Gyokuro recommendations

Non-oxidized tea
t-curious
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 1:31 pm

I bought some gyokuro three years ago from Den's and O-Cha. It's been in my freezer since then. I'm drinking it and it doesn't taste bad, but I know it's not optimal :o :lol:

I'd like to delve into gyokuro more and I'm looking for specific recommendations. Teas that people have tried. Price wise, I'd like to spend around $25-$30 for 100 grams. I guess that's mid-range? I'm not wedded to any particular vendor.

Thanks for any responses.
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Chip
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:32 pm

New year, I base this on purchases made late last year.

When buying Gyukuro, I look at "value" more than "price".

For a few dollars more at 35.10$, Gyokuhō from O-Cha is really quite good for the price. Brewed right, it is like a 40-50$ Gyokuro. An excellent value.

The Fujitsubo (sp?) is around a dollar more and also quite good and a good value.

For more $$$, their Yume (not the Yame) is really good. It is around 50 bucks but better than some Gyokuro I have had for 70-100$. Again, a very good value.
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Chip
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:35 pm

... having said all that, I personally tend to focus on sencha until Winter when my interest naturally begins to lean towards gyokuro.

I consider this a ... logical approach since I want my sencha fresh and my gyokuro aged.

YMMV ...
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Chip
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:39 pm

Been years since I bought it, but Kevin always recommends the Yame at around 25$. It was not what I wanted in a gyokuro, but it is quite popular.
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Chip
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:42 pm

Also been a while, the Yamashito (I have to look up the spelling) collection from Maiko has good gyokuro at 5ish price points.
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Shine Magical
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:01 pm

I would say you are looking for low range... good gyokuro can get very pricey. Aside from aged puer, I think gyokuro is one of the most expensive tea types.

https://kettl.co/collections/gyokuro-gr ... ku-gyokuro
This is my standard "daily" gyokuro. It's $32, but for 50g. But I personally don't enjoy drinking anything of lower quality than this and most of the gyokuro I order costs more than this. If your budget is flexible, give this one a try.
t-curious
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:17 pm

Chip wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 2:35 pm
... having said all that, I personally tend to focus on sencha until Winter when my interest naturally begins to lean towards gyokuro.

I consider this a ... logical approach since I want my sencha fresh and my gyokuro aged.

YMMV ...
Thanks for the recommendations and advice @Chip

The main reason I'm leaning towards gyokuro is the theanine. I have a bit of a caffeine issue and at least with matcha and the gyokuro I've got, I don't have a caffeine problem. The calming quality is nice also :D It's my understanding sencha doesn't have as much theanine as matcha and gyokuro, but I could be wrong...
t-curious
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:21 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:01 pm
I would say you are looking for low range... good gyokuro can get very pricey. Aside from aged puer, I think gyokuro is one of the most expensive tea types.

https://kettl.co/collections/gyokuro-gr ... ku-gyokuro
This is my standard "daily" gyokuro. It's $32, but for 50g. But I personally don't enjoy drinking anything of lower quality than this and most of the gyokuro I order costs more than this. If your budget is flexible, give this one a try.
Thanks @Shine Magical

ATM, that price point would be more of a treat than a daily for me. A treat is good every now and then though :D
chofmann
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:47 pm

Shine Magical wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:01 pm
I would say you are looking for low range... good gyokuro can get very pricey. Aside from aged puer, I think gyokuro is one of the most expensive tea types.

https://kettl.co/collections/gyokuro-gr ... ku-gyokuro
This is my standard "daily" gyokuro. It's $32, but for 50g. But I personally don't enjoy drinking anything of lower quality than this and most of the gyokuro I order costs more than this. If your budget is flexible, give this one a try.
The Shizuku Gyokuro from Kettl is quite good. Have you had the Mare? :Drool:
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Shine Magical
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 4:24 pm

chofmann wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:47 pm
Shine Magical wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 3:01 pm
I would say you are looking for low range... good gyokuro can get very pricey. Aside from aged puer, I think gyokuro is one of the most expensive tea types.

https://kettl.co/collections/gyokuro-gr ... ku-gyokuro
This is my standard "daily" gyokuro. It's $32, but for 50g. But I personally don't enjoy drinking anything of lower quality than this and most of the gyokuro I order costs more than this. If your budget is flexible, give this one a try.
The Shizuku Gyokuro from Kettl is quite good. Have you had the Mare? :Drool:
I haven’t had a chance yet, it was always sold out when I’ve been ready to order. I am halfway through the competition grade gyo atm and just finished off a bag of Dento Hon though 😁
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Baisao
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:51 pm

@t-curious, excellent introduction, btw. Welcome to the group.

I am fond of Thes du Japon as a seller, not that the others mentioned here are bad. The thing I like about this seller is that there is more focus placed on single estate and single cultivar teas, so they are not blended. There's a place for blended and unblended teas. I enjoy exploring Japanese teas by cultivar.

Unlike a lot of tea/beer/wine/coffee shops, the descriptions given are accurate. If Florent, the owner, says there's an aroma of something, it'll be there. The same applies to his parameters. A lot of shops give silly parameters but his are always spot on. Both of these things really impress me.

Florent tends to brew his gyokuro strong (4-5 grams in 30-40 ml of water) so the broth is thick.

