Special Offer: Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro 2020

User avatar
pedant
Admin
Posts: 1060
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:35 am
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Tue Jul 21, 2020 11:56 pm

shipping refunds have been sent
User avatar
pedant
Admin
Posts: 1060
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:35 am
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Sun Jul 26, 2020 2:01 pm

everyone should be receiving their tea soon :mrgreen:

please feel free to post your thoughts on this tea here!

for your convenience, here is some info from Ippodo (shared via member @davidmarkglass):

Q: How do you suggest storing unopened tea?
Ippodo wrote:Yes, it's nice to keep tea low temperature when it's unopened. We recommend freezer more than refrigerator to keep unopened products. Please take out the tea from the freezer one day before your opening the package and make sure the temperature inside the package is becoming normal temperature before you open it to prevent the tea get wet by the gap of the temperature.
Q: What are the suggested brew parameters?
Ippodo wrote: 10g in 80mL @ 150°F for 90s in a preheated kyusu

This will produce a tasty cup of tea! However, if you brew with a little cooler water than the 150 degrees, I think you will unlock even more umami from these tea leaves.

For the second brew and third brew, use the same temperature water and the same amount of water, and brew with 0 seconds brewing time.*
Officially, we recommend up to 3 brews with all of our teas. Personally, I would rebrew the Premium Select Gyokuro many more times (7?), and for the 4th brew onwards, start gradually increasing the water temperature for each brew.Basically, I would keep brewing the tea as long as I like the flavor it is producing!
* personally, idk if i'd try 0s flash steeps, and i wonder if that was a typo. i will email Ippodo for clarification.
last year, these steep times gave good results: 90s, 90s, 3min, 6min, 15min, 3.5h, overnight
i also personally suggest 140°F instead of 150°F, but you can try 150°F or higher in later steeps if you like.

so, my overall suggestion:

10g in ~80mL @ 140°F (60°C) in a preheated kyusu
steep times: 90s, 90s, 3min, 6min, 15min, 3.5h, overnight
increase to 150°F (66°C) for the 4th steep and beyond
if you like, you can also have a look at last year's tasting thread. there's a lot of good info there:
Inaugural Group Tasting: Sinensis Yokkaichi & Ippodo Tokusen Gyokuro
User avatar
pedant
Admin
Posts: 1060
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:35 am
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:59 pm

Ippodo: Kyoto Main Store
Ippodo: Kyoto Main Store
Ippodo-Kyoto-Main-Store.jpg (168.29 KiB) Viewed 1427 times
ippodo-tokusen-gyo-hokujo.jpg
ippodo-tokusen-gyo-hokujo.jpg (125.95 KiB) Viewed 1427 times

i just had my first session with it. it's good this year :)
User avatar
Victoria
Admin
Posts: 2315
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Sun Jul 26, 2020 10:02 pm

Nice! So looking forward to trying it this year. Thanks for organizing this tasting @pedant 🌞🍃
polezaivsani
Posts: 85
Joined: Sun Oct 06, 2019 4:43 pm
Location: Kaliningrad, RU

Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:01 am

I've been rather unsuccessful looking to try this tea too, without the incurring the long logistics chains. Yet i've learned that it's available for preorder from their US store at https://ippodotea.com/collections/gyoku ... rrency=USD.
faj
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:45 am
Location: Quebec

Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:59 am

pedant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:59 pm
i just had my first session with it. it's good this year :)
Would you mind sharing a bit more details?

Also, may I ask about that teapot? Many details remind me of Hokujo's pots, but the clay seems different from what I remember seeing from him (maybe due to lighting or processing?).
User avatar
pedant
Admin
Posts: 1060
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:35 am
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:31 am

polezaivsani wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:01 am
i've learned that it's available for preorder from their US store at https://ippodotea.com/collections/gyoku ... rrency=USD.
interesting. i've never seen them offer it for sale on a web store before.
faj wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:59 am
pedant wrote:
Sun Jul 26, 2020 9:59 pm
i just had my first session with it. it's good this year :)
Would you mind sharing a bit more details?

