Green Pearl Gyokuro 2023
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 is one of very few high quality 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.
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.
This batch was picked from a special section of the Nakai family’s gardens where the plants are okumidori varietals; possibly the smoothest of Japan’s tea varietals. The plants were covered from the sun for a very long 30 days. Green tea is made by heating the leaves to stop the enzymes which cause oxidation (browning). This batch was quick steamed for 25s, 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.
6g per 150ml at 40˚C for 3 mins