It looks like he only has two cultivars for gyokuro at the moment: Samidori (not the same as Saemidori) and Goku. I've had both as sencha and the Goku impressed me more for its floral characteristics, though the Samidori was nice for its longevity.

https://www.thes-du-japon.com/index.php ... Path=130_4

Cheers!
t-curious
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 6:56 pm

Baisao wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 5:51 pm
t-curious, excellent introduction, btw. Welcome to the group.

I am fond of Thes du Japon as a seller, not that the others mentioned here are bad. The thing I like about this seller is that there is more focus placed on single estate and single cultivar teas, so they are not blended. There's a place for blended and unblended teas. I enjoy exploring Japanese teas by cultivar.

Unlike a lot of tea/beer/wine/coffee shops, the descriptions given are accurate. If Florent, the owner, says there's an aroma of something, it'll be there. The same applies to his parameters. A lot of shops give silly parameters but his are always spot on. Both of these things really impress me.

Florent tends to brew his gyokuro strong (4-5 grams in 30-40 ml of water) so the broth is thick.

It looks like he only has two cultivars for gyokuro at the moment: Samidori (not the same as Saemidori) and Goku. I've had both as sencha and the Goku impressed me more for its floral characteristics, though the Samidori was nice for its longevity.

https://www.thes-du-japon.com/index.php ... Path=130_4

Cheers!
Glad you liked the introduction @Baisao :) And thanks for the recommendations :D
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Victoria
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Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:30 pm

With gyokuro I typically like to wait until mid-fall since it rests for at least 3+ months after being processed in the spring. This year though I’ve been craving it earlier so jump started my purchases in February. Each vendor tailors their selections to their personal preferences. Some are lighter, clearer, bolder, brothier, milder... by exploring several different vendors mentioned you might find a few that match your own style.

The top best gyokuro I’ve had is Ippodo’s premium gyokuro only sold in their Kyoto store for a limited time in the fall ‘Ippodo's Tokusen Gyokuro’, second their Tenka-ichi and Ippoen were very good.

O-cha’s top priced selections I liked the best; Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi, Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro, Yame Gyokuro.

Maiko has award winning gyokuro, but it’s been a few years since I had any of their selections.

If you are looking for a ‘calming focus’ in tea I would recommend Taiwan oolong. I find Japanese greens pretty high energy and less calming than oolong.
t-curious
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Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:38 am

Victoria wrote:
Wed Jul 10, 2019 9:30 pm
With gyokuro I typically like to wait until mid-fall since it rests for at least 3+ months after being processed in the spring. This year though I’ve been craving it earlier so jump started my purchases in February. Each vendor tailors their selections to their personal preferences. Some are lighter, clearer, bolder, brothier, milder... by exploring several different vendors mentioned you might find a few that match your own style.

The top best gyokuro I’ve had is Ippodo’s premium gyokuro only sold in their Kyoto store for a limited time in the fall ‘Ippodo's Tokusen Gyokuro’, second their Tenka-ichi and Ippoen were very good.

O-cha’s top priced selections I liked the best; Uji Gyokuro Yume no Ukihashi, Okabe Shizuoka Gyokuro, Yame Gyokuro.

Maiko has award winning gyokuro, but it’s been a few years since I had any of their selections.

If you are looking for a ‘calming focus’ in tea I would recommend Taiwan oolong. I find Japanese greens pretty high energy and less calming than oolong.
Thanks for the advice and recommendations @Victoria :) I'm specifically looking for energy/focus without harsh caffeine side effects. Matcha and gyokuro seem to do that for me.
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Victoria
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Thu Jul 11, 2019 9:28 am

t-curious wrote:
Thu Jul 11, 2019 6:38 am
Thanks for the advice and recommendations Victoria :) I'm specifically looking for energy/focus without harsh caffeine side effects. Matcha and gyokuro seem to do that for me.
Yes for energy/focus Matcha is very effective. Zen Buddhist monks use Matcha to extend their meditative practice so they don’t fall asleep. In my experience Gyokuro is calmer though, probably because it goes through additional processing steps and storage.

I realize you were also asking about inexpensive Gyokuro which I can’t recommend, it’s kind of like asking for an inexpensive Leica. A lot more work and time goes into growing and producing Gyokuro; selection of seed and cultivar, extra fertilizer, 20-30+ day shading, hand harvesting of first flush young buds, very careful steaming and hand kneading, crumpling, drying and sorting of leaves with results in Aracha, drying again and sorting into Tencha (Tencha is used to make Matcha). At this point in the process additional hand sorting and rolling of leaves is done with only the finest grade selected to make Gyokuro. The leaves are dried one more time to enhance flavor and extend storage. In the final stage the needles are aged for 2-3+months in cool storage, it is now called Gyokuro. A lot of skill and dedication goes into making Gyokuro.

An alternative, which is delicious in its own right, is Kabuse Sencha. It is also shaded, but for two weeks, and doesn’t go through additional fine tuning of sorting, drying and storage of Gyokuro so is a more affordable option. This is what I have been enjoying for the past few weeks, an award winning Kabusencha by Birouen Tea House. I like it so much that I bought the last two bags. This company Kagoshima Seicha produces other high quality Japanese teas although availability outside of Japan is limited.
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