Craft Japanese Gift Case 2022
A dream gift for green tea drinkers, bringing together the two highest grades of Japanese green tea. Many people have heard of sencha. Above sencha is a grade of tea called Kabusecha, and above Kabusecha is Gyokuro. These teas are special because the plants are grown under covers before picking. Shading the tea plants increases the umami in the tea, giving Kabusecha and Gyokuro their characteristic umami, which is an important flavour in Japanese cuisine.
Kabusecha is made in the spring season (ichibancha). The plants will be shaded for at least a week. This gift case contains the Okumidori Kabusecha 2022 from the Henta family in Japan. The leaves are from the Okumidori varietal, which makes up a small proportion of tea grown in Japan. The covers were over the plants for 11 days, reducing the sunlight and increasing the production of amino acids in the leaf, which increases the umami. After picking, the leaves were steamed to keep them green. The steaming was a quick 30s which preserves the leaf shape and give the tea precision of flavour.
This magnificent tea expresses the beauty of the Okumidori varietal. It opens with leafy green vegetal notes, leading to edamame, peas, and legumes, then a particularly delicious long umami finish. The texture is thick, silky, and smooth.
Infuse at 6g per 150ml (teacup size) at 40C for 2-3 mins. This is the authentic Japanese way which brings out the umami. You can also infuse with 4g at 60C for 1 min which gives a more leafy vegetal profile.
Gyokuro is the pinnacle of Japanese tea craft; a drink which sits alongside the most well-crafted whiskies and grower champagnes. To qualify as a Gyokuro, the plants should be covered for three weeks. This gives the leaves an exceptional umami and silky smoothness. The Green Pearl Gyokuro 2022 comes from the Nakai family in Kyoto. Like the Okumidori Kabusecha, the Green Pearl was picked from Okumidori varietal plants. The plants were covered from the sun for 23 days. Green tea is made by heating the leaves to stop the enzymes which cause oxidation (browning). This batch was quick steamed for 20s, enhancing the umami and bright vegetal profile.
Pearlescent in the glass, mesmerising on the palate. There are legume notes of edamame and green peas. The texture is silky smooth and thick, with a long and dense umami finish. This is an excellent Gyokuro. To bring out the fullness of the umami, infuse the authentic way at 40˚C. This is easy to do. 40˚C is just above body temperature. As a tip, a fine Gyokuro will have a creamy-green, opaque appearance in the glass.