This Gyokuro is hand-picked from just outside Uji. Our friend Tsuyoshi uses tea from the mountains of Ujitawara and Kyotanbe. This area of central Japan is known to have the best shade-grown Gyokuro. Towards the end of the growing season, the plants are gradually covered. This stress makes the plant adjust by adding more green-appearing chlorophyll. What makes this tea Heavenly is the mixture of mouth-filling umami and a very distinctive spinach-like aroma.
Most Gyokuro are grown in Uji, 30 minutes south of the former imperial capital of Kyoto. To meet 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.