This week I will review two wonderful green teas from Japanese Green Tea IN: Issaku Premium Green Tea and Gokuzyo High-Grade Green Tea. Before diving into tasting notes let me give you some information about Japanese Green Tea IN. It was founded a few years back by Kei Nishida who used to be a software engineer at Hewlett Packard. They are partnered with Arahataen Inc to introduce quality Japanese teas with tea lovers from the USA, Canada, and India (if you wonder what IN represents you got it!).
Let’s start with Issaku which is one of their best selling teas. Issaku was made by Master Mr. Arahata at Arahataen Green Tea Farm which is located by Mt. Fuji. It’s hand picked and produced from the fresh crop of 2017. Gokuzyo, similarly, is first harvest tea which is also known as Ichiban-cha.
Dry leaves of Issaku are composed of short needle like mostly dark brown somewhat light green tea leaves. They smell grassy and quite aromatic. The dry leaves of Gokuzyo are quite similar to Issaku, almost identical.
I brewed them both western style using about 3 grams of tea for 200 ml water, I let the heat of the water around 70 degrees Celsius. Issaku cupped out deep dark green cloudy liquor while Gokuzyo produced brighter color with same cloudy appearance.
As soon as I took my first sip of Issaku I felt the penetration of refreshing feeling through my chest! It’s quite sweet with almost no astringency. Japanese Green Tea IN uses longer steaming process (Fukamushi Method) in order to reduce Tannin and therefore increase sweetness. Similarly, the method increases theanine level in tea. The grassy taste is there but it’s very well balanced so it does not bother my palate at all. The mouthfeel is thick and velvety covering top of my mouth with a nice aromatic layer. The aftertaste was short yet cooling.
As for Gokuzyo, even though there is a tad bitterness accompanying the sweet taste, it was richer and more aromatic compared to Issaku’s lighter taste. The grassy taste was more prevalent as well. The aftertaste, on the other hand, was not different quite short and leaving a nice trail of refreshing feeling in the throat.
Overall Japanese Green Tea IN Issaku and Gokuzyo are both decent representation of Japanese Green teas. The founder, Kei Nishida, has also written several books regarding green tea. To learn more about Japanese Green Tea IN and Kei Nishida I highly recommend you check out Ricardo’s podcast with Kei.