Gyokuro ~ Eli

Warning, fangirl gushing ahead…

After writing so many of these posts, eventually at some point if a vendor chooses to simply call their tea “gyokuro”, I can’t really let that be the only title of the post as it would yield some awful ambiguity on my end (even if WordPress, which is based on a dating scheme allows it). I’m still working out the best titling schema. At one point I used a tilde to separate the tea from the vendor. There’s also the solution of just using parenthesis but somehow it doesn’t look as nice? What do you think? I’m going to make this a poll (and see if anyone actually votes this time).

Usually with gyokuro, the raw tea smells really wonderful but after brewing, the result is less than one would hope for. I’m pleased to say such is not the case with Eli’s. Eli’s Gyokuro is hands down, the most immaculately aromatic tea I’ve ever brewed. If I close my eyes and inhale this tea, my mind immediately returned to sitting down to temple breakfast at Mangan-ji Tendai Mountain retreat in Tochigi Prefecture. Someone who grew up in Japan might feel like they were drinking tea back in the Taisho or something. It’s really a phenomenal, distinctly Japanese sencha scent. I’m not sure if I’ve ever had a Japanese tea with an aroma of this caliber before, and it makes me really excited.  As with many gyokuro, the taste ends up somewhere between a sencha and a matcha–Gyokuro has all the caffeine (i’m going to be so wired for the next hour and then crash so bad xD) and antioxidants (almost more than I can handle) of a matcha and all the sweet crispness of a sencha. Eli’s Gyokuro doesn’t disappoint on either end. In texture, Eli’s Gyokuro is replete with vegetal grit and i can’t keep myself from swishing it around in my mouth. In flavor, it’s one of the best Gyokuro I’ve had, easily fitting somewhere in the top three? Eli classifies it as a “Rare” and I can tell this is no idle boast; the brew time is listed as being 1-1.5 minutes @ 183 degrees F. Even for a professional using a Zoujirushi and tetsubin, this is not an easy temperature to arrive at. Note: Eli doesn’t get marked down for that, quite the opposite. ;)

Here’s what Gyokuro has to say about itself:

Flavor: a grassy chlorophyll. This Japanese style Green tea has a deep color because of the high amount of chlorophyll. The [tea plant] fields are covered with bamboo mats and cotton for 3 weeks before harvesting. Organic, rare, and great for multiple steeps.

So, it’s even organic–something unheard of with this level of taste and aroma. Satisfaction… umm 97%?! Seriously the only way I can find to score this tea down is that it’s probably still available if you beg Eli. I’m going to make the bold, pseudo-authoritarian claim that Eli’s Gyokuro is the most exquisite Japanese tea one can buy in Michigan.

Sorry folks, I’m not giving this one away–it’s a keeper. You’ll have to find your way to Birmingham if you want to try it. Eli, I love you. Can I have your love child?

  1. Aroma – 99
  2. Taste – 98
  3. Texture – 97
  4. Spunk – 98
  5. Rarity – 94 (Gyokuro isn’t that rare, even in the States, but I’ve had dozens and none are to this level)
  6. Availability – 97 (I don’t know if it was ever on the website)
  7. Appearance – 96
  8. Organic/Fair trade – 96

Mean score – 96.87 Rounds to 97. 0.0

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