|Kanro Gyokuro prepared cold-can you spot the ice cube?|
I recently had a beautiful tea tasting at Ippodo, well known in Japan for high quality teas. The teas I tasted were fresh, vivid, inspiring. It was such a pleasurable experience.
Chihiro, one of the tea experts at Ippodo prepared many delicious teas for us. The first was the kanro 'sweet drop' gyokuro. Ippodo is well regarded for their gyokuro, and I couldn't wait to taste it. Since this was prepared cold, it took 20-30 minutes to brew. So more on this amazing tea later...
The first tea I tasted was hosen sencha,one of Ippodo's most popular teas. It is a mid grade sencha that is slightly bitter and vegetal. A delicious well-balanced sencha, and I can understand why it's so popular. The sweet freshness lingers on the tongue long after it is tasted.
I was fortunate to have arrived after they recently received the delivery of spring nodoka matcha. I love matcha but cannot seem to get it right when I prepare it at home. Chihiro mentioned the secret is to sift the matcha in the bowl before adding water. This seems like such a logical step, but one I have skipped over. I can't wait to try again at home! Water was taken from a decorative pot and added to the matcha bowl. The spring matcha was light and fresh, yet almost chocolaty with slight bitterness and umami. Definitely not like others I've tried.
Next we tried a hojicha, roasted sencha that is low in caffeine. It was smooth and bitter, reminding me of coffee you'd find in New Orleans that has chicory added to it. I could see this as a good starting point for coffee drinkers looking to move over to tea. I've had hojicha before, but not one quite as flavorful as this.
|Kanro Gyokuro, not sweet, but a precious drop indeed|
|The matcha selection. The Nodoka is in the back, in the pretty pink box|
If you are new to Japanese teas you may feel intimidated to enter this small shop. But take my advice, and go! The staff is extremely friendly and knowledgeable. Tell them what flavors you like best, and they will steer you towards the right tea for you. The teas here are high quality and better than many Japanese teas you can find around the city. Ippodo occasionally offers tea workshops, and one will be coming up in April. You can follow their facebook page for updates.
A big thank you to Chihiro for presenting such lovely teas, and to Ana for coordinating the tasting!
|Don't be intimidated, amazing tea awaits!|