Sunday, April 19, 2015

Yunomi & Nakamura-en: #01 Gyokuro Mecha, The Discovery, A Tea Review

Oh goody! One of those stupid headaches that won't go away has decided to crop up, I hate them because they make it so hard to think straight and see straight, plus I tend to get so dizzy. I have had them my whole life, they just crop up and stay for anywhere from a week to a few months, pretty sure they are just part of having Fibromyalgia, plus they run in the family, probably because we are so smart! Blah, tea helps though, I am not a 'tea for health' reasons kinda person, but tea works on these headaches better than any pain killer, so it is not just the caffeine (I lived off Excedrin as a teenager, my stomach still thanks me for that one) but possibly the play of caffeine and theanine? Or maybe it is the soothing taste, hot liquid acting as a vasodilator in my head, and the ritual of tea as a whole bringing me peace. Regardless of the reason, I am glad it brings my head a bit of a rest so I can do things, like write this blog!

Recently I recieved a surprise package from Yunomi with Nakamura-En's #01 Gyokuro Mecha, The Discovery inside. I do not remember requesting any samples to review lately, so maybe this came from their awesome Tea4Two program, whatever the reason for its arrival, it was very welcome because I had just run out of Gyokuro the other day. This particular Gyokuro is actually Mecha (no, not that kind of Mecha, sadly it is not a giant piloted robot, I am sad too) a tea that is basically the broken off tips and buds of the tea, this gives it a more robust taste and makes it cheaper than normal Gyokuro and high end Sencha. This also means that it is a bit cheaper, meaning if you are wanting to experiment with brewing Gyokuro the crazy leaf heavy traditional way or just try Gyokuro in general, it is a good introductory tea. I have to say, this might be the sweetest Gyokuro I have had the pleasure of sniffing (also such tiny leaves! must be careful to not inhale them) it is a blend if honey, freshly broken green grass and hay, and a chestnut and sweet pea finish. As I snuffled around in the tea leaves a bit longer, warming them up even more by breathing on them, delicate floral notes and a touch of kelp waft up from the emerald leaves.

Really, I should brew this in my Kyusu or pseudo-Houhin, but I always end up brewing Gyokuro in my glass steeping apparatus, because it is so pretty! The aroma of the now thoroughly soggy leaves is very green, like super green! Notes of grass and spinach, kelp and peas, and a tiny hint of chestnuts. It smells verdant, I see flashes of vibrant green in my mind as I sniff it. The liquid is light and sweet, and of course green, though it is no where as intense as the wet leaves. There are notes of honey and chestnut along with a strong grassy presence.

Holy soupy thickness! Oh man, that mouthfeel is something else, it does not coat the mouth, it paints it, it smothers it, it feels sensual like chocolate melting in the mouth, but less milky...and chocolaty, but a similar texture. The taste is super green, with a blend of spinach and grass at the first, then it goes on a mouth journey to asparagus and sweet peas, and at the finish we have chestnut and kelp. It blends savory and sweetness pretty perfectly. Speaking of chocolate, if you ever get the chance to mix really dark chocolate with Gyokuro, do it, it is an awesome pairing!

In the traditional style I went for a second steeping, jacking up the temperature and shortening the steeping time. It is safe to say that is luminous Hulk green tea is now a powerhouse of flavor, it is super savory with notes of kelp and cooked spinach, with a strong kale midtaste, this bitter green note pretty quickly fades to kelp and a touch of chestnut at the finish. It is pretty intense, in a good way, but be warned, do not go to the second steep lightly, be prepared with a spirit of steel!

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