Monday, October 7, 2013

Den's Tea: Karigane (Gyokuro Kukicha), A tea Review

I can drink tea again! That was too long of a wait, and true I could have enjoyed tea the day after my surgery but everything always tastes really weird for a few days. I still have a decent amount of swelling and can barely open my mouth. let alone talk much, but drinking tea is easy to do with a partially opened mouth. I did not, however, drink the tea I am reviewing today, it has been in my log book for a bit and is ready to shine.

I want to hug my new teapot
A short time ago I ordered something I have wanted for a while, a lovely little Kyusu. The company I finally procured one from, Den's Tea also included a sample of September's featured tea, a perfect way to break in my new pot.
Love those colors!
Today we are experiencing something beautiful, a blend of emerald and jade colored leaves, Karigane (Gyokuro Kukicha). This very pretty tea is made from the stems and stalks of Gyokuro, the famed Jade Dew Japanese Green tea. For those who do not know, Kukicha is usually made from the stalks and stems of Sencha, and Gyokuro is thought of as one of the finest Japanese teas and it is certainly one of the priciest. I have never tried Gyokuro (I do have some on the way from Japan, exciting!) so I was excited to dip know, foot doesn't really work in this analogy, so tongue into this pool of tea. The aroma of this exceptionally visually pleasing tea is very sweet for a green tea and delightfully vegetal. The vegetal notes are that of artichoke, a touch of chestnut, and a mild underlying hint of kelp. I really love how mild the aroma of this tea is.
Time to officially break in the new pot! The leaves take on a hint of lime that mixes with notes of woodsy and herbaceous. It smells like stems! Picking up the aroma of stems and knowing, I am smelling stems, really put a smile on my face. I also detects notes of the beloved umami, which is exciting. The liquid once the leaves have been removed (or, once I have poured it out of my Kyusu) has a mixture of sweet vegetal and umami. I am not going to lie, the aroma of the infused leaves is making me salivate.
So beautifully pale!
The first thing I notice is umami goodness, I love that aspect of certain green teas, the savory umami taste is delicious and reminds me of eating certain seaweeds. There are also notes of chestnut that give the tea a bit of sweetness. As the tea cools the gentle sweetness becomes significantly sweeter and it masks the umami. The texture becomes almost creamy and it makes my mouth feel alive (juices like wine, I'm on the hunt I'm after you...sorry, 80s moment) I am amazed at how complex the flavor is for a tea that is so pale, more proof that looks can be deceiving when it comes to teas. I certainly cannot wait to try Gyokuro now.


  1. Sounds lovely! Keep up the reviews!!!!!! Drinking vicariously through you? hehe

    1. Hehe, vicarious drinking is fun! I think you would enjoy this one a lot.

  2. Glad you are feeling better!

    Magena22 (swap-bot)