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Green Pearl Gyokuro 2020

Region: Kyoto, Japan
Producer: Nakai Family Gardens
Season: Ichibancha (Spring) 2020
Batch: #8 (Organic) 30kg
The ultimate expression of the art of Japanese tea.
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The Producer


The Nakai family have been tea growers for seven generations. Many years of expertise go into making this superb gyokuro. Nakai-san senior was a pioneer of organic tea growing in Japan and their garden has been using natural methods since the 1970s. As a result, the Green Pearl 2020 is also one of very few organic gyokuros made in Japan. The garden is in Kyoto prefecture, the heartland of fine Japanese tea. We’ve been working with the Nakai family for almost 10 years, bringing their best teas into our collection and experimenting on new tea styles. Their dedication to tea craft and flavour is inspiring.

This Batch


Gyokuro is the pinnacle of Japanese tea craft; a drink which sits alongside the most well-crafted whiskies and grower champagnes. As a brief comparison ‘sencha’ is regular Japanese green tea, ‘kabusecha’ is a limited premium grade, and ‘gyokuro’ is the very limited highest grade.


The essence of gyokuro’s flavour is the specific and unique treatment of the tea plants. The perfect section of the garden must be chosen, with the right terroir and varietals. The plants are covered by frames, shading them from the sun for three weeks. This long shading reduces the sharpness in the leaves and gives gyokuro its famous smooth umami flavour profile.

Batch #8 was picked on the 20th May, from a special section of the Nakai family’s gardens where the plants are okumidori varietals; possibly the smoothest of Japan’s tea varietals. 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.

Tasting Notes


6g:150ml at 40˚C for 3 mins


Pearlescent in the glass, mesmerising on the palate. This tea has a glorious precision to the flavour. There are notes of edamame, kombu, and green peas. The texture is silky smooth, and the umami is exquisite and long. 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.

Storage and Ageing


Store in a cool, dry, dark place. In our opinion, gyokuros are best young and fresh so buy now and drink soon, ideally by September 2021 for optimum flavour, although the tea will still be delicious long after that.