Friday, February 28, 2014

I tried brewing gyokuro in different mixtures

Turning-point temperature that encourage extracting bitterness
The water temperature was the first aspect that I focused on for brewing our gyokuro, Seiho.   I tried brewing it in three different temperatures, 40,45 and 50℃ (104,113 and 122℉) water.
 40℃: No bitterness at all, pleasing sweetness only
 45℃: Similar to the 40℃ tea rather than 50
 50℃: The same sweet umami as the 40℃ tea but it also has a certain astringency.
If you brew cheap gyokuro in low temperature around 40℃, it will probably have an unpleasant soil-like taste and it tastes yucky. Seiho didn’t have such off-flavor. You can tell the high quality of Seiho from this test. I found some bitter taste in the 50℃ tea while there is none in the 40 and 45 tea. The 40 one is very nice but it could be too mild. You might realize that the 45 tea has a slight grassy note than the 40 one. It makes the flavor more profound and attractive. I love the flavor of 45. I learned that there is a turning point between 45 and 50℃ to encourage extraction of bitterness with Seiho.

Do you use 3g or 4g of leaves to brew gyokuro?
The next point that I considered was the amount of ingredients. I kind of narrowed it down to three combinations: 3g-tea/20ml-water, 4g/20ml and 3g/15ml (20ml=0.68oz, 15ml=0.51oz). If you prefer your tea light, 3g/20ml would be good. If you want to enjoy a richer flavor, I would say 4g/20ml or 3g/15ml. Actually, 4g/20ml and 3g/15ml are exactly the same proportions so it’s just a matter of amount. I came to the conclusion that I don’t need 20ml to relish this powerful extracts, which is almost like Soseki’s tea that I mentioned in the previous post. 

This is the recipe for Seiho
Through my dozens of brewing tests, the following is what I consider as the best recipe so far‏.
 Seiho: 3g
 Water: 15ml/0.51oz, 45℃/113℉
 Brewing time: 120sec
 - Second brewing: 15ml, 50℃, 30sec
 - Third brewing: 15ml, 60℃, 60sec (140℉)
You can fully appreciate Seiho this way. If you prefer mellow gyokuro, 40℃ can be a good alternative.  You might not usually use a thermometer to prepare tea, but try it once to see which temperature is the best for you. 

Seiho is available on our shop >>> click here