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 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.
The most premium gyokuro tea the Kurihara family offers is produced on a specific field that has seems to have the ideal soil composition, sunlight exposure, and surround mirco-climate. After handpicking the tea leaves from this field, they are processed in our small, private factory. Because this particular tea leaf, 'Kurihara Heritage Gyokuro', is so good, we decided not to blend it with other fields keeping it as a single field 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: Kurihara Heritage Gyokuro Tea
- Japanese name: 栗原の伝統本玉露
- Ingredients: Green tea
- Harvest: May
- Region: Yabemura village, Yame, Fukuoka
- Notes: Shaded for 3 weeks before harvest under canopy shading, machine cut, medium steaming used but leaves are young and delicate so the results is close to a deep steaming (fukamushi)
- Name: Kurihara Seicha Ltd.
- Members: Kippei, Yuji, and Akio Kurihara (Father and sons)
- Location: Yabe Village, Yame City, Fukuoka
- Size of fields: About 3 hectares
- Altitude of fields: 300 - 700 meters
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