Gyokuro tea is grown beneath shading, cutting out some 85% of the sunlight. This allows the leaves to mature without obtaining bitterness. The results is an ultra delicate green tea with an extremely sweet and complex taste profile. The Kurihara family's Heritage Gyokuro is grown beneath traditional, handmade bamboo and/or straw shading. The moisture that drips from this natural shading flavors the tea -- a return to the past with this gourmet tea.
Advanced cultivation technique
(See tea plant photo) Termination of apex domination. A tea plant allowed to grow more freely for handpicking has an apex leaf bud at the tip of each branch as well as lateral leaf buds that form on older base leaves further down the branch. The plant will favor this apex bud giving it more nutrients to grow larger. By cutting off each and every apex at the start of spring, Kurihara-san forces these nutrients into the lateral buds infusing the new spring leaves with flavor. Those lateral buds are then carefully picked by hand. For more info, see this article.
Aging & Shincha
While gyokuro is harvested at the same time as other spring teas, producers commonly prefer to age their gyokuro at least 4 months, often 6 months before releasing the product for sale. The aging of the product in cool, temperature-controlled environment allows the greenness--bitter, astringent flavors--to degrade, ever so slightly increasing the umami flavors. The final polish that transforms a high grade product into the best Japan has to offer. Kurihara Tea, however, chooses to make the new tea leaf available both for tea enthusiasts to taste the fresh leaf, and to enjoy aging on their own.
- SAVORINESS (umami): ★★★★★
- SWEETNESS (amami): ★★★★★
- ASTRINGENCY (shibumi): ★
- FRAGANCE: Rich umami aroma
- BREWED LEAVES: Great for salads! Used leaves should be steeped 3-4 times before using eating. Top with soy sauce and bonito flakes, or your own salad dressing.
- Name: Competition Grade Saemidori Heritage Gyokuro Green Tea
- Japanese name: 出品茶さえみどり伝統本玉露
- Ingredients: Green tea
- Cultivar: Saemidori
- Harvest: Late May to Early June
- Region: Yabemura Village, Yame City, Fukuoka
- Name: Kurihara Tea Farm
- Type: Family-owned business, tea farm, tea factory
- Farmer: Akio Kurihara
- Location: Yabe Village, Yame City, Fukuoka
- Size: About 3 hectares total across several fields
- Altitude of tea fields: 300 - 700 meters
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