Also, may I ask about that teapot? Many details remind me of Hokujo's pots, but the clay seems different from what I remember seeing from him (maybe due to lighting or processing?).
hi faj,

about the tea, it's not surprising that it's consistently good year after year because they blend for a good result. it's powerfully brothy, which i know all gyo is kind of known for, but this tea especially so.

as for how i brewed it, i followed the suggestions above, but note that the pot i used is 140mL.
for each steep, i used just enough water to cover the leaves. for the first couple of steeps, i only had the pot about half way full (~80mL). but as the leaves expanded, i was eventually filling the entire pot.

here are some more pics/details of the pot: viewtopic.php?p=3943#p3943
good eye, it is made by master Hokujo.

the clay is different. it's one of his nanban pots.
it takes him several times longer to make than his normal style, and he has to meticulously clean his tools and workspace before he makes a batch of them.
he shapes it more from the inside of the pot than the outside. in fact, he tries to touch the outside surface as little as possible. consequently, it is a bit thicker than his normal pots which are, imo, of legendary thinness.

it's a very nice pot, and i got it via ISOBE Asako. she is an art dealer and gallery owner in Tokoname. it's possible that she still has some left if you're interested.

here is another example of his nanban work that sold some years ago on Artistic Nippon: https://artisticnippon.com/product/toko ... anban.html
this particular pot was purchased by @KyaraZen. he seems to love that pot and has posted about it many times on his IG. :D

a copy/paste from a summary of tokoname terms TF is working on:
Nanban (Foreign style, lit. southern barbarian) [南蛮 or なんばん]

Nanban literally means "southern barbarians" and originally refers to the people of South/Southeast China. It seems to also refer to trade with Europeans in the 16th and 17th centuries, so perhaps more generally, it refers to foreign influence.

Ceramics imported from South China, Vietnam, the Philippines, etc. during this time were referred to as nanban-yaki. Nonuniform in appearance, these ceramics were prized by Japanese tea masters of the era.

Over time, the definition of Nanban has become unclear, but generally, it means inspired by foreign pottery.
In Tokoname, Nanban refers to yakimono with a coarse surface.


Further reading:
https://ja.wikipedia.org/wiki/南蛮焼
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanban_art
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nanban_trade
faj
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:45 am
Location: Quebec

Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:46 am

pedant wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:31 am
here are some more pics/details of the pot: viewtopic.php?p=3943#p3943
good eye, it is made by master Hokujo.
I do not think I have that keen of an eye : I own a Hokujo teapot that, while different in size, shape and clay, shares striking resemblance in several details. I would have been really surprised if that pot had been by someone else...
pedant wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:31 am
it's a very nice pot, and i got it via ISOBE Asako. she is an art dealer and gallery owner in Tokoname. it's possible that she still has some left if you're interested.
In terms of making tea, do you notice a difference compared to his "standard" clay?
pedant wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:31 am
a copy/paste from a summary of tokoname terms TF is working on:
Thanks for answering the question I did not have time to ask!
User avatar
pedant
Admin
Posts: 1060
Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 4:35 am
Location: Chicago
Contact:

Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:12 pm

faj wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 11:46 am
In terms of making tea, do you notice a difference compared to his "standard" clay?
no. i just like the look and feel, and i appreciate the effort that went into making it.
User avatar
Victoria
Admin
Posts: 2315
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:16 pm

pedant wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:31 am
polezaivsani wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:01 am
i've learned that it's available for preorder from their US store at https://ippodotea.com/collections/gyoku ... rrency=USD.
interesting. i've never seen them offer it for sale on a web store before.
Haha, that’s a first. I think TF enthusiasm must have inspired Ippodo to sell a few Tokusen packs online :) . It’s $20 more than our group buy for 30g pack, and shipping from NYC last time wasn’t cheap.
User avatar
Victoria
Admin
Posts: 2315
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Wed Jul 29, 2020 1:14 pm

Victoria wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 12:16 pm
pedant wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 10:31 am
polezaivsani wrote:
Mon Jul 27, 2020 6:01 am
i've learned that it's available for preorder from their US store at https://ippodotea.com/collections/gyoku ... rrency=USD.
interesting. i've never seen them offer it for sale on a web store before.
Haha, that’s a first. I think TF enthusiasm must have inspired Ippodo to sell a few Tokusen packs online :) . It’s $20 more than our group buy for 30g pack, and shipping from NYC last time wasn’t cheap.
Looks like their global site has Tokusen listed as well, at Kyoto price https://shop.ippodo-tea.co.jp/kyoto/sho ... gcd=441032

I just opened a Tokusen pack, after letting it acclimatize 24hrs, smells very green! I’ll let it breath a little before trying.
User avatar
Victoria
Admin
Posts: 2315
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Fri Jul 31, 2020 3:26 pm

Tasting this years Tokusen gyokuro now. Savory salivation, an umami bomb. Wow, so deliciously delectable; soft, smooth, rich, thick umami coats the mouth. Salivation is immediate on upper palate and tongue. Sweet, almondy, savory vegetal notes of asparagus. So good again, just as in past years. Decided to steep as before 10g/80ml/140f/90sec, 90, 3min, 8, 19, overnight. I increased temp after 3rd steep to 145F.
faj
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:45 am
Location: Quebec

Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:13 pm

First session today.

