Note: Packages for most tea & food products will use Yunomi resealable bags or tins (with some exceptions, click here to see info and photos). If you need the original Japanese package, please leave a note in the order comments.
特選玉露 千歳 / Imperial Gyokuro - Chitose
Chitose is an auspicious word named after the Japanese saying, "A thousand years for the crane, a million years for the turtle", referring to longevity.
The Chitose Imperial Gyokuro tea is made of the tea leaves specially selected out of from the shaded tea field to yield the richest flavor and taste Japan has to offer in gyokuro. The umami flavor created by the high concentration of theanine is very sensitive to temperature, so it is important to steep the first cup at a low 40˚C / 104˚F degree water.
Gyokuro tea, created by a complex cultivation process that infuses the leaf with a concentration of flavor as well as a three weeks of shading to create rich sweetness, produces a light yellow-green tea when steeped for the first time, and a thick, deep green that reflects the greenness of its leaves upon subsequent steepings.
Sweet and rich to taste, it is the pinnacle of Japanese sencha, and should be enjoyed to the last "golden" drop. Pay close attention to the steeping notes to enjoy gyokuro to its fullest.
Like regular sencha tea, gyokuro is steamed, rolled, and dried. However, in the cultivation of gyokuro, the main difference is in the approximately 20-day shading that is used to preserve a concentration of theanine amino acid, and prevent bitter tasting catechin from forming in the leaf.
Japanese tea knowledge
In Japan "sencha" has a wide meaning and a narrow meaning. The narrow meaning differentiates it from the shaded gyokuro as well as large bancha leaves that do not roll into fine needles because of its size.
The wide meaning includes gyokuro and bancha in that, along with unshaded sencha, all these teas are steamed, rolled, and dried.