Most Gyokuro is grown in Uji, half an hour south the former Imperial capital of Kyoto. To service the demands of the Emperor and other members of the aristocracy, there were large tea fields and many tea factories built around Kyoto. It was in the twilight of the Edo era that shade grown teas were commercialized.
These leaves are shiny emerald green spindles. The dark green comes from the fact that tea is grown in increasing shade. The plant compensates by making extra chlorophyll. They are shiny spindles because they are processed in hot machines that straighten out the leaves, then the heat buffs the leaves.
A lovely pale green, caused by the extra chlorophyll.
Very spinachy and seaweedy, dark and decidedly vegetal, with none of the lemon sheen of Sencha.
Overall it is medium bodied, however it is much fuller (coats your mouth) than other green teas. This is because in the final weeks of growing the plants are covered in shade, which increases the amino acids that create body.
The lush green flavor of the freshest steamed spinach, the cooked flavor of lightly toasted walnuts and a very slight note of sulfur. Filling and sustaining.