Inaugural Group Tasting: Sinensis Yokkaichi & Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro

.m.
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Mon Nov 18, 2019 8:06 am

phyllsheng wrote:
Sun Nov 17, 2019 4:31 pm
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!
That sounds lovely and intriguing as well.
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Victoria
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Mon Nov 18, 2019 10:12 pm

I went ahead and added more leaf to water with Sinensis Yokkaichi, to see what @davidmarkglass and @There is no self were enjoying. Well, it was deliciously rich, still fruity, but now thicker. After an overnight 4th steep, boy it was awsomely super brothy, sweet, and elegant.

10.4g/130ml/108f/2.30min w Chrystal Geyser Olancha in preheated Tani Seiuemon 150ml Shigiraki shiboridashi.

Sinensis Yokkaichi Gyokuro w Tani Seiuemon Shigaraki Shiboridashi DSC00023_.jpg
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debunix
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:16 am

Looks delicious but wow, that's a lot of tea to enjoy at once.
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Victoria
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 1:40 pm

debunix wrote:
Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:16 am
Looks delicious but wow, that's a lot of tea to enjoy at once.
Lol, did you try Ippodo’s yet? They recommend 10g/ 80ml (3oz)/ 140F (60C)/ 90sec. It is really brothy rich delicious their way :)
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debunix
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Tue Nov 19, 2019 10:40 pm

Not yet. Almost done with a month of rushing about from hither to yon with little time to relax properly with such fne tea.
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Bok
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Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:08 pm

Side note: Was in Kyoto last week, also paid a visit to the Ippodo shop, very nice looking premises. The large tea urns and canisters are beautiful - but that is about it what is to see in it, the offer on sale is the same no more, no less than the website.

The Tokusen still seemed to be available, unless I go the label wrong and it was another special edition tea? Not the 50g canister, but the 30g sachet. Anyways, still nice to see. Gonna write a few other observations on Kyoto in another thread. Just this for now: tea bushes grow all over the city, in almost each temple, park and random garden.
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pizzapotamus
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Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 pm

Bok wrote:
Thu Nov 21, 2019 7:08 pm
Side note: Was in Kyoto last week, also paid a visit to the Ippodo shop, very nice looking premises. The large tea urns and canisters are beautiful - but that is about it what is to see in it, the offer on sale is the same no more, no less than the website.

The Tokusen still seemed to be available, unless I go the label wrong and it was another special edition tea? Not the 50g canister, but the 30g sachet. Anyways, still nice to see. Gonna write a few other observations on Kyoto in another thread. Just this for now: tea bushes grow all over the city, in almost each temple, park and random garden.
When I was at Ippodo a month ago they told me that come November they'd have a Tokusen sencha so that was probably what you saw. I'd have thought the gyo needed more time to rest and as such the sencha would be released first, but what do I know?

Finally got a chance to try the sinensis, went with the initially recommended 6g/4oz - 108F - 2min,2min etc. Out of the bag it smelled heavenly and brewed it was well balanced and mellow, a bit too mellow for my tastes honestly. After the first steep turned out light I figured the 2nd would have more of a punch seeing as it's so long and I do believe the 2nd steep was touch stronger but to my surprise things stayed rather consistent, I suppose that's from the temp being so low. Also as far as the temperature goes lukewarm wasn't really doing it for me when it came to drinking, that's hardly the fault of the tea but on a cold and miserable day where I'd not had enough sleep I don't think I was in the right space for this. Thankfully there's 44g left to try again :)
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Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:02 pm

pizzapotamus wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 pm
Finally got a chance to try the sinensis, went with the initially recommended 6g/4oz - 108F - 2min,2min etc. Out of the bag it smelled heavenly and brewed it was well balanced and mellow, a bit too mellow for my tastes honestly. After the first steep turned out light I figured the 2nd would have more of a punch seeing as it's so long and I do believe the 2nd steep was touch stronger but to my surprise things stayed rather consistent, I suppose that's from the temp being so low. Also as far as the temperature goes lukewarm wasn't really doing it for me when it came to drinking, that's hardly the fault of the tea but on a cold and miserable day where I'd not had enough sleep I don't think I was in the right space for this. Thankfully there's 44g left to try again :)
Yes, I’ve settled on more leaf with Sinensis but kept temperature cool at 6g/75ml (2.5oz)/108F/2.30 min. It’s richer, brothier and more flavorful into 4 steeps with more leaf. I haven’t tried 10g/80ml like I’m using with Ippodo though, I think this gyokuro is more elegant and lighter in character than Ippodo so don’t want to push so much. What water are you using?
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pizzapotamus
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Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:07 pm

