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Traditional gyokuro from Hoshino, Yame, "zairai-shu"

Type of tea : Gyokuro
Origin : Hoshino Village, Yame Municipality, Fukuoka Prefecture
Cultivar : Zairai-shu (botanical varieties, grown from seeds, not hybrids from cuttings)
Harvest : May 2018, hand picked
Traditional gyokuro from Hoshino, Yame, "zairai-shu"

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In the famous village of Hoshino, Mr. Takaki works very seriously on producing “traditional gyokuros from Yame” (unpruned tea trees, hand harvesting and shading under straw arbours). For this, he uses a number of different cultivars, but also tea trees known as “zairai-shu,” in other words, not cultivars produced from cuttings, but botanical varieties from seeds. Today, zairai-shus are extremely rare in Japan, and it is even more unusual to hear of them being used for very fine teas, such as traditional gyokuros.

To begin with, this gyokuro creates a strong impression in the mouth. The first infusion naturally delivers a lot of umami, but the liquor has texture.
It has a pleasant sweet fragrance, thanks in part to highly successful roasting. The aromas are very much in the confectionary range, and strongly recall vanilla and custard, which are persistent and give this tea a superb aftertaste.
The following infusions temper the umami with a touch of astringency, and slightly vegetal flavours. Nonetheless, the delicious creamy and vanilla aromas remain.
While it clearly has the characteristics of fine gyokuros, those features seem to give way a little to more purely sweet, confectionary aromas. In the end, this unusual gyokuro, made from “zairai” tea leaves, combines aromatic strength with delicate lightness.

Brewing suggestion
  • Quantity of leaves: 5g / 1.5 tsp
  • Quantity of water : 40 ml / 1.3 oz
  • Water temperature : 50°C / 122°F
  • Brewing time : 90s

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Traditional gyokuro from Hoshino, Yame, "zairai-shu"

USD $28.00  / 50g

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