Gyokuro (“jade dew”) is a celebrated Japanese green tea perfect to enjoy on its own or paired with simple sweets. One of the world's most expensive teas — due to the high cost of its cultivation and market demand — the flavor has bittersweet notes of the ocean and spring greens, and a unique mouthful rich in umami.
This style of tea was first cultivated in the 1800s in Uji Prefecture, which is where ours is produced. After the first buds appear in the early spring, the tea bushes are shielded from the sun a few weeks before harvest. This shading inhibits the formation of catechins (notably tannin), which are responsible for the astringent taste of tea grown in uncovered fields; it also enhances the production of theanine, the source of tea’s natural sweet, full, richness. Once picked, the leaves are steamed, twisted, dried and left to mature for six months.
The resulting deep emerald color and distinctive aroma and flavor of this tea produces a particularly full-bodied cup. Experiment with the infusion temperature, but be sure to keep it low, around 120°–140° F; Gyokuro can also be brewed with cold water.
Tasting Notes: Vegetal, marine, buttery
Year of Production: Spring 2016