Victoria wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:02 pm
pizzapotamus wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 pm
Finally got a chance to try the sinensis, went with the initially recommended 6g/4oz - 108F - 2min,2min etc. Out of the bag it smelled heavenly and brewed it was well balanced and mellow, a bit too mellow for my tastes honestly. After the first steep turned out light I figured the 2nd would have more of a punch seeing as it's so long and I do believe the 2nd steep was touch stronger but to my surprise things stayed rather consistent, I suppose that's from the temp being so low. Also as far as the temperature goes lukewarm wasn't really doing it for me when it came to drinking, that's hardly the fault of the tea but on a cold and miserable day where I'd not had enough sleep I don't think I was in the right space for this. Thankfully there's 44g left to try again :)
Yes, I’ve settled on more leaf with Sinensis but kept temperature cool at 6g/75ml (2.5oz)/108F/2.30 min. It’s richer, brothier and more flavorful into 4 steeps with more leaf. I haven’t tried 10g/80ml like I’m using with Ippodo though, I think this gyokuro is more elegant and lighter in character than Ippodo so don’t want to push so much. What water are you using?
Good quality well water that is slightly hard, from an old measurement the stats I happen to have on it were - pH 7.6, hardness 74ppm, sodium 18.4mg/L, no appreciable sulfate, iron, or manganese. No TDS measurement to hand but I guess with there being nothing else of note in there it wouldn't likely be too much more than hardness+sodium? As for bottled water let's just say I have philosophical objections that aren't going to change :)
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Victoria
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Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:36 pm

pizzapotamus wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 2:07 pm
Victoria wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 1:02 pm
pizzapotamus wrote:
Fri Nov 22, 2019 12:08 pm
Finally got a chance to try the sinensis, went with the initially recommended 6g/4oz - 108F - 2min,2min etc. Out of the bag it smelled heavenly and brewed it was well balanced and mellow, a bit too mellow for my tastes honestly. After the first steep turned out light I figured the 2nd would have more of a punch seeing as it's so long and I do believe the 2nd steep was touch stronger but to my surprise things stayed rather consistent, I suppose that's from the temp being so low. Also as far as the temperature goes lukewarm wasn't really doing it for me when it came to drinking, that's hardly the fault of the tea but on a cold and miserable day where I'd not had enough sleep I don't think I was in the right space for this. Thankfully there's 44g left to try again :)
Yes, I’ve settled on more leaf with Sinensis but kept temperature cool at 6g/75ml (2.5oz)/108F/2.30 min. It’s richer, brothier and more flavorful into 4 steeps with more leaf. I haven’t tried 10g/80ml like I’m using with Ippodo though, I think this gyokuro is more elegant and lighter in character than Ippodo so don’t want to push so much. What water are you using?
Good quality well water that is slightly hard, from an old measurement the stats I happen to have on it were - pH 7.6, hardness 74ppm, sodium 18.4mg/L, no appreciable sulfate, iron, or manganese. No TDS measurement to hand but I guess with there being nothing else of note in there it wouldn't likely be too much more than hardness+sodium? As for bottled water let's just say I have philosophical objections that aren't going to change :)
Your water sounds perfect for this gyokuro. Similar to what I’ve been using. I agree with you, I’d prefer not to use bottled water, but my city keeps changing its water source when local wells get too low, so it’s a crap shoot if the water will be good with tea or not depending on source each week.

