Review: Aiya American Premium Gyokuro

Aiya America, Green Tea, Gyokuro Tea, Japanese Tea Add comments
Geoff’s Teaview Snapshot
Thumbs up!"The taste was wonderfully sweet on the forefront, creamy in the middle and tapered off with a garden-green-like finish."
Geoff’s Teaview: 9.8/10
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I received an e-mail some time back from Aiya’s American arm about reviewing a few new green teas for them. Of course, I said yes…just so long as they left out the genmaicha. To my surprise, the first thing I received in the mail from them was their new Premium Gyokuro. While I was still developing a lurking respect for Japanese greens, I was still a little gun shy. Most gyokuros I came across were good, but every once in awhile there was a stinker. I hoped that wasn’t the case here.

There were two things I couldn’t get over about this gyokuro: (1) It was so REALLY green…but I was expecting that. So, I guess that doesn’t count. (2) It smelled like vanilla-lathered peanuts. Seriously, it smelled almond-like, sweet and creamy. The only other type of tea that gave me that kind of a nostrilgasm was a Korean sejak.

Brewing instructions were exceptionally light for this little green fella, too. Aiya recommended the use of only 140F water – 1 tsp.(ish) per cup for four minutes. That was a long time, but given that this was barely above room temperature (if you had a room in the Mojave, that is), I was going to let my curiosity rest. I followed their instructions to the letter.

Or…at least that’s what I would’ve done had my Taylor tea temp/timer not died. Sure, I had a rough idea where my kettle was when it hit 165F…but not when it cooled to 140F. So, I did the only sensible thing I could. I steeped the leaves for only two minutes as opposed to four. (Can you tell I’m writing this in real-time?)

At first, I didn’t think my gamble had paid off. I used a do-it-yourself teabag as a filter for the teaspoon-worth of leaves. The liquor hadn’t colored at all. Then I used a miniature wooden spoon and gingerly beat the bag. The water colored to a foggy, bright green soon after. The aroma was sweet, slightly grassy and nutty. The taste was wonderfully sweet on the forefront, creamy in the middle and tapered off with a garden-green-like finish. This was a high-quality gyokuro through-and-through...and very forgiving of my tea trespasses.

— To purchase Aiya American Premium Gyokuro, or for more specific information on ingredients or the story behind this particular tea, click here to go directly to the manufacturer's web site.

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