This week, we got very lucky, not only because we had the chance to taste the 2019 harvest of a Gyokuro that we wanted to add to our selection for a long time, but also because we received a wonderful flat teapot. It was Sunday, a rainy one, an ideal moment to treat ourselves with a tea tasting session.
This Gyokuro is a very limited edition made by Koga Chagyo and is only available in a 5g bag. Year after year, it collects the top awards at the National Tea contest in its category. This year it made the second place. We feel of course lucky to be able to taste it, and each time we visit Koga Chagyo, we make sure to come back with this delicacy.
The fragrance upon opening the bag is a pure joy: a fresh aroma of citrus with an already strong hint of Umami. If you have ever visited a green tea factory during harvest time, you will recall that the taunting smell of the fresh leaves in the waiting containers is incredibly strong. Well, that's as close I can describe it.
To get a perfect taste of this exceptional tea, we first heated the teapot with hot water, drained it and delicately put the leaves inside to let them steam for a couple of minutes. In the meantime we prepared as little as 40ml of water, and let it cool down to 50C, which is the recommended temperature for a first brew of this delicate tea. Again, never ever put water over 60C on Gyokuro for the first brew, you will burn it and it will turn awfully bitter.
After the leaves could release their aroma and open up a bit, we gently poured the water into the teapot, and closed the lid for two loooong minutes. It was time to have a taste of this incredible beverage. I was not used to the shape of the flat pot, and since there is no filter on it, you need to adjust the exact position of the lid and inclination to have as few leaves as possible in your cup. A small one of course. I still need a bit of practice but was quite satisfied with this first try.
Joëlle and I drank the second brew quickly after the first, only a few seconds at 60C with a bit more water. The taste was completely different of course, as the different flavors were balancing themselves. In this case, my taste buds could enjoy a clear sweetness that lingered for a long time. We had to wait quite a bit before doing our third brew because of the caffeine rush. So, maybe waiting a couple of minutes more would have been safer :D But, hey, it was too tempting to wait anylonger.
After each brew we looked at the leaves, their texture and color.
Finally we put the leaves on a small plate, added some sea salt (we were out of Ponzu Sauce, which is even better !) and ate it as a salad, our son took care of most of it... of course.
This Gyokuro was a real treat, and we enjoyed our tasting session like an incredible wine during a luxury dinner course. It's a pure Yame product, with its strong Umami taste that lingers a long time in your mouth. Preparing it was really exciting, as we had to be careful at every step, but we enjoyed them as the aromas would change.
We feel honored to be able to add this exceptional Gyokuro to our other premium collection from Yame, along with SATORI and HIKARU. They are truly the ambassadors of Yame tea region that delivers everything you would expect from the King of all green teas.