Crystal Geyser, Alpine Spring (by CG Roxane Olancha, CA)
http://www.crystalgeyserplease.com/docs ... lancha.pdf
TDS 120-150, pH 7.0-7.6, Alkalinity 58-67, Harness 50-65, Calcium 17-22, Magnesium 1.3-2.4, Calcium 17-22, Magnesium 1.3-1.8
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Bok
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Mon Nov 25, 2019 7:44 am

Still working on the last bits of my Gyokuru tasting range, again a Asada En Temomi. I find those Asada En much better and palatable than the Tokusen. Anyone ever had these? I pushed it a bit as well in terms of temperature and they can take a much higher heat without turning bitter. Again, a powerful Gaoshan-identical aftertaste, which was completely absent in any of the ippodo Teas I have sampled. Seems to be a feature of organic, single origin Gyokuru?

Anyways, this kind of tea keeps growing on me.
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There is no self
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Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:42 pm

Followed Victoria's advice and went with 6g and 42-50°C. I used Acqua San Bernardo, which, whilst not perfect, was definitely an improvement. Still a lot of umami but not as overwhelming as before. More grassy notes and definitely something sweeter, especially in the last infusion.
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Tue Nov 26, 2019 12:29 pm

There is no self wrote:
Mon Nov 25, 2019 4:42 pm
Followed Victoria's advice and went with 6g and 42-50°C. I used Acqua San Bernardo, which, whilst not perfect, was definitely an improvement. Still a lot of umami but not as overwhelming as before. More grassy notes and definitely something sweeter, especially in the last infusion.
Glad to hear you are getting sweeter notes since you are using cooler water. It’s so interesting to fool around with proportions of gram leaf :ml water :temp water :time steeping, and then the type of water used, vessel steeped in, to cup served in. Add to that one’s physical constitution that day, and state of mind, and well each session will be a unique experience. No two alike 🍃.
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Sun Jan 05, 2020 5:24 pm

Had an umami rich brothy session just now with Sinensis Yokkaichi. I really enjoy the baked bread dry leaf aroma coming from the pre-heated kyusu. Tachi Masaki's shigaraki kyusu pairs nicely with this gyokuro, adding just a little thickness to broth. 8g/100ml/108f/2.30min Chrystal Gyser Sierra Nevada Mnts, Olancha, Ca

DSC0305_Sinensis Yokkaichi Gyokuro shigaraki Tachi Masaki_sm.jpg
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Victoria
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Wed Jan 08, 2020 4:34 pm

Savoring the last of Ippodo’s Tokusen Gyokuro. The flavors didn’t degrade at all, even though it’s been close to three months since opening the pack. Since Gyokuro is aged at least +-6 months, if sealed and stored properly, it won’t degrade as fast as a very fresh Sincha. I am blown away by how umami rich it is, with such strong salivation and lingering flavors. Given my bitter soggy mess this morning with end of bag blend fiasco, this is a real high note. Wow. Really expansive in the mouth, moving up into the head and forehead. Strong lingering salivation is a special aspect of quality gyokuro. Was trying to further identify flavor nuances so read through a few posts here that I thought I’d highlight;
Frisbeehead wrote:
Sat Oct 12, 2019 8:26 pm
Inaugural session with the Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro. Using a Hokujo shiboridashi, ~40ml. Following the parameters recommended by the producer, which turns out to be 5g/40ml shiboridashi and 140F water cooled down from boiling using a Hokujo yuzamashi.

1: 90 seconds
- Thick, milky texture that coats the entire inside of my mouth. Powerful umami, along with salt (thinking salted butter), slight bit of mineral. The aroma of the leaves reminds me of the damp summer woods around the base of a few mountains I visited in Sichuan, China. Ridiculously long aftertaste.

2: 90 seconds
- Texture has lightened up a bit, yet still milky and smooth all around my mouth. Savory seaweed aftertaste still sticks around for a very long time. Mineral taste has decreased a bit, and I notice some very slight astringency. A calming sensation has started to spread throughout my body with this steep, in contrast to the more intense stimulation I get with sencha. Pete mentioned listening to Coltrane while drinking this gyokuro, and I can absolutely see why. Jazz would pair excellently with this gyokuro.

3: 3 min.
- At this point, the tea liquor has the perfect texture in my opinion. It still has that base milky smoothness, without being overwhelmingly so (like cream). Still has a little astringency, which balances nicely with the sweetness up front that I'm starting to get as well as the umami. All the flavors are very well-balanced in this steep.

Gallery of my first session with the Ippodo Gyokuro:
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.
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!
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