Master Yoshida’s Original Gyokuro 2018
A hand picked and hand rolled gyokuro made in Ogura in the fields where gyokuro originates by Master Yoshida, a 16th generation tea master and head of the Japanese Hand Rolling Association. Master Yoshida’s grandfather was given certification by the local government recognising the process of hand-rolling Uji gyokuro as an intangible cultural product, the only tea process ever to be given this honour in Japan. Five hours of careful hand-rolling is required to make up to 700g of tea, and less than 10kg of tea is made each year.
Every year the leaves are shaded for 20 days under traditional honzu reed and mochi rice straw covers, increasing the amino acids and chlorophyll in the leaf which gives the tea a vivid jade colour and very pronounced umami flavour that distinguishes gyokuros from sencha. The leaves are shaped into long, beautiful needles that unfurl into almost intact leaves as they are brewed and have an intense, vegetal aroma when dry. While the taste is packed with umami it never verges into excess like some gyokuros which overuse artificial fertilisers to boost the savouriness. Instead the tea has a remarkable balance with a subtle sweetness and floral notes combining well with the broth-like nature of the tea. This is quite simply one of the most outstanding green teas we have ever tasted and the ultimate in Japanese leaf tea.
Best served short and intense in small cups and brewed at a low temperature to experience the essence of Spring.
Master Yoshida, Ogura, Uji, Japan
SIZE OF FARM
PLANTS AND PROCESSING
Camellia Sinensis Sinensis, Gokou cultivar. 20 days honzu shading before harvesting and hand rolling. Harvested Spring 2018.
50-55°C, 6g per 80mls. 4 infusions.
At the end of the field where this gyokuro is grown at the local shrine is a tablet that states that this is the location where the very first gyokuro was grown. Visiting the field is an incredible experience as the field is now surrounded by houses so at first you cannot see it and then you enter into this beautiful green square surrounded by road too narrow for most modern cars. At one end is the Yoshida family’s small 19th century factory and home where all the family live and work. To visit the factory or to drink this tea is a journey back to see how the finest Japanese teas were once made.