder if waiting made it even better somehow.
or maybe it was just that luscious shudei.

now i have only 10g left. 😭
i'll try the cold brew with the last of it.
Nice Jozan...
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OCTO
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Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:39 am

First time for me.... still don't know how to describe or what to expect... hahahaha....

Cheers!!
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Victoria
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Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:58 pm

That’s great that you were able to get Ippodo’s Tokusen @OCTO. Nice Shiboridashi there, who made it ? It looks thirsty and wants more leaf :) 🍃 My LA buddy @EarthMonkey that you will soon meet also had it here, and around goes the world.
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OCTO
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Thu Nov 14, 2019 4:24 pm

Victoria wrote:
Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:58 pm
That’s great that you were able to get Ippodo’s Tokusen OCTO. Nice Shiboridashi there, who made it ? It looks thirsty and wants more leaf :) 🍃 My LA buddy EarthMonkey that you will soon meet also had it here, and around goes the world.
@Victoria

The Gyokuro is a gift from a very close tea buddy... the Iga clay Shiboridashi, I picked up from Hojo a couple of days back while I was in town. Not too sure of the maker though... hahahaha... not too particular in that department.

Yes, @EarthMonkey has made contact and a preliminary schedule is in place... 😁😁

Cheers!!
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phyllsheng
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Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:31 pm

Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro
Tasted on 11.14.2019

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@tjkdubya and I visited @Victoria 3 days ago. The very first tea Victoria brewed masterfully for us was the Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro.

The tea was so very (wonderfully) thick, I wondered if it would turn to gel if refrigerated. The umami and ooika (覆い香) are among the best I've personally experienced.

Wow...凄いね!!!

An eye-opening tea for me, personally. Thank you so much, @Victoria!
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Victoria
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Sun Nov 17, 2019 7:37 pm

phyllsheng wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:31 pm
Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro
Tasted on 11.14.2019

Image

tjkdubya and I visited Victoria 3 days ago. The very first tea Victoria brewed masterfully for us was the Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro.

The tea was so very (wonderfully) thick, I wondered if it would turn to gel if refrigerated. The umami and ooika (覆い香) are among the best I've personally experienced.

Wow...凄いね!!!

An eye-opening tea for me, personally. Thank you so much, Victoria!
Wow, Thank you for sharing this! Your photographs are stunning, really, and commentary heartwarming to hear as well. Great diptych. With your colors, I can taste it. Yeah
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