In my travels through the tea fields of Japan, I often have the chance to "snack" on the youngest tea leaves while strolling through the fields with the cultivators. The flavor of the raw leaf is transformed quite dramatically once processed into dry leaf.
For the first Black Label tea, I sought the pure flavor of a young spring tea leaf, the flavor of plucking and eating on the spot. This required a light steaming or asamushi, which results in a clean, transparent liquor.
After tasting a number of leaves from the 2019 harvest I went back through our stock and compared them with 2018 harvested teas. Aged for a year in cold storage, the powerful flavors of a fresh harvest have rounded out. What remained was a hint of umami that smoothed over the remaining grassy bitterness and very slight aftertaste. This flavor was a very close approximation of a young spring leaf, plucked and eaten raw.
Product info of this production lot is written on the package, and may change from lot to lot as I seek the above flavor profile consistently. Tea leaves change subtly in flavor from the moment they are plucked, and we will be providing you with the above flavor profile.
To achieve the taste above, we recommend the following steeping methods. The flavor is different depending on the cold / hot steeping, but both have that "young leaf" quality in the flavor profile.
Hot tea - Tea: 3 grams. Time: 60 seconds. Water: 70C/158F, 200 ml. The tea leaves at this point can be steeped another two times. Use 15 seconds at 90C/194F, 200 ml for the 2nd steeping, and 45 seconds at 90C/194F, 200 ml for the 3rd steeping.
Cold Steeping - Tea: 3 grams. Time: 2+ hours. Water 500 ml. Steep in your refrigerator.
About the Yunomi Black Label
As a platform, Yunomi offers the world's largest collection of artisanal Japanese teas. Instead of finding and recommending something special as most tea brands do, we offer you the opportunity to find that special something yourself.
However, the Yunomi Black Label collection, takes you a 180-degree about face from Yunomi’s main business. In this collection, we pursue specific flavor profiles. This may involve finding that one special tea leaf, asking for a custom production, or undertaking the blending ourselves in micro batches.