This morning, I opened the metallic pouch of my favorite premium green tea, First Lady from Tafu-New York, only to find that there were just enough leaves for one pot. I have been brewing this tea sparingly, as it is probably my favorite green tea.
While gently using my teaspoon to scoop the delicate leaves, I am experiencing mixed emotions as I know I will have to savor each sip (until I order my next batch). According to Tafu New York, First Lady (Gyokuro) is:
A refined form of green tea which is considered to be one of the highest quality teas in Japan. This tea is low in catechin and achieves a smooth yet sweet balance of flavors that strikes an elegant harmony.
The deep green dry leaves offer an earthy yet slightly sweet aroma. After brewing for three minutes, the leaves have transformed into a brighter shade of green and the aroma is still that of a delicate earthiness. First sip: the soothing, smooth green tea is gentle to the palette. My taste buds first encounter a subtle sweetness that transforms into a smokey green flavor.
A few sips later a flavor memory comes to mind, and I recall tasting tea in an authentic Japanese tea ceremony. This incredibly clean tea truly captures the elegance of a subtle sweetness and slight grassy flavor of refined green teas.
Although I prefer this tea without any additives, I am sure a drop of agave nectar would compliment it quite nicely. In addition to being a refined green tea, First Lady is also classified as Gyokuro, which translates to "Jade Dew" or "Pearl Dew." A few weeks before an early harvest of the sweet buds, the bush is shaded under a cover usually made of straw. In fact, Gyokuro is a type of sencha, although it calls for lower temperature than sencha when brewing.
Overall, an absolutely lovely cup of green tea. First Lady tea truly lives up to its name.