Wednesday, June 16, 2010

The best gyokuro by appearance??

Hello, everyone! How are you today? We have the rainy season before summer, which lasts about a month. It just started this week. But today it’s sunny, a break from the rainy days. It will be very hot and humid today. I hope you taker, and have a nice day!

I had a chance to see many different teas at the meeting I joined this weekend. There were three gyokuro in the selection. We had to decide the best gyokuro out of the three. It was blind testing. There was no information about the breed, producer, or production region. We just checked the leaves and brewed tea by watching, smelling and tasting.

Appearance of the leaves
Tea “O” had a profound color and luster, and I thought “O” was the best in the appearance. Tea “N” was a little yellowish and dryer on the surface, and I thought “N” was not good.

Color of the brewed tea
Tea “O” had the typical whitish gyokuro color, and I thought “O” was the best in the color.

Aroma of the brewed tea
“O” and “P” smelled nice to me. Good gyokuro should had the smell called “Oika” which is something similar to the smell of green laver.

Taste of the brewed tea
Despite the good looking leaves, Tea “O” was not so good in the taste. “O” was kind of weak. “P” had a matured favor, but not great. “P” was not bad, just okay.

<<< Click here for the large picture

I could not decide which one is the best. I was kind of leaning toward to “O” because of the good looking leaves. The experts who attended this meeting also could not find the crucial advantage in any teas, or nail down the best. There was a striking comment that one of the experts said in the end of the meeting. It was “At many tea fairs, people tend to concern much about the appearance of tea, and involuntarily give better points on good looking teas. So it’s important that you really try to see the actual aroma and taste.” I realized that I had the preconceived opinion by the appearance.

We had another chance to taste the three gyokuro later again. This time the teas were repaired with warm water, like the practical brewing. (Boiled water is usually used at official tea tasting) I was sure this time, “O” had the rich umami and well balanced flavor. It was very good, and I voted “O” for the best gyokuro. Eventually, “O” was selected for the best, and the good looking tea was the best tea this tea meeting. But can you really select a great tea by the aroma and taste? I thought I want to experience more tea tastings.

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