4g in 40ml preheated shiboridashi for 90 seconds. I went with a ratio a bit lower than the vendor recommendation because 4g is the usual amount of leaf I typically infuse with other gyokuros, and since other parameters were basically already my "default", that allowed me to make a "fair" comparison for my first try.

Kind of "in the middle" in terms of aromatic profile (nothing unique, but nothing out of place). Maybe to be expected given it is a blend? Very strong, persistent umami, some bite on the tong. The most notable aspect of that first infusion is how long the tea "works" in the mouth.

Second infusion lasted for 120s though I intended 90s because I was distracted. I found it had a lot bite, still healthy umami. Third infusion I kind of lost track of time, again, for too long to admit :oops: , and the result was quite similar to the second one. Fourth infusion : less bite, improving balance. Fifth and sixth infusions (increasing temperature) were probably the best along with the first, as the tea still had significant aromatic presence but a more delicate mouth feel. I steeped a seventh and last infusion, which was still good but weakening.

Looking back, infusions 2 through 4 probably lasted too long given my preferences. I probably would have gotten at least one more worthwhile infusion out of the leaves if I had shortened those. This gyokuro sure has a lot of stamina.

I will probably wait for a few days to a week before trying it again, in case this softens the bite and improves the balance, which I have experienced with another gyokuro in the recent past. I am curious to try shorter infusions and/or cooler water. I will also, without a doubt, try it infused more like a sencha (75C, 4g/100ml or less, 30s for the first couple of infusions), an approach I have stumbled upon by mistake, but which has yielded very different but wonderful sessions for me on many occasion with other gyokuros.
User avatar
Victoria
Admin
Posts: 2315
Joined: Sat Sep 30, 2017 3:33 pm
Location: Santa Monica, CA
Contact:

Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:35 pm

faj wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:13 pm
First session today.

4g in 40ml preheated shiboridashi for 90 seconds. I went with a ratio a bit lower than the vendor recommendation because 4g is the usual amount of leaf I typically infuse with other gyokuros, and since other parameters were basically already my "default", that allowed me to make a "fair" comparison for my first try.

Kind of "in the middle" in terms of aromatic profile (nothing unique, but nothing out of place). Maybe to be expected given it is a blend? Very strong, persistent umami, some bite on the tong. The most notable aspect of that first infusion is how long the tea "works" in the mouth.

Second infusion lasted for 120s though I intended 90s because I was distracted. I found it had a lot bite, still healthy umami. Third infusion I kind of lost track of time, again, for too long to admit :oops: , and the result was quite similar to the second one. Fourth infusion : less bite, improving balance. Fifth and sixth infusions (increasing temperature) were probably the best along with the first, as the tea still had significant aromatic presence but a more delicate mouth feel. I steeped a seventh and last infusion, which was still good but weakening.

Looking back, infusions 2 through 4 probably lasted too long given my preferences. I probably would have gotten at least one more worthwhile infusion out of the leaves if I had shortened those. This gyokuro sure has a lot of stamina.

I will probably wait for a few days to a week before trying it again, in case this softens the bite and improves the balance, which I have experienced with another gyokuro in the recent past. I am curious to try shorter infusions and/or cooler water. I will also, without a doubt, try it infused more like a sencha (75C, 4g/100ml or less, 30s for the first couple of infusions), an approach I have stumbled upon by mistake, but which has yielded very different but wonderful sessions for me on many occasion with other gyokuros.
Curious what temperature were you using for your first try? I highly recommend beginning with vendor general recs in your case 5g/40ml (just cover leaf)/140-150f/90sec, 90, 3... or /90sec, flash, flash, 3min... The bite you experience, is that bitterness or fresh green notes? On 4th steep I increased temp from 60c to 63c and got a very slight bitterness, so subtle it was pleasant. I have not found aroma to be dependent on single origin or blends, it just depends on the gyokuro, the vessel brewed in, and the moment. Using Chrystal Geyser Olancha, Ca 120-150 TDS works well with this gyokuro.
faj
Posts: 454
Joined: Mon Oct 14, 2019 6:45 am
Location: Quebec

Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:45 pm

Victoria wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:35 pm
Curious what temperature were you using for your first try?
60C
Victoria wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:35 pm
The bite you experience, is that bitterness or fresh green notes?
I would say bitterness, but not the kind you get when using too hot water. I also do not mean that the tea was bitter in absolute terms, but more that the level of "bite" made it not entirely well integrated with the whole.
Victoria wrote:
Fri Jul 31, 2020 6:35 pm
Using Chrystal Geyser Olancha, Ca 120-150 TDS works well with this gyokuro.
The water I use is listed as 85 TDS, mostly HCO3 and calcium.
Post Reply