Hand Picked Yabukita Gyokuro 2019
The Nakai family’s beautiful organic garden is located in Wazuka, Kyoto prefecture; the heartland of Japanese tea. Nakai-san is a 7th generation tea grower. His father is a pioneer of organic and natural tea in Japan. We’ve worked with them for 9 years and their best spring season teas regularly feature in our collection.
Gyokuro is the highest expression of Japanese tea skill, so a hand picked gyokuro is something very special. The spring tea season (ichibancha) is when premium green teas are made in Japan. A small percentage of plants will be grown under covers, reducing the tannins in the leaves and increasing the umami. If they’re shaded for 21 days, they qualify to be called gyokuro.
Almost all tea in Japan is machine picked (labour is expensive); however, this gyokuro was picked by hand giving a higher leaf quality. The plants selected for this tea are yabukita varietal, making this a single-varietal gyokuro.
This tea should be on your must-drink list. The long shading gives the rich, bold umami of a high quality gyokuro. The broad spectrum flavour of the yabukita varietal comes through: grassy, vegetal, umami, a particular hint of raw leafy veg, perhaps a whisper of gentle citrus. The finish is exceptional and long, umami layering on the palate for minutes. This would be a remarkable pairing for umami and vegetal dishes, the yabukita giving it extra scope for flavour matching.
Storage and Ageing
Store in a cool, dry place, away from sunlight. In our opinion, gyokuro is best within two years from picking so our advice is to drink it young. Having said that, some tea experts are very fond of aged gyokuro; so if you want to try ageing a gyokuro, this would be the perfect choice.