Every once in a while I come across something that can only be described as special. Today, that something comes in the form of Tsurujirushi: a gyokuro from Uji, Japan.
Packaged in 50 gram quantities, Tsurujirushi is sold by O-Cha.com.
Tsurujirushi is a long name, and unusual to a non-Japanese speaker’s tongue. Let’s start by learning how to say it. 🙂
ru: think of Roo from Winnie the Pooh.
ji: “oh gee, look at the time”.
ru: (we’ve been over this).
shi: like the pronoun, she.
Now that we know how to pronounce the name, let’s examine the leaves.
The leaves are similar in shape to an asamushi sencha, but even longer, and less crumbly. They are a medium-dark green, and very aromatic. The scent is not grassy, but green in a way that could be described as vegetal.
Like most other gyokuro, Tsurujirushi is difficult to brew. In fact, I bought a scale and thermometer specifically with this tea in mind.
3.25g of leaf is being used for 75ml. My scale rounds to the hundredth of a gram, however, 3.3g would be close enough.
The time and temperature can make it difficult to keep the tea warm. You may want to pass hot water through your teaware before preheating to make the water temperature more stable.
The ideal temperature for gyokuro is around 50-60C. I recommend pouring the water into the teapot at 62C because I feel that the teaware retains less heat compared to when brewing a hotter tea, causing the actual brew temperature to be lower than anticipated.
Also, in order to keep the temperature steady, I poured some more hot water into my teacup to keep it warm during the long infusion time.
Thoughts and Observations
The taste is incredibly sweet and strong, without any bitterness. The flavour is mellow, yet crisp. The astringeny is mild, and the liquid is a transparent green. (Note that the cup has a green tinge on the inside. The image is not quite an accurate representation of the colour.)
Five infusions can easily be extracted from Tsurujirushi. For the second infusion, brew for 40 seconds at the same temperature. Use 1 minute 30 seconds for the third, with water that’s 5 degrees hotter. For the fourth and fifth infusions, brew for 3-5 minutes.
Wrapping it Up
Tsurujirushi is a special tea. Its quality is incredible, and its taste is something you deserve to try. Brewing it can be tricky, but with the proper tools and patience, everyone should be able to enjoy this tea.