KŌKYŪ GYOKURO | Yabe
Elegant, Full-bodied with Sweet Umami and Long Aftertaste
This premium-grade organic Gyokuro yields a luxurious, velvety-sweet, and dense umami-infused essence. Its intricate flavours will linger on your taste buds, creating an extended aftertaste
Much like an expensive glass of red wine, we recommend letting a small mouthful swirl on your tongue to experience fully its flavours. A refreshing aftertaste will follow, but still, you will enjoy the first impression for a long time. This is especially true of this Yame-grown Gyokuro; green tea specialists praise its long-lasting taste compared to Gyokuro grown in the Uji area for example. The remaining tea leaves after brewing can be eaten and enjoyed by adding ponzu or soy sauce, and sesame seeds.
Put about 6g (1 serving) of tea leaves in a teapot, pour 90cc of hot water 45, 50, or 60 degrees Celsius, and let the tea steep for 2 or 2.5 minutes. The cooler the water, the less bitter the tea, and a sweeter/savoury umami profile will be present. can be stepped up to 5 times, the flavour profile will change with each consecutive brew.
To produce this premium-quality Kōkyū Gyokuro in the beautiful mountains of Yame (Fukuoka prefecture), a shelf is built over the tea bushes and woven with rice straw, and spread over the entire tea fields. The buds and two upper leaves are harvested only by hand, Tezumi (手摘み), with no machine intervention, and the tea plant is Shizen-jitate (自然仕立て), unpruned tea trees allowed to grow in their natural shape until ready for harvest. This method is considered one of the traditional shading methods to make Gyokuro and is quite rare these days and labour intensive, making yearly production limited in quantity.
Gyokuro is rare, incredibly difficult to make, and requires years of skills to perfect. Its leaves are beautiful, some even say lustrous. For all of those reasons, it is an expensive tea and is considered a luxury even in Japan. Compared to Sencha, Gyokuro is usually smoother, more full-bodied, packed with umami, and less astringent thanks to its high levels of L-theanine and the lower water temperature used to brew it. Its scent is very rich, its taste thick and mellow. When cultivated according to traditional methods, its fragrance can be up to five times more powerful than Sencha.
This premium Gyokuro comes from a small tea garden operated by husband and wife farmers/producers deep in the mountains of Yabe Village, Fukuoka, Japan. Established by his grandfather, this 3rd generation farm specializes in high-grade mountain-grown Sencha and Gyokuro. The mountainous village, blessed with cool weather, is covered with snow in winter. Due to these conditions, the tea leaves in the mountains bud later than their counterparts on flat lands. Furthermore, there are fewer pests and the tea plants are able to grow without the use of chemicals, leading to the production of natural organic tea leaves.
These farmers have received Japan's highest agricultural prize, and the Minister's Award, three times. They are one of Japan's highly regarded farmers.
Cultivar: Yabukita, Okumidori , shizen-jitate tea plants
Method: JAS organic certification
Origin: Yabe, Fukuoka
Elevation: 650mt above sea level
Harvest: First flush, Hand-picked (tezumi), Spring 2022
Shade: Sumaki natural method, shaded for 20 days before harvest
Fertilizing: Bokashi fertilizer (hand-picked fermented organic fertilizer)
Steaming: Medium (futsūmushi)
Flavour profile: Rich, round and vegetal sweet notes, gentle Umami finish
Producer: Harajima family
Content: 20g - 50g