Freshly brewed gyokuro
I'm just going to say right now that even though it is out of focus, I love this photo. So pretty and green.
In keeping with my giving away 5 sets of Adagio tea (US website here - I am nothing if not internationally minded), I present to you the second of my three samples: the gyokuro.
You might ask me, 'Mr. P, whatever, pray tell, is this gyokuro of which you speak?', or indeed, you might simply ask, 'Gyoku-what... Eh?'
Gyokuro, my dears, is the Bruce Springsteen of the tea world, the ne plus ultra of Japanese greens. I am happy to drink pretty much any green tea at least once or twice, but I always come back to gyokuro. I love the colour of it (the characters used to write the word gyokuro mean 'jewel' and 'dew', which just gets my inner poet right off, let me tell you), and I love the more pronounced flavour it seems to have than, say, standard sencha, which makes up the bulk of the Japanese green teas you tend to find over here. And indeed there. Once when I was buying some in a department store in Nagoya, the lady who served me at the counter explained that what makes this tea special was not so much the way it is processed, but how it is grown; several weeks before picking, the tea bushes are shaded from the sun with special screens. This is supposed to make the leaves a darker green and probably explains the gorgeous colour of the brewed tea.
An aside, for those who are baffled: I studied Japanese at university and lived in Japan as a student and after graduating. I know I normally mostly focus on cakes and sugar, but I wasn't lying when I said I loved tea in my last post. Some of that stems from my host family, who took tea quite seriously, or so it seemed to me when I lived with them. But anyway, the point is, I'm totally on the Japan side of things when in comes to green tea. I once took a tea class in Singapore, with Mr. Other P, and I think I annoyed the guy running it who said the best stuff came from China. But to me, Japanese green is fresh, deep and complex; Chinese can be, in my experience, a little too woodsy and heavy.
But to each their own! Let's not start something we can't finish...
This actually leads me back to Adagio. When I saw they carried gyokuro, I was really excited. You never see it in tea shops in the UK, or at least I don't, and it had never occurred to me to try an online supplier.
I just wish I'd known sooner; this tea is delicious. It has that sharp, bitter note in the background that good green tea should always provide, and a sweet, rounded fragrance.
Based on this tea alone, I really can see myself being a regular Adagio customer when my stash runs out, and if you are at all curious about Japanese green tea, I can say without doubt that this would be a great place to start. It isn't actually the best I've ever had, but then, I'm brewing it in Cardiff and I never thought my P.G. Tips tasted the same as it does here when I was drinking it in Nishinomiya years ago.
I noticed in the comments on my Facebook page that some people think the ingenuiTEA pot that is part of the tea sets Adagio have provided me to give away looks a little odd. Maybe that's my pictures! Here's a nice stock photo for you to see better how it works.
Prettier than my hurriedly thrown together efforts, no?
Adagio are kindly giving away 5 starter sets comprising of 4 teas (details below), a glass mug and an ingenuiTEA teapot to 5 lucky readers. The teas that are up for grabs are:
If you do the maths, you can see this is a serious haul, equal to £50 per set. For your chance to win, here's what you need to do:
- Leave a comment on this post letting me know which tea you'd most like to try and why. Don't think you need to write an essay. This is just fun! I like silly answers just as much as serious ones.
- If you prefer, leave the comment on the Delicious Delicious Delicious Facebook Page. You can like us as well! That's fine too.
- Comments will close at midnight on Monday 5 November 2012. Winners will be selected at random shortly after.
- Open to all people, everywhere.
- Email entries not accepted. Nor are multiple entries. But you can ask friends or colleagues to enter on your behalf if you like.