Kuradashi Gyokuro Pinnacle (40g/1.41oz)


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Author Sarah Longo   (United States)
Review I apologize for leaving another review on this specific Tea, but after having sat with it a few more Times, I feel I have realized definite new taste/note differences in this Pinnacle Kuradashi Gyokuro, along with brewing aspects/choices that will alter your finished Tea experience. I feel these realized differences are probably due to the differences in the breeds used and also, once again, the different Honzu Canopy method used for shading this Pinnacle Grade which adds certain elements as only Nature can through the natural fall of rain water combined with the reeds and straw in this type of canopy.
First my thoughts on brewing: I HIGHLY feel this Tea should really try to only be brewed with a Hohin Set (like the beautiful and extremely easy and convenient sets available on this site) as it requires very careful temperature and Time controls which are both very amazingly and shockingly easily accomplished when you have the seperate Tea/Water vessel that comes with a Hohin set to stop the steeping process of the leaves. Or, if you decide you'd like to brew it a bit longer/stronger, you can easily just pour your infusion back over the leaves, and wait a bit longer then taste test it incredibly easily for personal taste satisfaction of your brewed Tea perfectly, everytime. A Hohin may seem possibly "intimidating," but I have realized the VERY wonderfully superior results that are SUPER easily achieved with my Tea infusions, not to mention the incomparable atmospheres a Hohin Set will create for your Tea Moments, when I got familiar with my Hohin set through use and gradually realized I truly was totally missing out on near perfection of my infusions when only using a kyusu, even a small one. One last impression on why I personally prefer a Hohin to my kyusu (which happens to be the little "frog-friend" in appearance Earthenware one sold in the Organic Tea Set) when brewing ANY Uji/Hibiki-an Pinnacle Grade but ESPECIALLY something Unique and Limited like this Kuradashi is that my Hohin is extremely easy to 100% clean EVERY leaf fragment from the strainer regardless of how tiny. so there's never any type of unintentional "blending" of Teas when steeping in the Hohin. And also for me (this could be due to the material used to make my specific kyusu) that the Hohin Set I use does not hold scents or aromas as my kyusu ever so slightly does to my nose, although this has never been apparent to others even when I press then for their opinions- they "can't smell anything." I just totally wish to avoid any "blending" of different Teas' aroma, taste, etc. This aspect is EXTREMELY important to me to when I've decided to treat myself with any Pinnacle Grade of Hibiki-an Tea.
My second impression is about the taste of the Pinnacle Grade compared to Super Premium and it's simply just how I personally taste them, but I feel it's definitely affected by the difference in breeds of the Teas used and also how the rare Honzu Canopy used to shade the Pinnacle Grades can alter the finished Tea leaf and infusion characteristics. At first, even after a few sittings, I still thought this and the Kuradashi Gyokuro Super Premium tasted very much alike and really could not tell much of a difference. But, I have come to realize that the Pinnacle has a certain sort of "top note" similar to a perfum's top-note that hits you very first quite sharply, sometimes even harshly, yet fades very quickly. In regards to the Pinnacle, to my personal taste, it seems to have a more "sharp and spicy top-note" that I have not tasted, definitely at least not as much, in the Super Premium. This is the reason why I strongly suggest brewing Pinnacle quite carefully in a Hohin (or definitely with the lowest temperature water as recommended- being as low as 131F) because this seemingly magically appearing "top-note" can quickly become too apparent and even bitter particularly on the first steeping, but when approached with appreciation, this "top-note" will reward you with a lovely "brisk breeze" as Autumn usually does with it's short bursts of wind that send up a spray of "spicy" colored changed leaves which disappear just as suddenly leaving you refreshed and happy in celebration of this unique Season of ever-changing gems of Nature. I also feel that this note (possibly breed type/Honzu Canopy &/or combination of all these factors) is what allows the Pinnacle to be more resilient in flavor to multiple infusions, although it too mellows out as the other notes take more prominance, which expected and perfectly normal with fine Tea.
Very bad...Bad...Very bad...Ordinary...Good... 5 of 5 Stars!
Date November 08, 2012

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