Handpicked Gyokuro 2022
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 10 years and their best spring season teas regularly feature in our collection.
Gyokuro is the highest expression of Japanese tea skill, so a handpicked 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 shade covers, reducing the tannins in the leaves and increasing the umami. If they’re shaded for 21 days, they qualify to be called gyokuro. This batch was shaded for an impressive 30 days.
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. After picking, the leaves were short-steamed for 20 seconds, which gives a great precision of flavour.
This tea should be on your must-drink list. The extra long shading gives the leaves a rich, bold umami. The broad spectrum flavour of the yabukita varietal comes through: Eastern vegetals, umami, a particular hint of leafy veg, perhaps a whisper of gentle citrus. The finish is exceptional and long. The umami layers up on the palate for minutes. This would be a remarkable pairing for umami and vegetal dishes.
Infuse 6g:150ml at 40C for 3 mins.
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.